24 October 2006

SALON.COM LIKES MY IDEAS BUT NOT MY HOT HOT JOKEY DEMEANOR



CLASSIC CASE OF DON'T PLAY THAT

Download: Zazen Boys: "Riff Man"
Download: Jonathan Richman: "She Doesn't Laugh At My Jokes"

I know all my "story"-type posts start with something horrific happening to my iPod, such as getting stolen or simply not riffing as hard as it should be. At a certain point I'll be able to take for granted that you'll be able take it for granted, the whole iPod ---> story thing, but for now guess what Blogmerica my 30gig broke and I've been hearing a lot of things that aren't sweet iPod-driven riffs. Among them: commercials that use music that sounds eerily like famous music; black people comedies that use black people music that sounds eerily like famous black people music.

This builds off something I said in the LCD post, which is that more bands should give up on the whole "we make great original songs" thing and start writing songs that sorta sound like famous songs without actually being said famous songs. There are a lot of ad agencies out there who are throwing billions of dollars into developing more Terry Tate office linebacker-type spots (e.g. Vijay Singh Trojan condom "singh-ing" telegram aka "hole in one", thank me later, Arnold), and they're forgetting to keep some cash on the side for famous music licensing fees. Thank me later, Wolf Parade.

Remember that band Jet? They may not know how to write good songs but they definitely know how to write songs that sound like good songs. For instance: "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" Apple snatched it up for the iPod spot years ago, got the "Lust For Life" riff at probably a twentieth the price, and plus when everybody found out the actual name of the song, which sorta sounds like "Are You Gonna Go My Way?", it's like Jet got double credit. To say nothing of the whole Jet/New York "Jets" similarity, which has only worked in this band's favor.

Speaking of Lenny Kravitz, Victoria's Secret has a commercial right now that loops this guitar riff that sounds pretty much exactly like Guess Who's "American Woman." While the riff plays, you see that area of a woman where her underwear is, and the woman is sorta like shaking. It's a pretty mean cut, with the inference being: Obviously these underwears are being worn by American women, and obviously Victoria's "secret" is that she likes the original "American Woman" more than the Kravitz cover. I disagree with her but at least I see where she's coming from.

And I know a while ago on Comedy Central I saw this weird spot for, shit, something, and the music sounded exactly like the cover of Alien Ant Farm's cover of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." Just a slight alteration, same rhythm but fewer notes. The spot, if I remember, was also very similar to the suburb shenanigans motif of the AAF video, which could also be a new market, for who or what I don't know though.

I've also been watching a lot of black comedy television at the gym, since the iPod's down. And whatever show it is with Damon Wayans in this weird fatherhood type role (weird for me because this guy will always be Homey D. Clown to me), all the scene change music uses that water-plink synth of early naught Neptunes productions. It's really cheap-sounding, very MIDI, but the space is there, and the vibe is obvious, and the episode I saw had this R&B remix version for scene change when things got steamy.

Not that I want to turn this into like an intellectual property discussion too quickly, sweating down songs to progressions or artists to specific sounds even, who owns what, what owns whom, etc. But I just imagine Lenny Kravitz watching TV in his apartment. The toilet's just been fixed; no more problems with the exploding. No more toilet water destroying his apartment. He's watching TV, and he sees the Victoria's Secret commercial, and his feet are bare, on the ground, totally dry, this is a really new sensation for him. The Victoria's Secret women are shaking the parts of the body with the underwear, and he's digging the song, digging the Secret. And for a second, like one second tops, he thinks everything's going to be OK. Then: explosion.

66 RIFFS

Comments:
I always wondered why more people haven't ripped off "Lust for Life", and really I don't blame Jet for doing it. It's a really kick ass song and the rest of that Iggy Pop record sounds nothing like it. I think MORE people should be ripping that song off. It should be a movement or something.

Anyways please don't post any more pictures of Homey. I'm terrified of clowns and In Living Color reruns never helped me get over that as a child.
 
Also, I watched that lecture and you forgot to mention Sonic Youth when you were talking about NBA Jam. jeez.
 
I always wondered why more people haven't ripped off the drums from "You Can't Hurry Love."
 
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