Tuesday Tunes 5/12/09 (About)
1. "The Day I Tried To Live" Soundgarden. :27-:57. Build.
Starting off with Soundgarden for the second straight week, we hear three interplaying guitars at the end of the intro (one is just holding a high harmonic); they're not quite in tune with each other, which might be on purpose and might not. Bass picks up the main verse line at :6, and the left channel guitar fades quickly while the right channel guitars linger underneath. Listen to the percussion hits; it seems like the drummer is hitting something with a bit of a tune early on, particularly from :10 to :14, like a cowbell, but it fades to just a snare by the latter part of the segment. Cornell and bass-mimicing electric come in at :20. The fuzz guitar "fart" at :25 is a nice touch.
2. "Do It Again" Steely Dan. 2:55-3:05. Variation.
This song is one of the main inspirations for the Tuesday Tunes feature series; it has an effect I talked about a few weeks ago with 'Bleeding Me': an off-key guitar lead pattern that holds steady while the chords move underneath to bring it in tune-the pattern starts at :18.5 and the chords move at :22. I thought this part was super cool and then thought that I should go through some other parts of songs that were cool and write about them. And here we are!
3. "Drug Ballad" Eminem. :43-1:13. Variation.
I want my hip-hop backing tracks to be either extremely straightforward and minimal or thoroughly lush and overproduced; when the extremes get muddied, I start to get bored. This track is an aggressive instance of the former class; the bass and percussion are no nonsense pounding, and the additional of sparse, metallic piano and female vocal trills midway through are the perfect accents to Eminem's vocal line (which I could take or leave here).
4. "End of the Road" Boyz II Men. 5:18-5:48. Variation.
Along similar lines as the Eminem track, when you have really great voices, all you need is bass chords and clapping. The whole song should be more like this; don't need the guitar and bells and synth and heavy percussion and electric piano cluttering the redacted first five minutes of the backing track. I used to suffer through this song when it was big time, waiting for the end. My recurring problem with contemporary R&B (yes, this still counts!) is boring, distracting production.
5. "The E Street Shuffle" Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. 0-:30. Build.
Now this is how you introduce your album. Let the horns ride in a little lazy, ease into some chords with an absolutely blasted baritone sax note sending us into syncopated clean guitar. Bring in another guitar with a sproinging square wave effect for counter melody for a few notes, then crash in the rest of the band. This thirty seconds makes me think that the album will be like a jaunty stroll through a busy city park on a spring day, which is more or less what ensues.