Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kanye, Lykke Li & Thievery

So there's a few new songs from Kanye out there on the Hype Machine (a site I hope you're familiar with to listen to all sorts of musical goodness from the blogosphere). In any case, Kanye has a song called Cold Winter that sounded eeriely familiar, though it took me a second to place it. The lyrics were Kanye's, undoubtedly, but the melody was something I had heard before, something obscure. Then I remembered - it was a Tears For Fears song called Pale Shelter, from their first album, The Hurting, which came out in 1983.
Now, sampling and stealing are nothing new in rap, and sometimes it works - when the sample or theft manages to become a song in its own right, without reminding you of the original. P. Diddy's "I'll Be Seeing You," is a good example of how NOT to do it. His song is an awful appropriation of another song that never escapes the original. Whereas Will Smith and "Men In Black" - good example of the sample becoming an integral part of the new song, or Biggie, with "Hypnotize" - sampling Herb Alpert's "Rise" (watch it here. Pretty funny stuff - good song, though - it always makes me think of Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgetting." Just the vibe. Would probably make a decent mashup. Watch it here and let me know what you think.).
I'm not so sure Kanye's does the same job. Does he credit Tears for Fears on the new album?
His song "Stronger" tries hard to break away from the original: "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by Daft Punk, but never quite makes it, at least for me. I'm sure there are many hip hop fans out there unaware of Daft Punks existence, or Tears For Fears' "Pale Shelter" for that matter, and think Kanye just has some sick hooks. Well, he does, but sometimes they're not his. He's certainly clever and has an ear for them, though.
Check out Kanye's Coldest Winter.
And then listen to Tears For Fears Pale Shelter.
Yeah, that's right.

Lykki Li, a recent discovery by the lovely Kristen, was found to be doing a cover/mashup of Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa." Now, if you don't know Vampire Weekend, I suggest you give them a listen. It took me a while to warm up to them, decide whether or not I liked them or not, but now I can't get enough of them.
But, back to the point, Lykke Li's cover is here. There's several videos on YouTube of her performing the cover, and here's one of them.
And heck, why don't I throw in a rare Vampire Weekend song called Arrows. Enjoy!

Remember kids: Sampling is stealing, but you can sometimes make it sound like you took nothing at all. And covers are borrowing, but if you do them well, you'll never have to give it back.

Been caught stealin',

No comments: