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Covers

I wish more artists covered others’ songs. I got introduced the world of covers in the musicology section of my 60’s history class last year and I can’t shake the feeling there need to be more versions of the same song in the world. It really gets you thinking about the interpretative aspects of a piece’s arrangement and delivery in addition to the lyrics, and makes you pay more attention to the changes in a base line or background sounds rather than what’s being said (which is still important and necessary if you want to get the most interpretative bang for your buck).

My old professor used to say something along the lines of “music is not just poetry performed to a beat.” Every aspect of a song is eligible for scrutiny and covers are one of the best ways to realize that.

The most famous cover and its original

An odd pair

Riley WilsonMusicComment
1/18/19

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/arts/music/maggie-rogers-heard-it-in-a-past-life.html

Maggie is taking off! So excited to see where this takes her, and you should give her new album a listen. At the concert she gave last night, I remember her saying half the songs were written in her bedroom in Maryland, and the other half were written in the home studios of her friends here in LA. I believe it’s easy to tell which ones are which based on how “poppy” you take each song to be.

A project I want to undertake this weekend is to get together her entire discography and include live/acoustic renditions of songs so people can see the differences between each performance. The thing I find interesting about Maggie is how her progression from folk to pop mirrors how folk also gave birth to rock. The stories aren’t exactly the same, but to see this much musical development in an artist in such a short time is exciting.

This will also give me some time to spend with the lyrics of the new songs. While it’s clear Rogers is transitioning into a bona fide pop artist, she’s a songwriter first and foremost and it’s rewarding to do the work to listen and interpret her lyrics. Consider Dog Years. There’s a tension in the lyrics I never realized until recently, and it really makes the song in my opinion.

Riley WilsonMusicComment
1/13/19

My friend and I disagreed about morals today. She took the position that good, bad, everything is relative (which I concede a lot of it is), while I claimed there existed some type of universal morality. Admittedly, my point was hard to defend, but I still maintain the belief (faith?) that there do exist “morals” somewhere out in the world and it is our job to think/search hard and find them, whether these morals are rooted in biology or the nature of social arrangements. This is a tough belief to have, as many brilliant people have spent their lives trying to find these morals that I have postulated, yet, I just can’t give in to relativism.

On another note, I am very excited to see Maggie Rogers this Thursday. She is dropping her debut album on Friday, so I expect her to approach the night with a specific type of emotional energy/gravity and the crowd to match it. In case you’ve never heard the fantastic Maggie Rogers, search her up on Spotify, or listen to this record she made in a broom closet while she was a teenager. I recommend “Kids Like Us,” “Embers,” and “A Love Letter.”