Last night I was listening to “Panic Station” from the new Muse album. I was struck by not only by an urge to shake my hips but also by the realization that this song really isn’t all that new-sounding, despite the band’s recent foray into that mysterious and divisive genre known as dubstep. The thumping bass line reminded me of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust.” With this pairing of similar songs totally blowing my mind, I was inspired to do an entire radio show based on old-new pairings.
If you missed AMPlify radio this morning, never fear. Below is the complete playlist with some brief and possibly totally illogical reasoning for my pairings.
(1) America- “Ventura Highway” and (2) U.S. Royalty – “Monte Carlo”
“Ventura Highway” has this really iconic acoustic riff that Janet Jackson randomly sampled, and “Monte Carlo” has a totally different but equally memorable electric riff. I hear the “do-DO-do-DO” backing vocals as the “ohOHohOHohhh” in U.S. Royalty. The vocals in the chorus are also unmistakably 70s-inspired. Maybe I’m crazy for thinking this. But my parents who LOVE America said “Monte Carlo” was reminiscent of the 70s. Oh yeah, and the fact that both bands have America-themed names is pretty awesome.
(3) Miriam Makeba – “The Naughty Little Flea” and (4) Feist – “When I Was a Young Girl”
In 1960, Miriam Makeba covered a song by a Jamaican musician, adding some charm via percussion, the pennywhistle, and her backup singers. In 2004, Feist covered an American folk song by Texas Gladden, cleaning up the vocals and adding handclaps a hand drum or two, and a guitar. I hear the parallels between the two mostly in the percussion. Again, I may be crazy.
(5) Queen – “Another One Bites the Dust” and (6) Muse – “Panic Station”
I went over this above, but they both have strong bass lines, a steady, heavy beat, a dance-y aspect, and some element of showmanship. But actually, they’re kind of the same song.
(7) Lauryn Hill – “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and (8) ZZ Ward – “Criminal”
So Lauryn Hill isn’t that old, but 1998 is old enough. It’s partially just the fact that both songs feature piano motifs, but they’re both sassy ladies who’ve got soul and are just awesome.
(9) Blossom Dearie – “Lover Man” and (10) Lana Del Rey – “Oh Say Can You See”
Lana is clearly trying to convince the world that she is of the era of Blossom & co., but I’m okay with that, even though she struggles. I still love both songs.
(11) Simon & Garfunkel – “The Only Living Boy in New York” and (12) Bright Eyes – “Bowl of Oranges”
These songs are both acoustic and uplifting and somewhat folky. A natural pairing.