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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Plugged In: Abstract music brings new ideas to the table

Plugged In: Abstract music brings new ideas to the table


We all know her, in the form of a sister or a daughter who idolizes her, a boyfriend who thinks she’s attractive or even by ourselves as we dance to her hypnotic beats. For she is the one and only Taylor Swift, standing for the young girls of America as she belts her circular lyrics about men and painful romantic experiences.

Although, I have to admit I cannot resist her anytime I hear “Trouble,” that song has a very uplifting beat that pops in all the right places. But she fails to deliver anything dynamic or versatile. For Swift, it’s just one hit pop-song after another. Which is probably why she is currently being sued for $42 million for alleged plagiarism in her hit song, “Shake it Off.”

So shed 2015 pop-culture for a moment and think of deconstructing a song. Separate the vocals, the bass, the drums, etc. and think about playing with the idea of a song without dependence on form or consistency. Try to imagine something new. With a clear mind, I decided to make a playlist that brings more abstract ideas to the table. Most are very similar to Taylor Swift as they are very uplifting songs, however they rely heavily on their electronic music roots.

Track 1: SZA- Child’s Play, Jay Vee Remix

Raspy vocals fill the air as this song plays, making it much different than most of the songs that we hear on the radio today. Jay Vee’s remix of “Child’s Play,” by SZA, which also features Chance the Rapper, distorts both the vocals and the beat of the original. Vee worked to highlight SZA’s voice, which originally sat very low in the song, by making it a touch raspy and louder in volume. Vee also did not dismiss Chance, having his intro towards the end of the song. The beat is much more interactive than the original, shaping the song and making it easier to get lost in.

Track 2: Kiiara- Feels

Think of a much more toned-down Nikki Minaj and boom- Kiiara. “Feels,” beats it out of the park, as Kiiara’s voice brushes over the speakers, emitting such deep emotion. “I don’t know who you are but I’m diving in your ocean,” she murmurs as the beat goes on by itself in the background, simply carrying her soft, soothing words. This song is perfect for a rainy day, let the “feels” wash over you as you walk to class.

Track 3: Egoh- I Need This Love

For this, one of my favorite tracks on this playlist, all I have to say is Paris, France. Paris was one of the first cities to start playing electronic music on the radio, due to the popularity of the late Pierre Shaeffer’s work. Egoh’s work, however, is very different than Schaeffer’s experimental electronic music and focuses more on electronic dance, which is very popular in modern France and all across Europe. “I Need This Love,” opens with a chill maraca shuffle and a woman crying, “All I need.” It is the beat that changes, not the lyrics, which I think opens the song up to a more personal interpretation.

Track 4: No TV No Radio- Come Back feat Kolada

A Belgium boy, No TV No Radio crafts “Come Back,” with vocals by Kolada. I always get the greatest vibe from this song, it moves me along while I walk to class or drive in my car. The electronic flute is really inspired as it is deep rooted in tropical house traditions, as is the electric piano that chimes in on this piece.