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How I Wrote
April 28, 2011 8:42 PM   Subscribe

How I Wrote is a series of videos from The Guardian where musicians perform a song after talking about it a little bit. Among the artists who've taken part are Rufus Wainwright, Kristin Hersh, Corinne Bailey Rae, Laura Marling, Keren Ann, Patrick Wolf, Elbow, Gruff Rhys, Warpaint, Cee Lo Green, Antony and the Johnsons, P. J. Harvey and Emmy the Great, who sings a song about the Royal Wedding, appropriately enough for today (though I suppose the Cee Lo Green song is appropriate too).
posted by Kattullus (27 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
(though I suppose the Cee Lo Green song is appropriate too)

Oh, were you dating Kate before she met William?
posted by hippybear at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2011


Ooh. Patrick Wolf. He's lovely.
posted by schmod at 8:48 PM on April 28, 2011


Ha, Cee Lo Green is the shit!
posted by fiestapais at 8:50 PM on April 28, 2011


I am totally charmed that Cee Lo Green's entire band is female. From the linked interview:

""Why would you not have an all-female band?"

"Yes, why would I not?" "
posted by restless_nomad at 8:51 PM on April 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


+1 CeeLo == the Shit
posted by unSane at 9:08 PM on April 28, 2011


Woah, wait—what? CeeLo didn't write Fuck You.
posted by carsonb at 9:16 PM on April 28, 2011


Don't get me wrong, I'm down with CeeLo's music and have been for, like, ever, but how can Fuck You be autobiographical if he didn't write it?
posted by carsonb at 9:17 PM on April 28, 2011


Wikipedia has the writers as Cee Lo Green, Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, and Brody Brown.
posted by unSane at 9:33 PM on April 28, 2011


How I wrote Elastic Man
How I wrote Elastic Man
How I wrote Elastic Man
How I wrote Elastic Man
posted by outlaw of averages at 9:50 PM on April 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


unSane, you remind me of something I've been meaning to point out/complain about for a while now. Did you see how many songwriters were listed for that one song? 5. Same number of songwriters wrote Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream". One would think that with five different people working on a single song they could make it not suck (talking about Teenage Dream, I've never heard Fuck You, nor do I plan to).

I've been noticing this trend for a while now. I wonder when this started, 4+ songwriters being credited for a single song.
posted by MattMangels at 10:13 PM on April 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do like that Keren Ann tune.

The official vid.
posted by philip-random at 10:14 PM on April 28, 2011


Oh man. Laura Marling is one of the most talented artists I have ever had the fortune to see live. Pure amazingness.
posted by threeants at 10:20 PM on April 28, 2011


I've been noticing this trend for a while now. I wonder when this started, 4+ songwriters being credited for a single song.

Depends on what you mean. U2, Pearl Jam and even The Beatles have songs which are credited to the full band, which is a minimum of 4 people in each case.

I think on some level, the question is what does a songwriting credit mean, and why are all those people listed? I've heard of songwriting credits being given because someone helped with a single word. I've heard of credit being given because someone came up with a loop which was used. I've also heard of people bitching about NOT receiving credit when they basically wrote the bridge of a song, which is often the part which helps it soar. So, what does it mean?

Songwriting has been a collaborative art for a long time, and credits are a strange thing and have more to do with business than actual creative input. Not in all cases, but in enough that it's all a bit murky.
posted by hippybear at 10:22 PM on April 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


carsonb: "Don't get me wrong, I'm down with CeeLo's music and have been for, like, ever, but how can Fuck You be autobiographical if he didn't write it"

If you watch the video: a) Cee-Lo doesn't say he wrote it at any point, and b) he specifically says "It's not truly ... biographical" - he doesn't say autobiographical.
posted by benzo8 at 10:49 PM on April 28, 2011


I've never heard Fuck You, nor do I plan to.

You should change your plans, because it's one of the sunniest and most ear-pleasing pop songs you'll ever have the pleasure of hearing.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:15 PM on April 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


we neede to knowe, who are these people?
posted by clavdivs at 11:51 PM on April 28, 2011


Ok BitterOldPunk, if someone with your name likes it I'll have to give it a listen. This thread has also inspired me to go out and get some Rufus Wainright albums
posted by MattMangels at 12:12 AM on April 29, 2011


Wow, the folks at the Guardian have chosen a nice collection of musicians for this project. Several new albums on my shopping list now!
posted by alona at 2:27 AM on April 29, 2011


Thanks, Kattullus. Coffee + Elbow = a good way to start a Friday.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:16 AM on April 29, 2011


I've heard of songwriting credits being given because someone helped with a single word.

That's so common there's a pithy phrase for it - "Change a word, take a third" - that dates to the days when songwriting duos were the norm and singers, agents, managers or label bosses would take a writing credit for financial/ego reasons.

I don't know when the writing pop by committee thing started, but Cherion/The Hit Factory in Sweden are probably the most famous example - they're a team of writers and producers who've had a hand in lots (hundreds?) of pop hits - Britney Spears first few, lots of boybands.

Of course, you still get one-person hit factories: Cathy Dennis is behind lots of hits (of varying quality) - Kylie's Can't Get You Out of My Head, Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl, Britney's Toxic.
posted by jack_mo at 3:31 AM on April 29, 2011


Oh, and on topic - this is great, thanks Katullus!
posted by jack_mo at 3:32 AM on April 29, 2011


You should change your plans, because it's one of the sunniest and most ear-pleasing pop songs you'll ever have the pleasure of hearing.

Exactly. It's a total spirit-lifter, right up there with the Tamm's BE YOUNG, BE FOOLISH, BE HAPPY.
posted by unSane at 4:07 AM on April 29, 2011


I wonder when this started, 4+ songwriters being credited for a single song.

Well, it's only 3 songwriters, but Holland-Dozier-Holland probably wrote many of your favorite Motown songs in the 60s.
posted by dfan at 6:37 AM on April 29, 2011


No Raymond Roussel? It's cool. Cee Lo and Pee Jay more than make up for it! Thank you, Katullus!
posted by safetyfork at 7:33 AM on April 29, 2011


Gnarls Barkley! That's why his voice is so familiar! God, that's been bugging me all week. I listened to four versions of this song on Monday because it was such a persistent earworm (and I have to say, I actually like the clean radio version the best - it scans the most cleanly.) Although this live version is a beautiful, spare arrangement.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:50 AM on April 29, 2011


Kristen Hersh is the goddamn sexiest woman in rock today and has been since the 1980's.

I have spoken.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Loved Gruff's commercial break. This version of Sensations in the Dark is far better than the recorded version.
posted by juiceCake at 9:12 AM on May 10, 2011


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