Large Maps
August 31, 2016 2:49 AM   Subscribe

It may not have set the charts alight when it was first released in 2003, but it’s entirely possible that Maps by New York art-punk outfit Yeah Yeah Yeahs has been the single most influential song of the 21st century so far. How? Let’s look…
posted by chavenet (23 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
How is this song the most influential? Rock Band. This is the song that non-musicians played to learn how to play the game.

And it works perfectly for that.
posted by andreaazure at 4:43 AM on August 31, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wow. Incredibly nuanced break-down of Maps and the three songs influenced by it. I knew about Since U Been Gone, but it's refreshing to read someone use music theory and analysis to compare "pop" music.
posted by kuanes at 4:59 AM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm a big fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, particularly whenever Karen O plays any of her songs on an acoustic guitar. Speaking of Karen O, her solo album Crush Songs is low key but very listenable, it has an early Radiohead feel to it. Definitely check it out.
posted by Fizz at 5:24 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Black Sheep by Metric always reminds me of Maps. Also the opening drums in We Are Young by fun. The drums sound so similar to me that I'll start to sing the wrong one in the car if I'm not paying attention.
(We Are Young will stay on my iPhone forever because when my daughter was tiny, she kept crying that she wanted to listen to that song where the cats are singing, why won't anyone play the song with the singing cats?
Weeks later, she finally heard it again. It turned out to be the na-na-na part they sing when Janelle Monet is singing "Carry me home tonight." Meow meow meow.)
posted by artychoke at 5:34 AM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Since U Been Gone link has always been there for me ever since this acoustic cover of Since U Been Gone by Ted Leo, where he plays that middle 8 then starts singing Maps, then a second middle 8 before going back to the original song.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:01 AM on August 31, 2016 [19 favorites]


Yes, but never, ever ask him to play it.
posted by schmod at 6:35 AM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Art-punk? That's pop music....
posted by Monkeymoo at 6:38 AM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Glad I'm not the only one who also thought there were cats singing in We Are Young.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:00 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Huh I've heard this song like 100 times and never registered it. If I had to guess I'd have said it was Explosions in the Sky, although perhaps the female vocalist should have been a tip-off it wasn't. Neat to read how bits of the song get picked up by all these other music producers (credited or not).

Music is a conversation.
posted by Nelson at 7:11 AM on August 31, 2016


It's always so interesting to me when the most popular hit from a band is so distinctly different from the rest of their sound. Maps, great song that it is, sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of Fever to Tell.

How does that affect an artist? "Hmm. We want to do this, but they like it when we do that."
posted by explosion at 7:28 AM on August 31, 2016


More articles like this, please. This was great.
posted by Theta States at 7:37 AM on August 31, 2016


I really don't think Max Martin's breakthrough moment with Kelly Clarkson would have been 'do it a bit indie but with a big chorus.' The article is a real jumble of half-ideas.
posted by Coda Tronca at 7:52 AM on August 31, 2016


How is this song the most influential? ...
posted by andreaazure at 7:43 AM on August 31 [+] [!]


If only there was some article that explained how this song has been borrowed from and inspired by other songs and artists, a lot of which are pioneers themselves.
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:57 AM on August 31, 2016 [14 favorites]


For those who like this: composer/musician/all around genius Owen Pallett has done a couple of pieces for Slate breaking down pop songs using musical theory. There's only three, I desperately wish there were more.

As for the article itself: I never really gave the song fair shake because it came out around the same time I became a cartographer, which meant that people were singing it at me all the time (some still do, actually, uggghh), but the song's impact is undeniable, but until this article I had no idea it was dropped in, uncredited, into so many songs.

I can't seem to find who wrote that article. Is it on there? Am I missing something obvious? I would like to read more of their work.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:06 AM on August 31, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's always so interesting to me when the most popular hit from a band is so distinctly different from the rest of their sound.

a.k.a. The Sugar Ray Effect
posted by saul wright at 8:31 AM on August 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


everbody had matching towels: you would probably enjoy Pop Music Masterclass.
posted by HighLife at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2016 [4 favorites]




The Song Exploder podcast is also a really good listen if you're into dissecting music.
posted by Maaik at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I can't seem to find who wrote that article. Is it on there? Am I missing something obvious? I would like to read more of their work.

huh... I can't seem to figure that out either, as well as other articles on the site. In fact I don't even see an About page with more info about the company. All I can seem to find is that it's founded by Neil Stevenson and Camilla Wright, the latter usually gets interviewed about the site.
posted by numaner at 11:44 AM on August 31, 2016


The part where she warbles ma-a-aps is pretty close to a millennial whoop too.
posted by painquale at 1:35 PM on August 31, 2016


That was a great article and it made me feel good about myself for liking every song mentioned. Including Maps which I liked immediately. I feel validated which is a nice change of pace, usually essays about music are talking about something I don't like and they make me feel like I'm missing out on something for not being able to appreciate it like they do. In this case it seems like they do love you like I love you.
posted by bleep at 5:12 PM on August 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I fucking LOVE this kind of in-depth analysis of music. I could read stuff like this all day if I didn't have other responsibilities. Thank you chavenet!
posted by yiftach at 9:13 PM on August 31, 2016


Immaculate song! I hadn't noticed any of the samples / evolutions before, and I've even played Since U Been Gone in a one-off covers band.

Super interesting article, thanks for posting.
posted by ZipRibbons at 3:02 AM on September 1, 2016


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