May 31, 2019 10:26 AM   Subscribe

I am thoroughly enjoying the way that Lil Nas X has been completely dragging the country establishment through the mud.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:34 AM on May 31, 2019 [23 favorites]

On Youtube: Lil Nas X surprising the kids of Lander Elementary

According to the Guardian, "their enthusiasm bubbled over into jubilant, life-affirming insanity," and that seems like an understatement.
posted by Little Dawn at 10:37 AM on May 31, 2019 [14 favorites]

For anyone who's baffled by the whole phenomena of Old Town Road, this episode of the podcast Switched on Pop provides a great explanation and discusses why the song has become such a flash point of discussion.
posted by yasaman at 10:38 AM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

What a sweetie. And I am amazed with how he got the kids to pipe down so easily when he needed to hear the track!
posted by queensissy at 10:46 AM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

More absolutely vital Lil Nas X content (make sure you scroll down for the follow-up )
posted by an octopus IRL at 10:57 AM on May 31, 2019 [10 favorites]

After watching a gymnasium full of nicely-dressed suburban 8th graders jump in sync to Old Town Road, I'm even more baffled by all of this.

Oh and the kid in front in the grey sweats...that's a Fortnite dance right?
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:59 AM on May 31, 2019

I heard the BBC coverage of this story this morning, so I'd already heard the hollering, very excited kids. Let's just say seeing the kids this excited here in this coverage brings it to the next level (with kids wearing their hats, etc.) and jumping up and down.

I do think it's great that Lil Nas X took time out to do this for the school/kids - I'm sure some of the kids will remember this for the rest of their lives.

Also, in case anyone is interested; Lil Nas X's song isn't just at the top of the billboards in the US. It's all over the world (and has been for several weeks). I'm not going to peruse all the lists, but in he is at the top in the UK, France, Belgium, Belgium. In the past week, it has popped up on charts in some countries in South America (Bolivia, Ecuador) just this week - low at the moment (#70s), but I have no doubt it will zip on up.

Thanks for posting - like I said, seeing the kids adds a whole new level to this.
posted by Wolfster at 11:12 AM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

Those gold-tipped boots are perfection. I’m loving his success.
posted by sallybrown at 11:24 AM on May 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

that's a Fortnite dance right?

For everyone my age* or older, it is called Orange justice.

*my age being "i learned this yesterday" and older being "today or in the future"

The song is catchy af, he seems to just be genuinely delighting in his success and good god id sacrifice a finger or toe to feel anything half as intensely as those kids are feeling him/the song.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:35 AM on May 31, 2019 [5 favorites]

good god id sacrifice a finger or toe to feel anything half as intensely as those kids are feeling him/the song.

But less shouty, right? Because serious props to teachers who wrangle elementary school ages kids. I love their unbridled joy, but their sheer volume is deafening, even through my phone speaker.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on May 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh and the kid in front in the grey sweats...that's a Fortnite dance right?

Say what you will about Fortnite (I don't actually know that much about it besides my nephews love of it) but if it's done anything, it's made little kids at weddings much better dancers than they were 20 years ago.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:37 PM on May 31, 2019 [10 favorites]

Bless those teachers who have to deal with an auditorium full of children screaming "can't nobody tell me nothing!!!!"
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:59 PM on May 31, 2019 [7 favorites]

I love that Lil Nas X's version of living his best life is just, like, playing secret free shows at elementary schools and giving away Maseratis as thank you presents. He is such a goddamm delight. *goes to play Old Town Road on youtube to help the song stay at #1*
posted by 23skidoo at 2:59 PM on May 31, 2019 [17 favorites]

If I was a famous pop star, this is what I'd do every other day.
posted by signal at 3:08 PM on May 31, 2019 [3 favorites]

I taught elementary school for ten years and lost some of my ability to hear. No joke. The lunchroom was like a jackhammer. That said, he did a great job, I love the song, and the kids were surprisingly well behaved. That could have been a disaster.
posted by Peach at 7:31 PM on May 31, 2019 [2 favorites]

This Reddit comment on the video made me lol pretty hard:
oh my God, Lil Nas X missed an opportunity for an incredible troll. Imagine he came out and decided to sing his new song, a soft, serious ballad about how important homework is. Kids would end up crying.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:48 PM on May 31, 2019 [8 favorites]

I’m super impressed with the school’s Powers that Be for not insisting that he change the lyrics of the second verse (won’t somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN?!). It’s an absolute delight to see all those kids get an excuse to shout “boobies” in unison.... I do wonder what the adults in their lives have told them “lean all in my bladder” means, but what they don’t know won’t hurt them.
posted by some_kind_of_toaster at 4:02 PM on June 2, 2019

.....i don't know what "lean all in my bladder" means. (am old)
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:58 PM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Awww, I see you, sensory kid with the noise-blocking headphones! I'm so glad someone thought of him.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:18 PM on June 3, 2019

My Girl Scout troop recently performed a version of this at a campfire, changing the words to be about the outdoor-skills competition we were at. All the other Girl Scouts loved it; the leaders were either confused or also loved it, depending on age. They'd worked on the lyrics on the drive up in my minivan, listening to it over. And over. And over. Lucky for me I like the song.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:22 PM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

i don't know what "lean all in my bladder" means. (am old)

As (almost) always, Urban Dictionary is a fantastic resource: Lean is Sprite + Promethazine w/Codeine VC (very specific prescription cough medicine) + a Jolly Rancher (optional)
posted by 23skidoo at 5:32 PM on June 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

This can't not make you smile
posted by Windopaene at 9:10 PM on June 5, 2019

And at the BET Awards
posted by Apocryphon at 7:50 PM on June 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love this song as does my little kid.

It had an odd genesis. At first listen it sounds like Nas took an existing country song and put a trap beat underneath it, but that's not what happened at all.

It combines a sample of a minimalist Nine Inch Nails instrumental track (NIN get a songwriting credit) with a trap beat. A combination that Lil Nas X purchased as-is from Dutch producer YoungKio on the internet for $30 (YoungKio later negotiated a production credit). That's really the whole backing track.

All the lyrics and the country feel comes from the Lil Nas X vocal and, in the most popular remix, the added vocal from Billy Ray Cyrus (another genius move).
posted by w0mbat at 11:26 AM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

One aspect of the song that I haven't seen anything on is exactly how the rights work with NIN. There was an aside in one article about YoungKio on how the beat was licensed for something like 3K plays, but that he and Lil Nas X had come to a new satisfactory arrangement. Which makes sense, because the song has much benefited both of their budding careers. But what about NIN? Given how vicious music copyright law is, I can't imagine that you could sample that for free, nor that 30 dollars would cover licensing from Reznor.
posted by tavella at 3:07 PM on June 25, 2019

The Switched on Pop podcast gives some more of the details, but the NIN sample is from an album Reznor put out on a Creative Commons license. Credit is all that's required for non-commercial use. Obviously this is a pretty commercial use of the sample. I wasn't able to find anything definitive online about whether NIN or Reznor have sued or anything, but Business Insider suggests that maybe now that Lil Nas X has been signed to a label, the label has paid back royalties to NIN for use of the sample.
posted by yasaman at 3:27 PM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Co-writers get a share of the publishing money, co-producers get a share of the mechanical royalties.
NIN got added as both. YoungKio got added as a co-producer.
The CC license on the NIN track was only for non-commercial use, so is not relevant.
posted by w0mbat at 10:24 AM on June 26, 2019

Guess Lil Nas X is lucky that Reznor opted not to be a dick about it and just take the money -- I remember how the Verve got the wrong license for the riff for Bittersweet Symphony (or at least the guy who owned the rights claimed so) and ended up losing all rights to it.
posted by tavella at 4:00 PM on June 26, 2019

Yeah, Bittersweet Symphony was based on a loop taken from Andrew Loog Oldham's orchestral version of the Rolling Stones song, "The Last Time".

The Verve had correctly obtained rights to the sample from Decca Records, but they had not reached an agreement with ABKCO Records, which owned the rights to the original song whose melody they were using. That meant Bittersweet Symphony plagiarized The Last Time as a song, and The Verve had to sign over the publishing rights.
posted by w0mbat at 9:49 AM on June 28, 2019

I should add that just this year, Jagger & Richards camp had a change of heart and signed the publishing back over to Richard Ashcroft (The Verve).

In May 2019, Ashcroft received the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors.
Ashcroft announced that the dispute was over following negotiations with Klein's son, Jody, and the Rolling Stones' manager Joyce Smith.
He said:
As of last month, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards signed over all their publishing for Bittersweet Symphony, which was a truly kind and magnanimous thing for them to do. I never had a personal beef with the Stones. They've always been the greatest rock and roll band in the world. It's been a fantastic development. It's life-affirming in a way.

posted by w0mbat at 9:58 AM on June 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

That's good to hear! I always felt a little bad hearing the song, despite liking it a lot, because the dispute led to the end of the band and IIRC a nervous breakdown for Ashcroft. And it was always presented in the short form as them maliciously plagarizing, instead of thinking in good faith that they had obtained the rights for the sample.
posted by tavella at 10:39 AM on June 28, 2019

But definitely, Reznor could have made their lives very unhappy, so it is classy of him to not crush them, and not even make a public big deal about being nice.
posted by tavella at 10:42 AM on June 28, 2019

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