It's alright I'm okay/It's alright It's okay
January 24, 2022 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Treat yourself to almost forty minutes of exploring the raw tracks of the Bee Gee's 'Stayin Alive' and see how it is put together, courtesy of the Youtube channel Home Studio Simplified.
posted by MartinWisse (32 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
"And now it's all right, it's okay
And you may look the other way
We can try to understand
The New York Times' effect on man"

Never in a million years would I have guessed that those were the lyrics in the pre-chorus.
posted by Hey Dean Yeager! at 1:33 PM on January 24 [18 favorites]


Love this! Such a killer tune, and listening to it takes me right back to when I first heard it as a teenager. Instant nostalgia.
posted by SNACKeR at 1:40 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately even this won't help my long running struggle to convince Mrs Abehammerb that the Bee Gees are fully awesome.

I've heard it rumored that the title was supposed to be "Buried Alive." Which fits the darker lyrics much better. (Sorry haven't had time to watch the video as I'm working. Shhhhh.)
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:45 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


The acoustic guitar section (starts around 17:30) is actually kind of mindblowing. I've heard this tune a gajillion times and had no idea that was in there. It's exceptionally well-played taboot.
posted by vverse23 at 1:55 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]


The lead vocals sound like a Southpark character, Mr Hankie or Towlie maybe. I tried, I'm out. It sounds nothing at all like the melody to Funky Town.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:04 PM on January 24


These isolated tracks videos are the highest and best use of YouTube. Absolutely fascinating.
posted by AgentRocket at 2:05 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Never in a million years would I have guessed that those were the lyrics in the pre-chorus.

That is exactly what I heard, but I did not believe I was hearing it right.
posted by thelonius at 2:26 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


For further study and contemplation: the drum track is actually a loop lifted from "Night Fever".
posted by vverse23 at 2:30 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Never in a million years would I have guessed that those were the lyrics in the pre-chorus.

Lol I learned this some time ago but I remember learning it vividly.

I suppose meant similarly, somehow, to Raekwon’s verse on “C.R.E.A.M.” - “I grew up on the crime side/the New York Times side/stayin’ alive was no j-“

wait

holy shit
posted by atoxyl at 2:55 PM on January 24 [12 favorites]


Still, we’re really talking more the New York Post side, no? Unless this is about their editorial columnists and national security reporting. Some might factor the New York Times’ effect on man to include a devastating war in Iraq, but the Gibb brothers didn’t know about that.
posted by atoxyl at 2:58 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I always thought it was "The New York Times can't make a man." as in, the media we consume doesn't define who we are. Or something like that meaning.

Anyway, cool link! Thanks.
posted by SoberHighland at 3:29 PM on January 24


Now that I’ve explicitly listened to and recognized the syncopation, I can never un-hear it… and that’s a good thing. Oh, those keys! Oh, those strings! I want to remake it in Logic.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:34 PM on January 24


Great stuff! Thanks for posting this :)
posted by sundrop at 4:05 PM on January 24


I think the New York Time’s effect on man is the great mystery of the Disco Era.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:27 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Videos like this, and like Rick Beato's "What Makes This Song Great?" series, really reveal how a song can be so much more than the sum of its tracks. Some of those Bee Gees vocal tracks sound pretty odd on their own, but once you've stacked them up to the final vocal track, the effect is plainly the sonic cornerstone of a true pop classic.
posted by tclark at 5:25 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Never in a million years would I have guessed that those were the lyrics in the pre-chorus.

That is exactly what I heard, but I did not believe I was hearing it right.


Yeah, at some point this line shifted in my head from "mondegreen" to "I guess there was a lot of coke around in the seventies".
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:46 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


but maybe it’s like a Chic DHM thing
posted by thelonius at 6:16 PM on January 24


This is awesome. Thanks for posting.
posted by googly at 6:19 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Fantastic. And so much for everyone to keep, uh, track of. There’s just so much there.

The more I learn about the Bee Gees, the more impressive they become. Masters of the first order.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:08 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


This was a truly, truly awesome video. I really enjoyed it a LOT. Thank you.
posted by MollyRealized at 8:31 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


They’ve learned from a lot of great Afro-Latin dance grooves that the real motor is the tiny, sparkly layers — in this case, that triangle and the acoustic guitar. That shimmery, ringing percussion works in perfect concert with the fat bottom. Masterful.
posted by argybarg at 10:32 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I think the theme here is: there should be a folky remix of this song with more acoustic guitar and less other things.

I'd thought that Arif Marden produced this but it looks like he parted ways before this album.

In other trivia: recorded at the infamous Honky Chateau.
posted by ovvl at 11:49 PM on January 24


The New York Times' effect on man

I always heard/parsed that as " the New York time's effect." Like how does time living in that city affect people in a way that another city's "time" doesn't.

I keep learning that I have heard and interpreted lyrics in my own eccentric little world.

Thanks for the post. I can't wait to listen after work!
posted by jaruwaan at 7:31 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Saturday Night Fever's initial inspiration was a New York Magazine article "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night." The actual quote from Barry Gibbs is: "New York was, in fact, having that effect on the whole world at that point. Not so much California but the Studio 54 and the nightlife and the young people trying to find a future for themselves where without this nightlife, there might not be a future." So I guess he used 'reading the New York Times' as synecdoche for all that?

Breakdowns of recording session tracks are always fascinating to me, this one let me clearly hear what has always bugged me about the pre-chorus of this recording, that the harmony vocal on the uppermost line is really out-of-tune--and it's double-tracked, but is differently inaccurate in each take. Most of that inaccuracy is lost in the tight, high harmonies that are the sum there, but it's always sounded off to me and I could never parse what it was, and now I can tell and it's such a relief. (Except now I want to use the slightest auto-tune tweak there, just to know what a really in-tune pass on that pre-chorus would sound like. Probably really weird, because I've been listening to this version almost my whole life.)
posted by LooseFilter at 8:11 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


I highly recommend How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, the HBO Bee Gees documentary. It has great footage and covers their first fame, decline, then newfound fame with Saturday Night Fever. They talk to the engineer at 461 Ocean Blvd. (yes the one from the Eric Clapton album) about how they developed that new sound right there in the studio. That record sold 40 million copies as a double album and was #1 for 24 weeks. The documentary also covers the “disco sucks” people, who come off badly, and the gay music scene from which a lot of the more mainstream disco stuff came.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:46 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


I always heard/parsed that as " the New York time's effect."

wow I never considered this
posted by thelonius at 9:04 AM on January 25



These isolated tracks videos are the highest and best use of YouTube. Absolutely fascinating.

I remembered the breakdown video of David Bowie's Heroes, by the song's producer, Tony Visconti. It's very interesting, with all the barely heard details that were included in the song. I guessed this was posted on MF, and sure enough, in 2016:

Breaking-down-David-Bowies-Heroes-Track-by-track
From the original master tapes! Brian Eno's briefcase synthesizer! "We started creating a vibe from minute one that was unchangeable."

From the interesting metafilter comments:
"Man, that moment where the three Fripp bits come together into that song-defining wee-ooo bit is revelatory."
posted by jjj606 at 10:27 AM on January 25


if ($youre === 'brother' || $youre === 'mother') {
    $youre = $stayinAlive;
}

posted by kirkaracha at 2:46 PM on January 25


I never realized there was an acoustic guitar underneath all of that, and the bass line is a lot simpler than I would have expected it to be.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:22 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Videos like this, and like Rick Beato's "What Makes This Song Great?" series, really reveal how a song can be so much more than the sum of its tracks. Some of those Bee Gees vocal tracks sound pretty odd on their own, but once you've stacked them up to the final vocal track, the effect is plainly the sonic cornerstone of a true pop classic.

I love these kinds of explainers but man does music copyright law ever cripple them.
posted by srboisvert at 3:37 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]



Saturday Night Fever's initial inspiration was a New York Magazine article "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night."


All revealed, decades after the fact, to have been completely made up by its author who iirc never even had been to New York when he wrote it.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:59 AM on January 28


I never noticed the terrible splice before the post-chorus (1:37 in the released version; the one at 2:49 is somewhat better) and now it's all I can notice. Thanks a lot.

(I actually really love this. But that will haunt me now forever.)
posted by uncleozzy at 1:15 PM on January 28


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