I don’t listen to enough music these days. Specifically, I don’t listen to enough music that is new to me. In an effort to remedy this, I spent a day listening to NPR’s “All Songs 24/7” from All Songs Considered.
At first I worried that I would like everything. But then started to notice some tracks over others. And then fell down a song rabbit hole or two.
Case in point, Lydia Loveless has released a cover of the Ke$ha song “Blind” as a B-side on a 7″ single.
Do you know what a 7″ is? Once upon a time music was pressed onto vinyl disks called, “records.” You could buy a big record with many songs on it or a smaller disc with just two songs on it. The hit was on the “A” side and there was a song on the other side – the “B” side. “B” sides were more of a crapshoot. Sometimes they were as good or better than the “A” side. Other times, well not so much. But I digress.
Lydia Loveless has put out a single with a gem of a “B” side cover.
She sings a devastating, heartbreaking female vocal in a style that has fallen out of fashion for a long time, even in country circles. Which is a shame since country music used to be a great place to be a gal with a big, strong, steady voice who can carry a tune. And I mean CARRY it, without excessive ornamentation. She gets it done and with a mix of vocal strength and interpretive fragility and emotion.
I had not heard the Ke$ha version. It sounded like a legit country song to me.
Which sounds a lot different but somehow familiar. By familiar, I don’t mean the way it resembled Lydia’s version. I mean that the verses of the song as Ke$ha sings them sounded like something else that I had heard before.
I couldn’t put my finger until I got up from my desk and realized that I was humming the Katy Perry song, “I Kissed a Girl.”
The verses for both songs kick off with the repetition of one note and then crack open into a weave of notes under and above it with a return. It’s harder to hear in the Loveless version as she ads a country warble to the endeavor.
Checking the song writing credits, Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke) co-wrote of both of them. He is also a co-producer along with Benny Blanco. Having articulated the verse format in this way, the chorus “Teenage Dream” came to mind:
It’s such a small motif. Perhaps not even enough to be considered a familial resemblance. Plus, Gottwald and Blanco were not the only two people involved with each of these songs they might not have worked on that part of aspect of these songs.
But all of that said, I am now curious to listen to other Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco songs (and Max Martin songs) to see if it crops up anywhere else.
In the same way that Bruno Mars sings the word “Yeah,” in so many of his songs (to great (at times sublime) effect I might add.)
All of that said, I should probably also check out the “A” side of Loveless’ single.