The Library of Congress on Wednesday announced its 25 annual additions to the National Recording Registry, honoring significant pieces of American history and culture. While some of the titles are instantly recognizable — the “Sound of Music” soundtrack, the Temptations’ “My Girl” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album — others are more significant for their influence on future generations.

“How I Got Over,” for example, was written in 1951 by Clara Ward after she was taunted with racial epithets on the way to a performance. Mavis Staples recently said that the Mahalia Jackson version of the song was the first she ever heard sung by a woman. Ms. Staples would later cover the song with the Staples Singers; Aretha Franklin and the Blind Boys of Alabama have also recorded it.

“Sitting on Top of the World” was recorded in 1930 by the Mississippi Sheiks. The malleable song would be performed in various styles, from folk to country to bluegrass: Cream, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Jack White all have versions.

And Artur Schnabel’s recording of Beethoven’s 32 sonatas in 1932 was the first complete recording of that collection; it set a template for artists delving into complete surveys of master works, like Glenn Gould’s exhaustive foray into Bach which was recently released on a new box set.

The National Recording Registry now has 500 titles. Others added this year include Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” Gloria Estefan’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” Run-DMC’s “Raising Hell” album and Canario y Su Grupo’s “Lamento Borincano,” about the plight of a Puerto Rican farmer.


The only English-language pop song in Wes Anderson’s new movie, Isle of Dogs, is 144 seconds of whispery psych-folk detritus called “I Won’t Hurt You.” Released in 1967 by Los Angeles act the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, the song may be the drowsiest expression of passion ever preserved on vinyl. The chorus simply repeats the title over and over again. Gentle strumming provides a pedestal for lyrics like, “The stars are in your eyes/I’ll take a spaceship and try and go and find you.” Instead of drums, there’s an amplified heartbeat. The singer sounds as though he’s murmuring in his sleep; he may also be suffering from a touch of nasal congestion. It’s not the kind of dramatic song movies normally use to heighten the emotions onscreen—and it’s an especially unexpected choice for a stop-motion epic set in a near-future Japan.

The story takes place in the fictional metropolis of Megasaki, where the city’s disease-stricken canine population has been exiled to a desolate Island of Trash. Though Isle of Dogs’ score favors traditional Japanese instruments like recorder and taiko drum melded with music from movies by legendary Tokyo director Akira Kurosawa, “I Won’t Hurt You” is the sonic centerpiece of its trailer. It’s the perfect sweet yet haunting song to add a bilingual element to the soundtrack of this sweet yet haunting bilingual movie.

In his 2003 book Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting, Brett Milano explains that West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band are “beloved by a majority of diehard collectors, and by hardly anybody else.” Despite the subsequent widespread availability of their music on digital platforms and a recent vinyl reissue, the description still fits. At least, it did until Isle of Dogs. Now, whether they know it or not, the legion of Anderson fans who’ve viewed the trailer almost 13 million times have all heard about 40 seconds of the song. In the film itself, they’ll hear it twice more. It’s a quintessential Wes Anderson sync—an obscure mid-century pop cut whose emotional impact is so immediate you can’t believe it isn’t a classic.

This is the power of what we might call the crate-digger soundtrack, a style of music supervision that heightens the movie-watching experience with the thrill of pawing through boxes of dusty LPs at a flea market. Instead of commissioning new singles, recycling B-sides, or finding era-appropriate hits to set the scene of a period piece, these soundtracks champion unheard, forgotten, or otherwise apt vintage gems. Sometimes, they even thrust those songs back into the cultural spotlight, on hit soundtrack albums that feel like hand-labeled mixtapes.

Despite Anderson’s insistence that he’s “not really a vinyl guy,” he and his longtime music supervisor, Randall Poster, are easily the most popular team to have perfected this eclectic approach. Their quest to find the perfect syncs for 2007’s Indian travelogue The Darjeeling Limited took Poster to India, where he begged the foundation that manages the legacy of celebrated director Satyajit Ray to let him copy master tapes of scores from his films. Beach Boys fans can thank Poster for tracking down the band’s archivist to secure their “Ol’ Man River” cover for Anderson’s first stop-motion feature, the Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox. Anderson and Poster are so famous for having impeccable musical taste that the Talkhouse made a funny video that replaces the Rushmore soundtrack with goofy ’90s hits by Smash Mouth, Spin Doctors, and Blink-182. The substitutions transform an artful coming-of-age classic into a corny teen comedy, demonstrating just how dramatically music can shape a film’s mood.

Every crate digger has a specialty. Anderson’s is the British Invasion, from the Rolling Stones to one-hit wonder Peter Sarstedt, whose darkly funny 1969 single “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?” is a recurring theme in Darjeeling and its prequel short, Hotel Chevalier. Rushmore, from 1998, is Anderson’s Anglophilic opus, featuring the Stones, the Who, the Faces and garage-rock quartet the Creation, who were virtually unknown in the U.S. before their propulsive single “Making Time” scored a montage of teen antihero Max Fischer’s many extracurricular activities. Like those acts and the disgruntled schoolboys of British auteur Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 film If…, which Rushmore references, Max is a rebel clothed in the signifiers of tradition. Reflecting on the film’s use of the Rolling Stones’ “I Am Waiting,” Poster has noted, “The Stones were these brattish-looking guys in these crisp suits, and I think [Anderson] found a correspondence [between Rushmore and] the sound and the image of the band.” That strange mix of iconoclasm, respect for institutions, and love of tradition is Anderson’s trademark as a writer and director, so it’s no wonder that his default soundtrack matches those aesthetic themes.

Not that he confines himself to ’60s England. In a 2005 review of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou soundtrack, Pitchfork’s Chris Dahlen defined “Wes Anderson music” as “light but not MOR, the kind of song that has a strong kick but soft edges.” By then, that canon included onetime New York transplants Nico and Bob Dylan, whose songs permeate the Manhattan-set The Royal Tenenbaums, and the samba-fied David Bowie covers Brazilian musician Seu Jorge performs throughout The Life Aquatic. More recently, for period dramedies Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson and Poster have added classical music and leaned heavily on Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat’s instrumental scores. Even as they’ve branched out to explore new genres and traditions, crate-digging has continued to define their curatorial style.

SWEDEN-MUSIC-SPOTIFY-MUSIC-STREAMINGIf you’re not Apple, Google or Amazon, the music streaming business is tough. Last week, iHeart Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Pandora moved to renegotiate its costly deals with record labels last week, and Spotify is reassuring investors that it can turn a profit as it prepares to go public next month. Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Paul Sweeney, media analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, about why it’s so hard to make money in streaming. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Paul Sweeney: You know, everybody’s got to get paid in the music business. This has been, over the last hundred years, a very complex web of licensing agreements, and the streaming companies have to pay these fees as well. So they’ve all negotiated fee arrangements with the various licensing entities, and it’s a big, big part of their cost structure. And that is why, you know, they really, in particular in the case of Spotify, but all the players, you know, what they need to do is to really sign up as many subscribers as they can, generate as much revenue as they can to cover these licensing and royalty costs. And it really, really argues for these companies to get to scale as quickly as possible.

Molly Wood: And yet, we should point out here that Spotify is not profitable, right? Is anybody making money in this space?

Sweeney: You’re right. They’re they’re not profitable. And it was interesting the way they positioned their company at their investor day was to say — not not surprisingly, I guess — don’t focus on profits, focus on subscriber growth. And very much like the Netflix story, this is going to be a story about subscriber growth, you know. And I think what they really stress from a financial perspective is, “Once our subscribers stay with us for more than a year, they become very profitable for us.” What I think they’re saying to the marketplace is “This is very early innings of this global streaming music business, and we’re going to go for as much share as possible, and we will monetize it, you know, in the future.”

Wood: Certainly the pages of tech history are littered with companies who made that argument about audience. Not everyone can be Amazon and Netflix. Like, do the economics suggest, you know, if Spotify’s bet doesn’t pay off that only big companies like Apple or Amazon or Google who can afford to sort of absorb losses in licensing fees could end up controlling streaming music?

Sweeney: Yeah, we did some some research on the market opportunity here for the Spotifys of the world and just the streaming music business in general, and we think the music streaming via subscription is about an $8.4 billion business today, and we think by 2025 that industry could be $24 billion. What’s really happening, what’s going to drive that revenue growth, is just the growth in global paid users. There’s about 120 million people globally, excluding China, that subscribe to a paying streaming service right now. We think that can grow to about 400 million people in 2025. So those numbers look very big over the next five years, and the question is, who’s going to get that? It really comes down to investors’ belief in the overall growth of the global streaming market. And then it’s a question of who you think is going to be the winners and losers here. Is it a zero-sum game where maybe it’s just Apple and nobody else? Or is there room for multiple players?

Wood: So I know that Spotify, for example, has been able to renegotiate better rates with the labels. Is that what it’s going to take for the digital streaming industry in general? Like, will the labels just have to give a little more?

Sweeney: I don’t think so. I think it’s going to continue to be a very contentious relationship between the labels and whoever’s distributing the music. I think it’s going be a constant, constant struggle as it’s always been in the music business, because the people who create the content feel like they should be adequately compensated for their work. And it’s a question of what “adequately compensated” means. And that will always be, I believe, a pressure point for Spotify as they think about how to manage their costs.

Carly Rae Jepsen teases new music

Posted: February 16, 2018 in Music Fashion

She’s hinted at a disco vibe.

Carly Rae Jepsen has sent fans in a frenzy by teasing potential new music via Instagram.

The singer has previously revealed that her upcoming fourth album will have a disco vibe, and she recently added fuel to the fire by changing her Instagram bio to what fans are speculating may be lyrics from an upcoming single.

Her bio now reads: “When you move it’s like a disco darling – all my dreams come true.”

Some fans are convinced that there’s an impending single called ‘Disco Darling’.

Jepsen last released a track in May 2017, with ‘Cut To The Feeling’, which was intended to be on the singer’s 2015 album ‘Emotion’, but ended up featuring in animated movie, ‘Leap’.

Last September, Jepsen revealed she was in the “cleaning up phase” of her new album. In an interview with Japanese radio station, Radiko, the singer said she did have a new album on the way but was “hesistant” to give a date.

“I have a baby plan for the album,” she said. “It would be great to get it here as soon as possible, but it’s also more important to get it right. I’m in the cleaning up phases right now. Just making sure it’s all polished.”

Back in 2016, Jepsen told the Vancouver Sun that she was in the “writing stage” of her next album, and revealed her “disco” inspirations.

“I can’t explain what we’re doing right now, but we’re very much into disco-y things, whatever this next album may or may not turn out to be,” she said.

“But I’m very much referencing ABBA a lot, and The Bee Gees, all of that stuff. It’s fun to dig into oldies and see what you can celebrate about it, like a good movie or good song – to take your favourite pieces of something and add some new stuff to create something different.”

Meanwhile, back in December, Jepsen featured on ‘Backseat’ from Charli XCX‘s mixtape, ‘Pop 2‘.

The singer wrote on Instagram at the time: “Love this lady! So glad this collab finally happened.”

Music is genuine expression of the mind

Posted: January 18, 2018 in Band

A-Badman2Who is Badman Caesar and why the name?

My name is Ojodale John, and I am from Kogi State, from Igala. So I’m proudly an Igala native. I am popularly called Badman Ceaser but you can just call me Caesar.

On why the name, at a point every individual come up with a name, something spectacular that would stand them out. For me, it used to be Caesar. My other name is Julius. So Caesar came out of Julius. Caesar is a king and I am from a royal lineage. My father is called the lion, so I am called the young lion. Putting the Badman is just to make it a little spectacular to standout

At what point did you venture into music?

I have been doing music since I was nine. I was always going to rehearsal with my mom, before you know I was in the choir singing and playing drums. I started playing drums as the youngest kid in the choir in my church, Living Faith, which I attended from 1999 to 2006 before we moved, and then I started attending another church. At that time, it was usually like, where is this boy, come and play the drums. That’s everybody story anyway. All that happened in Yobe. I continued when we moved to Abuja. When I turned 17, I knew I could sing well; I started doing little bit of singing at local events, and then went to school.

The passion made way for me. In school a friend had heard me singing and felt we should go to the studio and do some recording because I play guitar as well. My first guitar was a gift on my 18th birthday. Gradually, I became the 2face of ABU; I was always the headliner at every show on campus. There was no show you wouldn’t see me. Before I know it, I started getting shows from Kaduna, Kano and Abuja and that was it.

What kind of music do you do?

I am an all rounder; the only thing I don’t do is rap. I tried to rap but it doesn’t flow, so I stick to what I can. I do variety of music; I can wake up today and do reggae. I see music as a genuine expression of the mind. The mood also affect the individual, so when you are in good mood you tend to write good stuff and when you are in a bad mood, like when a girl breaks your heart you tend to write it. That is how it works with me. I try to keep away from things that affect me negatively, keep a positive vibe because of music. Basically, I do Afro, R&B, Reggae and Pop.

Any album so far?

No album yet, but I am still working on some song. I wouldn’t call it an album because I want to drop them in singles to see how far they can go. I have a couple of songs online including a Peace Song I did in 2013. The song went viral and that was the song that took me to the presidential villa. I performed there and I went on a tour with Press Play Nigeria o about 24 higher institutions and was awarded a Peace Ambassador. I never knew that song would take me that far. I was just at home one day and they called me, since I was in Abuja, I decided to go for the peace concert. There were prices for people to win. I just did my song and when I got to the peak of the song I realized that everybody was clapping. I never saw that song as a song that would make everybody clap. The concert was put together by 2Face Vote Not Fight Initiative.

What are you trying to do different from other artistes?

I am putting so many stuffs together just to get to where I am going. I know it is not going to be easy, and at some point I felt like giving up. All I am doing now is to focus on my career, which I believe will get me to where I am going.

What are your plans like for the next three years?

I have a big dream that kind of get me scared. What I see is too big, so trying to explain it is difficult. But in one word I see a star in the next three years. The world would know about me and where I come from because where I come from is very significant. Everybody talks about the minority; we are minor but very major because without Kogi you can’t cross to the East and to South; you can’t cross to the West or come from the other end to the north. I believe in Africa so much that in the next three years, people would be hearing about Africa in a different way

What is your take on the development of Nigerian music industry and challenges face by upcoming artiste like you?

On a scale of 100, I will put the Naija music industry on 60 per cent. The reason is that the entertainment industry right now requires money, which makes it difficult for people like us who are trying to come up to be heard. I have a video, which I am struggling to push on TV because it is capital intensive. South Africa has a more organised sector. People record and drop songs online with ease and as they are downloaded, it generate fund for the artiste. My song is on MTN music plus, I have fought severally to be paid but nothing is working. The other issue is that if not Lagos, the music industry does not really sell anywhere. Other regions are still trying to catch up. I must appreciate people and stations that have been supporting despite the situation. I have lost friends; friends have turned to enemies. Financial challenges are there. No record is willing and ready to make commitment to upcoming artistes. I am not signed to any label now, so I am open to business. The day I will get signed to a serious record label that will turn my career around and be the happiest day of my life.

So what do you really think needs to be change for the industry to be better positioned?

There should be strict copyright laws. Artists survive basically on shows because as soon as the song is out people just duplicate it. Government needs to listen to the plight of the sector; the industry has brought and it is still bringing revenue to government. Entertainment and agriculture were voted sustainers of the Nigerian economy and that is already happening. There should be platform that encourages young entertainers to thrive.

Figure Skaters Perform to Music With Words

Posted: December 22, 2017 in Music

Julian Yee is the first figure skater from Malaysia to qualify for the Olympics, but for his big debut he does not plan to perform to a familiar classicist like Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninoff. No Mahler or Bizet for him, either. He chose the work of an American composer, but it’s not the airy music of Gershwin.

Instead, for his long program Yee will jump into the sequined soul of James Brown, whose voice will fill the arena with a medley of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “I Got You (I Feel Good).”

“If I show the amount of energy James Brown showed on stage, it will be something good for the audience and the judges to see,” Yee, 20, said upon qualifying for the Games in September at a competition in Germany.

The Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be the first in which singles and pairs skaters can compete to music with lyrics. True, the chestnuts of the sport — “Carmen,” “Swan Lake” — are still being performed, or over-performed. But these days one is as likely to hear Moby as Mozart, the Beatles as Beethoven or Bieber as Bach.

In an attempt to attract a younger audience to a sport with flagging appeal – and to satisfy young skaters — the International Skating Union adopted rules allowing sung music after the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. (Ice dancers have used vocals since the late 1990s.) To proponents, lyrics help skaters tell a story and may attract casual fans with songs that are played on the radio, not just in symphony halls.

“Sometimes music with vocals, it brings out more passion,” said Han Cong of China, 25, who with his partner, Sui Wenjing, 22, is favored to win the Olympic pairs competition. They skate to K.D. Lang’s cover of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” in their short program.

“When the lyrics have some meaning, it may touch your heart more easily,” Han said.

With an infinite songbook now available, skaters have explored a diversity of musicians, including Queen, Coldplay, Elvis, Gene Kelly, and folk songs like “Hava Nagila,” as well as selections from “Hamilton” and the movie “La La Land.”

Perhaps the most startling departure from classical music came in January 2017 at the United States championships, when Jimmy Ma, 22, of Great Neck, N.Y., performed his short program to Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady.”

“How far figure skating has come,” Michael Weiss, a two-time Olympian and a commentator for, said on a broadcast of the event. “I never thought I would have seen somebody skating to Eminem, but it actually worked.”

In a recent interview, Weiss noted that while skating has an alluring artistic side, it is fundamentally a sport and can benefit from music that builds an audience’s energy.

At the Washington Capitals hockey games he attends, Weiss said, “they don’t play Beethoven and Mozart when they’re about to drop the puck.”

The ultimate example of self-expression — or self-indulgence, some might say — during this Olympic season may have come when Adam Rippon of Los Angeles recorded and performed to his own vocals of the Rihanna song “Diamonds.”

“It wasn’t too bad; wasn’t too good, either,” Rippon, 28, said. Ultimately, for his short program, he decided instead on what he called “trashy” club music because “it embodies me even more than my own voice.”

Given that the Olympics are an international competition, the context and language of songs could play an important role in influencing the crowd and the judges.

Despite the Games being on their home ice, no South Korean skaters are expected to perform to K-pop. “It’s not a match for an ice rink,” said Chi Hyun-jung, a South Korean coach. “Koreans are the only ones who understand the words.”

The American ice dancers Madison Chock, 25, and Evan Bates, 28, who are expected to challenge for a bronze medal, make sly reference to the turbulence of national and international politics with the idealistic lyrics of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

“Not getting into left or right, it’s more peace and hope and prosperity,” Bates said. “I think anybody, regardless of political party, would welcome that kind of message in these times.”

When the rules changed to permit lyrics, a number of officials, coaches and choreographers — and even some skaters — were wary. The fear was that it would trivialize a sport built on a foundation of classical music.

Even now, some remain ambivalent, which may reflect a generational divide. “I think with lot of lyrics, there’s no real artistic inspiration behind it; it’s just a song that kids like and they say, ‘Let’s skate to it,” said Frank Carroll, 79, a venerable American coach who tutored Evan Lysaceck to a gold medal at the 2010 Olympics.

Yet the response among many in the sport seems to reflected in the words of Alexander Lakernik, 72, a vice president of the International Skating Union: “It’s less a problem than we thought.”

p05wy9vjWhen I landed at Alfonso López Pumarejo airport just south of Valledupar, the capital of the César region in northern Colombia, it was the first time in 12 years that I had been back to my father’s homeland. The intense tropical heat hit me like a tidal wave, soaking me in sweat the moment I stepped outside. Maybe it bothered me less when I was 16, but I have since grown accustomed to Germany’s crisp climate.

“Aqui señor, aqui!” A dozen taxi drivers vied for my business the moment I set foot on the pavement outside the arrivals gate. Desperate to escape the cacophony, I sought refuge in the closest taxi, and with the radio at full volume, we began the hour-long drive south to the village of Codazzi, my father’s hometown. With the windows rolled down, the thick Colombian heat filled the taxi, colliding with the energetic notes of vallenato, northern Colombia’s traditional folk music.

The voice emanating from the speakers was that of a man desperately trying to win back the heart of his lost love. His forlorn lyrics – Vuelve mi amor, Vuelve! (Come back to me darling, come back to me!) – were accompanied by the reedy notes of an accordion. “People here don’t tell stories – we sing them with the sound of accordions,” said Emilio, my taxi driver, with a smile on his face as he turned up the volume and starting to sing along.

Even without the accordion’s hum filling my ears, its influence was hard to miss. César’s streets were littered with murals and monuments depicting the pleated instrument, and its wheezing melodies seemed to ooze from every open window.

My father had always loved vallenato music, so I wasn’t shocked to discover that it was the soundtrack to life in his boyhood home. What is surprising, however, is that the driving force behind Colombia’s acclaimed folk music is not Colombian at all – it’s German.

The accordion travelled to Colombia in the mid-19th Century aboard German merchant ships that landed at La Guajira, the northernmost tip of South America. The German sailors traded their musical instruments with Colombians in exchange for food and other wares. When the Germans set sail for home, they unknowingly left behind the foundations of a lasting legacy: it didn’t take long for local troubadours to incorporate the accordion into their repertoires, and Colombian poets followed suit.

Soon, the accordion become an ensemble instrument. Musicians paired its distinct sound with those of local instruments, like the caja (a Colombian version of a bongo drum) and the guacharaca (a ribbed wooden instrument you rub with a fork to produce a vibrating sound), replacing the gaita (Colombian flute) as the primary instrument in folk music. Although French and Italian accordions also found their way to Colombia, it was Germany’s Hohner-brand diatonic accordion that best suited the average Colombian singer’s vocal pitch.

The upbeat rhythms and poetic lyrics of vallenato quickly attracted a fierce following, and today, more than 150 years after its arrival in the country, the German accordion has become an integral part of Colombian storytelling. Twentieth Century Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez declared himself a big admirer of the genre – he even dubbed his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, a ‘vallenato song of 400 pages’. Today, kids across Colombia ask for accordions for Christmas.