Archive for November, 2011

Cardinal sin: Time management

Posted by Anne on November 24th, 2011

I completely underestimated how long it would take to edit and upload videos of my international students’ presentations and to watch them often enough to give appropriate and useful feedback. I’m guilty of atrocious time management. Promising written feedback you just can’t provide in the time they expect is a cardinal sin. When asking students […]

My third and final double take is a blatant rip-off by the Beach Boys of Chuck Berry’s 1958 hit, which was in fact the first Top 10 hit by a black performer. Not acknowledging copyright was both an artistic and a political issue: “The Beach Boys stole Berry’s entire tune. Surfin’ USA went on to […]

Led Zepplin: Going to California / Pearl Jam: Given to Fly

Posted by Anne on November 21st, 2011

Sometimes you hear a song and do a double take and say “wait, I know that riff”. Led Zepplin wrote “Going to California” in 1971 about Joni Mitchell; Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder said “Given to Fly” of 1998, which sounds pretty similar, was about “rising above anybody’s comments about what you do and still giving […]

Bon Iver: Woods / Kayne West: Lost in the World

Posted by Anne on November 21st, 2011

Oh, to howl with the wolves! Here is Bon Iver’s magical 4-line song “Woods” to howl together in harmony, friends, as November deepens. I’m up in the woods I’m down on my mind I’m building a still to slow down the time It was sampled on “Lost in the World”, a collaboration with Kayne West […]

Ryan Adams: Ashes & Fire

Posted by Anne on November 13th, 2011

At the end of this “song week” on my blog, I’m considering our strong opinions about music. We’re a discriminating lot, we like this and dislike that. I wonder: Are there any objective quality criteria we could agree on for pop music? With classical music it seems easier. Who would dare say that Beethoven wrote […]

Bill Withers: Lean On Me

Posted by Anne on November 12th, 2011

Universally popular songlines: We say a phrase, eyes flicker recognition and – boom! – we’re sharing the whole soundtrack. Like “Don’t worry, be happy,” by Bobby McFerrin, from 1988. Or “Lean on me,” by Bill Withers, from 1972. asked Withers about his signature song, and this is what he said: “A lot of time […]

BOY: Small numbers

Posted by Anne on November 11th, 2011

I have a bit of a soft spot for non-native speakers who use English to express themselves in their lyrics. Even when they are not particularly sophisticated, it’s the word choice and imagery referencing different languages that engages me. BOY, a young duo comprized of Valeska Steiner from Zurich and Sonja Glass from Hamburg, have […]