Illegal Inspiration? Sampling in Music

Image result for sampling music laws

Source: http://vlaa.org/sampling-music-even-one-second-is-too-much/

On my long drive home over this past weekend, I wound up listening to a lot of NPR. The drive was over twelve hours long, and while I have a lot of music on my Spotify account, I’m not sure I have quite enough to last me for a twenty-four hour round trip. As I browsed through the different featured podcasts, I stumbled upon a program inspired by a TED talk on originality. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot.

Albums That Don’t Suck As Much As I Once Thought


While on a music-deletion rampage sometime last week, I realized that a lot of the albums I downloaded legally purchased ages ago only had roughly 2 or 3 songs on them that I recognized/ever listened to.  I gave some of these albums that I originally didn’t like more of a chance to woo me, and on most accounts I was pleasantly surprised.  

The Mainstream Alternative


We all have that friend who talks incessantly about how they relate to Twenty One Pilots on a spiritual level, then ask you if you’ve heard “that new one from Suicide Squad.” They appear to listen to “Chocolate” by The 1975 on a loop on Spotify, with a brief intermission of Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” They drone on about how they are literally obsessed with Imagine Dragons and can’t wait for fall just so they can play “Sweater Weather” on their new record player as they down their third Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL if you’re edgy).

“The Wilderness” is Explosions in the Sky’s Newest Musical Journey

The Wilderness.Explosions in the Sky

Post-rock quartet Explosions in the Sky released their seventh studio album, “The Wilderness” early this April. As a fan and avid listener of their early material, I was skeptical that the group could deliver as engaging and original music as “Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever” or ”The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place.” Their soundtrack material in the interim, such as “Friday Night Lights,” and also tracks off of “All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone,” begin to sound cookie-cutter in their almost melodrama, due only by the group’s early masterful sound.

A Brief History of the Exit/In

There’s something about the music venue at 2208 Elliston Place. I’m not sure what it is, but when you walk through the door into that dimly lit music den to see a show, the world ceases to exist and you become a part of something greater. With its lax security policies and blackwashed interior, it’s a rather unassuming joint; however, when your gaze falls upon the list of names on the dark wall behind the bar, it dawns on you that you’re on sacred turf.

A Musical Comeback: Vinyls Earn More Than Free Streaming

Row of old records

It would appear that vinyls are not nearly as old fashioned as my grandfather would have me believe. Earlier this week, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) released the statistics from the past year and the sale of vinyls for 2015 was the highest it has been since 1988. The sales brought in a total of $416 million, a small fraction of the $7 billion the entire industry brings in. However, what’s notable is that vinyls, the old men of the music world, surpassed free streaming, which only made $385.1 million last year.

The Life of Kanye West’s Career

 (Written by Corey McCloud and Linzy Scott)

Nobody will ever imitate Kanye West. Not even Kanye himself. With the release of his most recent effort, Life of Pablo, the eclectic rapper-producer megastar proved once again that he isn’t afraid to change his style and push rap forward with every release. So against the cries of his fans demanding old Kanye, against people saying he was getting too artsy, or too egoistic with Yeezus, and against everybody who thought he might actually be losing his mind, Kanye dropped the a-bomb with Pablo. The album’s sonic range alone is impressive and the first six tracks are among the best stretches of tracks in hip-hop history. I hate to sound like a fanboy, but at this point we are 2 weeks removed from the release of the album. It’s been a week and a half since I first bit the bullet and got a Tidal trial account to try it out, and yet I somehow find myself going back to this album multiple times a day.

Paying for Music, and the Value of Rap


When you find something you like, usually you want more of it, and this basic relationship finds a lot of relevance in music. It’s become an even greater part of many music lovers’ lives with the onset of the eras of downloading and streaming. Whereas before, our parents and grandparents had to really make that journey down to a physical place selling physical copies of the new Luther Vandross and part with their pocket change, the only thing that’s stopping us now from having Sonic Youth’s entire discography is an internet connection.

House Music Will Never Die

As my mother once told me, “Disco never died in Europe.” Although it is glaringly obvious that our transatlantic cousin continent has embraced electronic music more than we ever have, I was still taken aback by her statement. When I initially decided to study abroad, the last thing I expected to find was a time capsule of a 1970s discothèque in the heart of Prague. But there I was, wading through a crowd on that iconic glowing Tetris floor while loops of reverberating vocals flooded the club. Disco had, in fact, not died at this one hole-in-the-wall locale. It seemed surreal, but moms are typically always right — my case was no exception.

The Problem of Dropping Names

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 2.11.09 AMThe cover art of T. L. O. P., the album that has stirred up so much controversy in its short life. Source

Kanye West’s new album has been in the news many times in the past couple of weeks. First, there was the issue of what it would be called. He changed album titles a few times before settling on T. L. O. P., which stands for The Life of Pablo. Then, there was the question of when it would be released.

Today, the album is in the media for a very different reason. After premiering at Madison Square Garden on February 11 during the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show, the album has been a hot topic due to a reference to another celebrity. In his song “Famous,” West had a couple of questionable lines that featured Taylor Swift. The lyrics say, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/ Why? I made that b***h famous.”

Alex Turner and Miles Kane back with The Last Shadow Puppets revival

Miles Kane (L) and Alex Turner (R) in cringeworthy tracksuits. Source
Miles Kane (L) and Alex Turner (R) in cringeworthy tracksuits. Source

I think it is safe to say that we all had that one band at one point in our lives that really got us into music. The one band that made us go, “Wow, so that’s how listening to music is supposed to feel.” For me, it was Arctic Monkeys. When I was in high school, I used to go to my local library to rent CDs and burn them onto my computer (sorry, iTunes). One of the first albums I obtained was Arctic Monkeys’ first full length debut, “Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not” (among other gems, including “Is This It?” by The Strokes and “The Queen is Dead” by The Smiths). That album, and the subsequent ones that I devoured later, became the soundtrack to my high school experience; my go-to answer to the feared “what’s your favorite band?” question.

How Much Should We Rely On Discover Weekly?


When a friend told me about Discover Weekly on Spotify, I thought it was one of the better ideas of online music services. A playlist tailored to your music preferences, including songs from artists you probably don’t know? Every week? All the work of finding new music now done by a computer for you. How unbelievably convenient!

Swans Are (Almost) Dead

Thirty-four years ago, Swans hit the underground in New York with their self-titled EP. Now (thirteen studio albums, ten live albums, a heap of EPs and compilations, dozens of members, and a thirteen year hiatus later) the band is finishing up work in the studio on what is, according to the band, going to be the final work from this incarnation of Swans. After this album and its subsequent tour, Michael Gira and the rest of this current six-piece form of the band are ending a historic reunion run the likes of which just don’t happen.

The Death of a Bachelor and the Start of Something Great

The cover art of Death of a Bachelor. (Image courtesy of panicatthedisco.com)

Possibly one of the most notable things about Death of a Bachelor is that it is the first time Panic! at the Disco wrote an album with only one member. After the departure of drummer Spencer Smith in April 2015, Brendon Urie was left to carry on and write what actually may be the band’s best album yet. Already, it has done much better than the previous four. In its debut week, it sold more than 190,000 album units and scored a spot as number one on the US Billboard 200, the first album by the band to accomplish such a feat.

Rostam Batmanglij’s New Song and Vampire Weekend’s New Direction

Vampire Weekend in its true form as we always knew it. RIP. (Image courtesy of Rolling Stone)
Vampire Weekend in its true form as we always knew it. RIP. (Image courtesy of Rolling Stone)

When I was in high school, a close friend of mine introduced me to the hilarious and often ridiculous wonder that is Ezra Koenig’s twitter. I initially dismissed his posted jokes as self-indulgent banter with a worshipping fan base. But, admittedly, I was intrigued, and started listening to Vampire Weekend. I got almost immediately hooked, and rapidly transformed into a person who listened to their self-titled album and Contra every day after school.

Young Thug Remembrance Post #1


As always when we find ourselves awaiting a new soon-to-be-released Young Thug album/mixtape/symphony, we are living in a historic time. Slime Season 3 (SS3) is coming (Feb. 5th) and all we have to do is make it until then, which is easier said than done.

One Direction Goes From 5 to 4 Members, 4 to 5 Albums

Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan Courtesy of KEVIN MAZUR/BMA2015/WIREIMAGE and People.com
Courtesy of KEVIN MAZUR/BMA2015/WIREIMAGE and People.com

March 25, 2015 was a tumultuous time in music history—it was the day Zayn Malik left One Direction.

Whether you’ve been a One Directioner since the inception of the band, a casual listener, indifferent towards the group, or a staunch opponent of all things good in life, you probably remember the uproar on the Internet in reaction to the news that Zayn was headed in a different direction. Fans lamented the loss of one of the more favored members, and worried about the future of One Direction. How could the group of boys who had been through the X-Factor, four albums, and world tours suddenly be splitting apart? How could the band possibly go on without arguably one of their strongest singers?