Rolling Stone greatest songs not for me

Rolling Stone Magazine have put out the 100 Greatest Songs of the Century – So Far – an odd time in the century to be doing it, but whatever.

There is one song of local note, Lorde’s Royals is at number 9. I was a bit surprised at that, until I spent some time listening through the top twenty. For me Royals is one of the best, much better than most, and I’m not that big a fan of it.

Not only would i not go out of my way to listen to most of them, I would avoid listening to most. My tastes are so last century.

Even the proper band songs were largely boring, lacking an edge, lacking any hooks.

Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ (8) is my favourite song if you ignore a very mediocre video.

Worst video by far ‘Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ (14) – I wonder how slutty crap like that affects young people.

The edgiest and most impactful song was ‘Alright’ by Kendrick Lamar (13) – not a style of song I like but it was hard out meaningful. Lamar is due to play in Dunedin in a month or two, tickets sold very well but I an not enticed.

To be honest quite a few of the songs and some of the artists I had never heard of, I don’t keep up much with modern music.

Some of them were just too formula, lacking in interest and boring.

Old rocker David Bowie is on the list but it is far from his best.

Here’s the top 20:

  1. “Crazy in Love,” Beyonce feat. Jay-Z
  2. “Paper Planes,” M.I.A.
  3. “Seven Nation Army,” The White Stripes
  4. “Hey Ya!”, Outkast
  5. Problems,” Jay-Z
  6. “Maps,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  7. “Runaway,” Kanye West feat. Pusha T
  8. “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
  9. “Royals,” Lorde
  10. “Last Nite,” The Strokes
  11. “Since U Been Gone,” Kelly Clarkson
  12. “Get Ur Freak On,” Missy Elliott
  13. “Alright,” Kendrick Lamar
  14. “Toxic,” Britney Spears
  15. “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley
  16. “All My Friends,” LCD Soundsystem
  17. “Work It,” Missy Elliott
  18. “Blackstar,” David Bowie
  19. “Dancing on My Own,” Robyn
  20. “Rehab,” Amy Winehouse

Listen and watch: The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century – So Far



Roger Waters in New Zealand

Roger Waters is in New Zealand for three concerts, two in Auckland (24th and 26th) and one in Dunedin (30th).

Newshub: Roger Waters talks about the staunchness of Kiwi crowds

Roger Waters has spoken with admiration about how New Zealanders express their joy at rock concerts – by standing still and folding their arms.

The Pink Floyd legend made the comments during a live studio interview on The Project NZ ahead of his concerts in Auckland and Dunedin.

I don’t know how staunch I’ll be, I will be in the Dunedin crowd. I’m a big fan of Pink Floyd music, and am going to my first gig at the stadium (this is the first old rocker who has interested me enough here).

Waters also touched on his outspoken political beliefs while on The Project NZ, although he didn’t mention his involvement with the pro-Palestinian rights BDS Movement that was recently associated with Lorde cancelling a gig in Israel.

“I do a lot of normal stuff. I’m quite active politically, which is something that has maybe kept my feet on the ground.”

His current show is overtly critical Donald Trump, but Waters said he isn’t concerned about the fans this may cost him.

“I’m happy to say, there are only a few of them – and they leave,” he said, smiling.

I’ll report next week on the Dunedin crowd reaction.

Lorde just the latest musician mired in Israel controversy

Playing concerts in Israel are fraught with risks, as Lorde recently found out after first announcing and soon afterwards cancelling a concert. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

But just avoiding including Israel in tour plans means that opponents of Israel win, because that’s what they are trying to impose.

Washington Post – Lorde is only the latest: How touring in Israel thrusts musicians into controversy

On Dec. 18, New Zealand pop music sensation Lorde announced plans to play concerts in Israel and Russia. On Dec. 24, she announced the cancellation of her Israeli concert, which was scheduled for June 5 at the Tel Aviv Convention Centre. “I’m not too proud to admit I didn’t make the right call on this one,” she said in a statement.

In the six days between Lorde’s concert announcement and her cancellation, an increasingly pitched battle played out, both in public and behind the scenes, to win over the 21 year-old pop star. Activists and fans in favor of the ongoing cultural boycott of Israel because of the country’s policies related to Palestinians urged her to reconsider; pro-Israeli activists and fans lobbied for her to hold fast.

Lorde was caught in a no-win situation, but she is far from being the first.

In recent years, these artistic tug-of-wars over artists including Radiohead, Lauryn Hill and Nick Cave, have become increasingly common, although Lorde’s change of heart has been the highest-profile musical victory yet for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

If there’s one thing on which both sides can agree, it’s that 21 year-old artists from half a world away can’t be expected to understand the full details of a complicated issue tied to one of the defining geopolitical conflicts of our time. Musicians of any age who contemplate playing Israel sometimes lack awareness of the risks and rewards.

Managers and tour arrangers should be aware of the potential problems with booking gigs in Israel. A cynic could suggest it is deliberate publicity seeking (with or without the artist’s understanding).

Tour promoters warn acts in advance of any “delicacies they need to be aware of,” says Oren Arnon, a promoter at leading Israeli company Shuki Weiss, who did not promote the Lorde show. Artist managers warn fellow artist managers.

David Renzer, a music publishing veteran who co-founded the entertainment industry anti-boycott group the Creative Community For Peace, says his organization works within the record industry to outline the merits of playing in Israel, and warn of its complications.

The response to Lorde’s cancellation has been swift, and seismic. A hundred artists, including Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel and author Alice Walker, signed an open letter supporting her. Israel’s Culture Minister said she hoped the singer would reconsider, while its ambassador to New Zealand asked for a meeting.

Critics on Twitter pointed out the human-rights abuses in Russia, where Lorde still plans to play two shows.

In a roundly condemned full-page ad in The Washington Post, an American rabbi suggested that “21 is young to become a bigot,” its text juxtaposed with an image of Lorde appearing to stare skeptically at the Israeli flag.

Both sides have accused the other of extremist rhetoric, acting in bad faith and bullying, allegations that have become commonplace in the ongoing war for celebrity hearts and minds.

Arnon claims Cave, the Australian post-punk icon, endured “months and months of humiliation” before his November shows in Tel Aviv went on as planned.

The most prominent voice in supporting touring boycotts of Israel has become Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters. The man responsible for “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall” has spent the past decade becoming increasingly outspoken on the issue, and uses his fame within the music industry to confront artists who plan to perform in Israel.

I’m going to a Roger Waters concert in Dunedin later this month. Just for the music of course, it will be an evening break from politics.

Israel attracts a perhaps greater-than-usual share of baby boomers such as Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Elton John. Classic rock acts are often indifferent to social media pressure campaigns, and their fans tend to have enough disposable income to withstand the country’s frequently higher ticket prices.

Perhaps rockers from the sixties are used to being controversial – some of them stoked and relished it, so a bit of political banter will be just more publicity.

Promoters live with the constant threat that a musician might bolt, whether it’s an apolitical artist who just wants to avoid a public thrashing, or someone privately sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, observing what Barghouti calls a “silent boycott.”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pharrell Williams, Elvis Costello and Lauryn Hill have all canceled dates in Israel, the latter two suggesting issues of conscience were responsible.

A major problem with ‘conscience’ based boycotts is claims of inconsistency and hypocrisy, as Lorde discovered when her plans for Israel and Russia were compared.

Lorde’s cancellation is seen as a needed, high-profile win for pro-boycott activists.

Perhaps it is also a high profile win for Lorde’s tour publicity.

Lorde will almost certainly be one of the last major artists to schedule an Israel concert date without appearing to have fully considered the global implications. From now on, if it weren’t the case already, merely scheduling a concert date in Israel will be considered a political act.

“It’s a very tricky issue,” the concert promoter Arnon says. “And you never come out of it clean.”

So best to avoid including Israel in tour schedules, as the anti-Israel protesters demand? Or try the schedule then cancel trick to increase your tour publicity?

What if a protest movement starts to target artists who plan to perform in the US?

Music revenue trends

Interesting trends in music revenue for New Zealand over the last four years.

It’s not surprising to see streaming increasing so much.

The rise in 2015 was the first in 15 years.

Reported in April last year: NZ music industry sees first revenue growth in 15 years

New Zealand musicians made more money from streaming services than any other source in 2015, with total revenue growing for the first time in 15 years, according to Recorded Music New Zealand.

Wholesale revenue rose 12 percent to $74.4 million in 2015, with streaming services more than doubling to $25.7 million, making it the largest contributor. In 2013, streaming services brought in $5 million in revenue, accounting for 7 percent of all revenue. That has since soared to account for 35 percent of all revenue.

“Streaming services are still relatively new in NZ but have quickly established themselves and are now the preferred method of music consumption by Kiwis,” chief executive Damian Vaughan said. “The popularity of music streaming has aided industry growth enormously and our industry is determined to build on the momentum.”

Competition between streaming services has heated up since the launch of Apple Music in mid-2015. It had 11 million subscribers as of February this year and predicts it will have 20 million by the end of 2016. Its biggest competitor is Spotify, which has nearly 30 million paying subscribers.

Public performance and broadcast revenues for local artists increased 5 percent to $13.7 million while revenue from downloads slowed 18 percent to $15.7 million. Physical product sales dropped 10 percent to $19.3 million.

I can find as far back as 2012:

  • 2012: $72.2m
  • 2013: $66.7m
  • 2014: $66.3m
  • 2015: $74.4m
  • 2016: $86.2

Dock of the Bay half a century away

Otis Redding died in a plane crash, aged 26, fifty years ago. He shared the fate of a number of musicians who toured the US by air, didn’t quite make it to the 27 club.

(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay is one of his best known songs. It was incomplete when he died – he had recorded it in an initial session but planned a final session. The song was mixed after his death, with effects added (seagulls and wave sounds), and released posthumously.

The song is about his own experiences on a houseboat. In November 1967 he and guitarist/producer Steve Cropper recorded the first session in Memphis. Cropper explained the song’s origin in a 1990 interview:

Otis was one of those the kind of guy who had 100 ideas. […] He had been in San Francisco doing The Fillmore. And the story that I got he was renting boathouse or stayed at a boathouse or something and that’s where he got the idea of the ships coming in the bay there. And that’s about all he had: “I watch the ships come in and I watch them roll away again.”

I just took that… and I finished the lyrics. If you listen to the songs I collaborated with Otis, most of the lyrics are about him. […]

Otis didn’t really write about himself but I did. Songs like “Mr. Pitiful,” “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)”; they were about Otis and Otis’ life.

“Dock of the Bay” was exactly that: “I left my home in Georgia, headed for the Frisco Bay” was all about him going out to San Francisco to perform.

From Wikipedia:

Redding had considered the song to be unfinished and planned to record what he considered a final version, but never got the chance.

While discussing the song with his wife, Redding stated that he had wanted to “be a little different” with “The Dock of the Bay” and “change his style”.

The song features a whistled tune heard before the song’s fade. It was originally performed by Redding, who (according to Cropper) had “this little fadeout rap he was gonna do, an ad-lib. He forgot what it was so he started whistling.”

Redding died in a plane crash in Wisconsin on 10 December 1967.

The song mix was completed and released the following month. It got to the top of the US Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rhythm and Blues Singles chart.

It peaked at 3  on New Zealand’s Listener chart on 7 June 1968. Here’s a blast from the past:

I can’t remember what I preferred then (not most of those songs), but Dock of the Bay would be my easy favourite out of that list now.

A great ‘capture the mood’ song.

Dock of the Bay, half a century away, but timeless.

Change is not always what people want

This ius a very nice song, but the video also runs through a lot of US and world issues over the last half century.

Some change is for the better, some isn’t.

The United States in particular still has serious racial issues, plus horrific rates of violence and imprisonment. Change there is slow, and could be in the wrong direction under Trump’s leadership (or lack of leadership).

US society has run a fine line between civility and revolt, and that looks to be unchanged still.

The change that occurs is not always of a type that people want.

Eight Mile Style v National Party

A summary of the copyright case Eight Mile Style v National Party was released today.

The Court found Eight Mile Style is entitled to damages on a “user principle” basis in the
sum of NZ$600,000, with interest, from 28 June 2014.

The National party have indicted they will make a claim against the supplier of the music they used.

What the case is about

The key issue for determination by the Court was whether a “sound-alike” production track, called Eminem Esque, used by the National Party in its 2014 election campaign advertising, is sufficiently similar to the 2002 music of Eminem’s hit song, Lose Yourself, so as to constitute a breach of copyright.

Lose Yourself was composed by Marshall Mathers III (Eminem), Jeffrey Bass and Luis Resto (all called Eight Mile Style) in 2002. The composition is regarded by Eight Mile Style as the most valuable work in their catalogue and has only rarely been licensed for use, and never as part of a political campaign.

Eight Mile Style, who own the copyright in Lose Yourself, sought damages against the
National Party after Eminem Esque featured in Party advertisements played on television, the internet and at a Party conference in the lead up to the 2014 election. Between 20 to 30 August 2014, the advertisements, with Eminem Esque synchronised to them, were played 186 times on New Zealand television. Eminem Esque was also played eight times during a 15 minute opening broadcast on TV1, occurring on 23 August 2014.

This proceeding is being heard in two parts. The first, a hearing to determine the liability of the National Party and the quantum of damages, if any, was held in the High Court at
Wellington over eight days between 1 May and 12 May 2017. The second part concerns a
separate hearing to determine third party liability, if any.

This decision deals with the first hearing only, namely, the issues of liability and quantum against the National Party as the alleged publishers of the infringing work. The third-party liability hearing awaits the outcome of this trial.

The Court’s key rulings

Is Lose Yourself an original work capable of protection under the Act and were the
elements of Lose Yourself referenced in Eminem Esque also original?

The Court found that copyright does subsist in the musical work Lose Yourself as it meets the definition and low threshold of being an original work under the Act.

Although Lose Yourself met the low threshold of an original work under the Act, the Court was also required to determine how original the work is and whether there are features in the work that are not original. To establish infringement, there must be substantial copying of the original parts of the work. Any copying of a part of the work, which by itself has no originality, will not normally be protected.

Cull J found Lose Yourself also met the higher threshold of an original work in the case law. Her Honour concluded:

[154] The distinctive sound of Lose Yourself is not limited by a “melodic” line, but is a
combination of the other instruments, particularly the guitar riff, the timbre, the strong hypnotic rhythm and the recurring violin instrumentation and the piano figure. It is no coincidence that Lose Yourself received the 2003 Academy Award for Best Original Song. I find that Lose Yourself is a highly original work.

Was there copying of Lose Yourself?

The Court found Eminem Esque was a copy of Lose Yourself for three reasons.

First, Cull J determined Eminem Esque has substantially copied Lose Yourself. The
differences between the two works are minimal; the close similarities and the indiscernible differences in drum beat, the “melodic line” and the piano figures, make Eminem Esque strikingly similar to Lose Yourself. Eminem Esque substantially reproduces the essence of Lose Yourself. The parts of Eminem Esque used in the National Party’s campaign advertisements also substantially reproduce Lose Yourself.

Second, Eminem Esque is objectively similar to Lose Yourself as there are minimal
discernible differences. The inquiry into objective similarity is a test of hearing and ear recognition; Eminem Esque sounds like a copy and is a copy of Lose Yourself. Eminem Esque was designed to “sound like” Eminem and Lose Yourself as production music and a sound-alike track.

Finally, there is a causal connection between Lose Yourself and Eminem Esque. It was no
coincidence that the works sounded the same and the undeniable inference to be drawn from the evidence is that the composer of Eminem Esque had Lose Yourself in front of him at the time of composition. The similarities between the works overwhelmingly support a finding of copying. The original title Eminem_abbr; the title of Eminem Esque; and the fact that Eminem Esque is a sound-alike track, reinforces the finding that there is a causal connection between the two works, supporting a finding of copying.

Did the copying constitute a breach of the Act?

The Court found the National Party committed three restricted acts amounting to copyright infringement.

The National Party communicated a copy of Lose Yourself to the public without licence;
authorised the copying of Lose Yourself; and authorised the use and/or deployment of the relevant advertisements and opening broadcast.

Was Eight Mile Style entitled to damages?

The Court found Eight Mile Style is entitled to damages on a “user principle” basis in the
sum of NZ$600,000, with interest, from 28 June 2014.

This sum was determined under the user principle, being the hypothetical licence fee that would reasonably have been charged for permission to use a copy of Lose Yourself in the National Party’s campaign advertising.

The relevant factors considered in assessing this hypothetical licence fee included that Eight Mile Style have retained exclusive control of licensing and rarely grant permission to use Lose Yourself in advertising; the purpose for use in the present case was political use in an unassociated country, which is not what Eminem or Eight Mile Style would endorse; the use was confined over 11 days, with 186 television viewings, as well as being uploaded to the internet; and the National Party wanted the sound of Lose Yourself or an equivalent.

Although copyright infringement did occur, the National Party’s actions were taken after
receiving professional, commercial and media advice and were not reckless or contumelious of the rights of the copyright owner. No additional damages are awarded.

Media Release

This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document.

Full Judgment

This judgment of the High Court includes links to audio and video files that were adduced in evidence by the parties during the hearings. They are made available to assist in understanding the judgment. The re-use, capture, storage, re-editing or redistribution of this footage in any form is not permitted.



Ranking Pink Floyd songs

A detailed description and rating of all Pink Floyd songs:

All 165 Pink Floyd Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

Pink Floyd may be the only rock band that can credibly be compared to both the Beatles and Spinal Tap.

The upshot: Pink Floyd has sold more albums worldwide than the Beatles. Floyd recorded over a longer period, of course, but both groups have released about the same number of albums, and had about the same span of decades to sell their work to new generations — and in new configurations.

And yet … the band’s famous works were recorded over an extremely short period, in a recording career that has now stretched nearly to five decades. Much of the rest of it was filled by wildly veering musical approaches, big misfires, aesthetic excesses, pratfalls, and wide-ranging acts of buffoonery you wouldn’t find surprising in a This Is Spinal Tap outtake reel.

Anyway, this month marks the 50th anniversary of the band’s first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Few Pink Floyd fans can read those words, taken from a chapter heading of The Wind in the Willows by the band’s fey original leader, Syd Barrett, without a twinge of sadness. If you’re not familiar with Barrett’s tragic tale, read on.

The list that follows ranks all of the band’s officially released studio work, from the worst song to the best.

Interesting opinion and facts with some good links.

From their first album 50 years ago:

Favourite Pink Floyd song?

Tutira Mai

There have been attempts to get All Black supporters singing more at games with Tutira Mae.

It’s not the most rousing of songs but it swings along ok. The lyrics are simple but good, and it’s uniquely us.

Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi – Stand Together People

Our performance as Kiwi sports fans off the pitch needs to improve. Imagine if the performance of the world’s best rugby team’s fans could match the performance of the world’s best rugby team? Imagine if we put aside our cultural cringe, and adopted a common chant that all kiwis would be proud to belt out when our boys and girls on the field (any field, of any sport) need it.

We propose to you that we adopt lyrics from the incredible song ‘Tūtira mai ngā iwi’ as our national chant, and that forthwith we all commit to learning it, practicing it, and then proudly yelling it at the top of our lungs at every opportunity in every sporting match ever. If you don’t know the song, or have forgotten, consider the words:

Tūtira mai ngā iwi – (Stand Together People)
Aue (Yeah Baby!)
Tātou tātou e (All of us, all of us)

Here’s is how we see it playing out… it’s 78th minute of the test. The ABs are grinding it out, defending their line against a relentless onslaught of yellow jerseys as the opposition forward lurch towards the line in yet another wave. Our boys are tired, the crowd is silent, the team needs our support… and then, from the crowd, a clear voice yells out – initially alone, but quickly joined by hundreds around them ‘Tūtira mai ngā iwi!’ and the whole crowd – the ENTIRE of Eden Park – joins in the refrain ‘Aue!’. Then again ‘Tūtira mai ngā iwi’, and ‘Aue!’. Then a third time ‘Tūtira mai ngā iwi’ and ‘Aue!’ and finally, 60,000 people on their feet all yell the final refrain ‘Tātou tātou e’! Cue the rejuvenated ABs to win the turnover ball, run the length of the pitch for a runaway game winning try, and then crowned the champions again – all buoyed along by the support of their home crowd and their new chant.

The Song

Tūtira mai ngā iwi, (aue!)
tātou tātou e
Tūtira mai ngā iwi, (aue!)
tātou tātou e
Whaia te marama-tanga,
me te aroha – e ngā iwi!
Kia tapatahi,
Kia ko-tahi rā
Tātou tātou e

Tā-tou tā-tou
(tahi, rua, toru, wha)
Hi aue hei !!!

Stand together people
All of us, all of us
Stand in rows people
All of us, all of us
Seek after knowledge
and love of others – everyone
Think as one
Act as one
All of us, all of us

All of us, All of us!!
(one, two, three, four)
Hi aue hei !!!


NZ Music Month

May 1st marks the beginning of NZ Music Month 2017.  

The theme for this year is finding something new – a new band, new tracks or a new album by a New Zealand artist.

I haven’t got time to find anything new at the moment, so here’s an oldie.