I enjoy the New Yorker‘s pieces about music, but I gotta say that it’s hard to read about songs without hearing them. I expected the iPad edition to include more clips, but its offerings are pretty sparse. In this issue, it has just one song clip and one behind-the-scenes supplementary clip.
We can do better, right? Absolutely!
So here are two playlists that provide the soundtracks to two of the articles in this issue.
The first playlist is from “The Song Machine,” in which John Seabrook takes us behind the scenes in the creation of hit music by following producers Stargate and top line writer Esta Dean. You’ll have to listen to this playlist in another window. (It turns out that most of the songs aren’t available on the services that let me embed the playlist right here.)
The first two songs were created from the same instrumental tracks, unbeknownst to the recording artists. Seabrook reports “But nobody cared, or perhaps even noticed; [the second song] became just as big a hit.” I certainly hadn’t realized until I heard them back-to-back on this playlist.
Second, from “Pretty Simple,” in which Sascha Frere-Jones looks at the pop scene around the time of the Shins’ debut album, how their music was different and how the pop scene developed after. (Unfortunately, songs from the Shins’ newest album, which prompted the piece, are not available on this music service.)
That probably sheds light on why more clips aren’t part of the iPad edition — I’m sure the rights are a pain to get and manage.