Going For A Song : ‘Harlem River’

Kevin Morby – Harlem River

My ways of finding out about music have significantly changed over the years. Throughout my teens into my mid-twenties it was predominantly done through the UK music press (Melody Maker, NME, Kerrang, Select); late twenties it refined (narrowed?) into such publications as Uncut, Plan B, Careless Talk Cost Lives; today, for better or for worse, it is through radio (well, 6music mainly, with the odd foray) and Spotify. (One constant, however, has been recommendations by friends). My thoughts on Spotify are far too untidy to work through in this short post, but I would like to mention Spotify’s Discover Weekly. This is the service by which an algorithm, and for all I know a system of winches and pulleys, presents you with a playlist each week. It’s how I first heard ‘Harlem River’ by Kevin Morby.

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Going For A Song: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Cat Power – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

I’ve not been thinking about this song particularly this week. And I’d be lying if I said I was a big Cat Power fan. I have considered it (with the intention of writing something on cover songs) alongside Devo’s cover of the same tune. I was (and still am) interested in how both bands remove the swagger from the original: Devo with the rhythm section pushing the image of the narrator towards one of a Midwestern high-schooler, loping along, listening to the original; Cat Power by removing the chorus (I’m simplifying here what Chan Marshall does to it for the sake of brevity) and finding an untapped weariness in the verse lyrics. Importantly though, for covers, both versions return you to a reassessment of the original. But the reason I’m choosing it this week is because it was when discussing these songs with Douglas Cowie I thought to start this blog; “appropriating” what Doug has been doing for a while now on his website. I’ve asked him, he’s ok with it, so the least I can do is point whoever reads this in the direction of his Song of the Week. I’ve discovered some very good music following it, so I recommend giving it some of your time.