Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The New Basement Tapes "Nothing To It"

Maybe you want to listen with your eyes closed first?  Especially if you don't know anything about this project . . .

Hear the song on Youtube.

Okay, so if you didn't know the story behind this project, and you just heard it on the radio while driving down the street, would you say that it was a great, radio friendly song?

I don't know that I would.  I mean, it's fine.  Somewhat hummable.  A little ragged.  But is it a standout?

Now imagine that you know all about the back-story. 

These are lyrics written by Bob Dylan in the late 60s.  Never recorded.  Dylan recently gave them to T Bone Burnett, who then assembled Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith (of Dawes), Rihannon Giddens (of Carolina Chocolate Drops) and Jim James (who sings here) to record an album's worth of these songs.

Do you hear the song differently, with that knowledge?

That's what makes a track like this so hard for radio.

If you have the context, then it is a fascinating song.  But on it's own, it's not a great sounding single.

And most people who hear it, are not going to know the story behind it.  There more likely to say, "What the hell?" and move on to the next station.

Or am I wrong?  Does the song captivate you, even without knowing the story behind it?


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