What Are Your Favorite Songs That Do Something Incorrectly?

Themes and Variation

Some of the best moments in music are the ones that defy expectations, breaking from conventional “rules” in pursuit of something unique or unpredictable. These are often the instances that catch our ears, leaving us wondering what just happened and how those artists got away with something you just don’t do.

That irregular something can be an abnormal chord progression, an unanticipated instrument choice, or a way of using an effect with little or no precedent. Our guest today calls this “incorrect music,” and she even curated a whole series of interviews for Flypaper about just that topic.

Of course, the quest to break free from mediocrity and assumptions can sometimes result in work that is polarizing, but many times genre-defying and boundary-pushing. So for this episode, I sat down with veteran-of-the-show, Martin Fowler and the astounding artist, Lora-Faye Åshuvud (leader of the innovative indie band, Arthur Moon) to celebrate some tracks that take risks and color outside the lines.

Listen to the 28th episode of Themes and Variation below:

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For more on Lora-Faye’s philosophies around making “incorrect music,” check out this video interview we did with the artist, composer, and songwriter here:

Episode 28 Highlights

1. Lora-Faye on “incorrect” music.

Lora-Faye: “I think I started thinking about the phrase because I kept realizing that I was like doing things that I wasn’t supposed to do. Like we would be arranging something or, writing a harmony, or like listening to vocals that I thought sounded really great and then someone would be like ‘those are really out of tune.’ or ‘you can’t’ you know, not ‘you can’t’ but you know ‘it’s weird that you would put you these, you know, notes together because like that’s wrong, or whatever.’ And then I realized that usually those are thing I loved the most about my music and about other people’s music. And I was like ‘why is it that I like that?’ And it’s because I guess whatever is incorrect about it is the thing that seems interesting and exciting and unique.”

2.  Carter on the outro from “My Jinji.”

Carter: “I thought for sure ‘okay, the cable got unplugged from the phone’ or something got disconnected. And, no that is how the track ends, it is relentless with that melody, it gets stuck and burrowed into your ears and then all of a sudden just ‘nope.’ Like, literally in the middle of the phrase to, there’s no reason for it… that was literally like, you know nine times out of ten that’s a fade out.”

3. Marty’s take on Clark’s approach to production.

Marty: “Clark is an extremely adept producer and so he knows how to utilize all of the production tools available to him. So I think it’s going to be a combination of levels of different types of distortion including probably bit-crushing. But also he’s really great at utilizing compression and extreme compression in really creative ways, I think, my intuition is that this is one of those ways. He’s basically, my theory is that in addition to ramping up the distortion thats going on (might include bit-crushing) I actually think he’s running the whole track through a limiter and he’s altering the threshold of the limiter so that there becomes less and less dynamic range over the course of the first two minutes.”

Join Our Collaborative Playlist

Every time we launch a new episode, we create a collaborative Spotify playlist in order to share every song mentioned in this episode and explore many others that fit the theme. And you can add to it! We want to hear your favorite songs that do something “incorrectly”, so go ahead and add them to the playlist yourself below!

We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a line at [email protected]!

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