Tagged With music

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Certain moods need soundtracks. When you’re sad, or excited, or making out, a certain kind of music can elevate the experience and lend a grandiose, cinematic quality to your life.

If you have particular music tastes, playing one of Spotify’s prefab playlists doesn’t scratch that itch. You want a custom playlist, first crafted in a few minutes, then honed over years. Here are the five playlists you should prepare for yourself.

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Usually when I load up a “biggest hits” playlist, I end up skipping half the tracks. I’m barely skipping anything on NPR’s new playlist, “The 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+”. Every song is good! Even the country songs! And the lead performers are all women or non-binary.

Highlights include “F**k the Pain Away” by Peaches, “Two Weeks” by FKA Twigs, “Drone Bomb Me” by Anohni, “Soy Yo” by Bomba Estéreo, “Help I’m Alive” by Metric, and “Good as Hell” by Lizzo. There are also megahits such as “Run Away With Me” and “Single Ladies”. This is real singalong stuff.

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There are so many Windows apps out there, that picking a list of the very best, most must-install software for your desktop or laptop feels daunting. We've pored over pages of recommendations, countless forum posts, and lots of comments to come up with this year's Lifehacker Pack for Windows, a list of software champions across four categories: productivity, internet/communications, music/photos/video and utilities.

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Video: Mozart wrote a party song called “Kiss My Arse”. The filthy lyrics (“kiss my arse, quickly, quickly”) weren’t discovered until 1991. This is the stuff you’d learn if The A.V. Club was doing interviews in the 1700s. And it’s another great way to appreciate classical music. Just like pop music, the music is more fun if you learn the story behind it. In this video we tell you how.

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There's something so exquisite about a slowed-down, moody cover of an upbeat song you know by heart (see: Antony and the Johnsons covering Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love"). But it can be particularly transporting when a band gives the MTV Unplugged treatment to one of their own songs, as in a-ha's acoustic version of their 1980s synth-pop classic "Take on Me".

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"Uptown got its hustlers, the Bowery got its bums. Forty-second Street got big Jim Walker, he a pool-shootin' son of a gun". Jim Croce sang those words in 1972, six years before I was born. They've been burned into my memory for so long that I can't remember when I first heard them.

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iOS: One of the best parts of any science-fiction game or movie are those ominous tones that suggest a conversation or discovery is about to head south — a quintessential part of the soundtrack that adds a lot of atmosphere (and tension) to an experience. And now, thanks to an open-source iOS app, you can make your own imposing synthesiser sounds and teach yourself the basics of music production.

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Video: If you’ve ever tried to get into classical music, but gotten too bored or distracted, it isn’t your fault. Classical music works differently than popular music, and it’s much easier to appreciate when you understand its structure.

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In 1993, the world's biggest pop star (Michael Jackson) agreed to produce music for the world's biggest video game franchise (Sonic The Hedgehog - come at me, Mario fans!) It was a magical melding of two cultural icons; akin to Fred Astaire meeting Jerry the mouse.

Or at least, it would have been, if Sega hadn't permanently scrubbed Michael's involvement from the record books. Today I discovered what happened.

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Every Wednesday, there's a YouTube series that adds a new music video of a screaming frog saying "It is Wednesday, my dudes." Wouldn't one of these Wednesday songs make a better alarm for your Wednesday mornings than "Radar (Default)"? You can make this happen, my dudes.

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Android/iOS: WhoSampled, the service that identifies music samples, recently updated their iOS/Android app to include Shazam-style music recognition. Now when you hear a song playing in a bar or a store, you can look up not just the song, but what other music it samples or is sampled in.

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Hrishikesh Hirway pulls songs apart to learn how they work.

On his podcast Song Exploder, Hirway has interviewed artists such as Solange, Iggy Pop, Norah Jones, Björk and Arcade Fire about their writing, recording and mixing processes. Hirway makes his own music as half of the band Moors with Atlanta’s Lakieth Stanfield, and as a composer for TV and film. He also co-hosts The West Wing Weekly podcast with West Wing actor Joshua Malina.

We talked to him about how this multi-threaded artistic life weaves together. We also got a play-by-play of how Hirway makes each episode of Song Exploder.

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Every time I have a party, I spend an hour building a playlist, imagining my guests all gasping and dancing and reaching for Shazam. Instead they ignore the music until someone takes over the Bluetooth speaker. So I asked for help from university student Tj Jones, who had a viral tweet this February when he shared the 11 playlists he used to categorise all his Uber and Lyft passengers, such as "quiet ppl" and "white dudes who look like they like rap".

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Mac: GarageBand, Apple's free virtual music studio, recently updated its Mac version to include free lessons from your favourite singers, songwriters and rocking-outers. With these Artist Lessons, as Apple calls them, you'll be able to learn a new instrument from some of the best around — including piano legend Ben Folds, actual legend John Legend and other popular bands (like Death Cab for Cutie).

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Eight years ago, musician Nick Pittsinger made Justin Bieber's "U Smile" sound like ambient pop band Sigur Rós by slowing it down 800%. Bieber haters celebrated this beautiful edit, and ever since then people have been slowing down songs by 800%, 1000%, or more, and uploading them to YouTube and SoundCloud.

The genre's smooth sounds and lack of discernible lyrics makes it great background music for creative work, so we've collected some of the best in a YouTube playlist, "All Music Sounds Good at 1/10 the Speed."

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Spotify's top playlists feature way more men than women. Not just in the algorithmic playlists, which reproduce inequalities in the music industry at large, but also in the curated ones, according to a thorough, stat-filled feature article on The Baffler. For example, Spotify's top curated playlist of 2017 was RapCaviar, a rotating 50-track playlist with nine million followers. Over the entire month that The Baffler tracked, it included one woman-led song. One.