Uptown Funk: So Much Old, So Much Gold

I might be slightly behind the times, but today I was first alerted to Bruno Mars’ new hit, “Uptown Funk.” It’s a great, revitalized funky hit, that is hard not to dance to. As hip a hit, I can’t help but hear all its similarities to its predecessors. The second I heard it, it immediately occurred to me that I had heard this song before- in all the references and samples and similar pieces that this tune uses from many songs in the past.

Even the Wikipedia article for, “Uptown Funk” takes note of the many influences.

The song has been “catching the allusions to one early ’80s funk/R&B classic after another”. Many fans have been citing the ‘Call Me’ Guitar riff [by New York Skyy], Cameo horns, the Time [keyboards], and ‘Party Train’ [by the Gap Band] drums.”

The first thing that grabbed me was the funky guitar blips for a riff. This kind of use of the electric guitar was found so much in much of the 1970s funk music. And it works great to up the excitement of a less funky rhythm guitar part.

I was then immediately pulled in by the notable horn part. I am still unsure where I have previously heard that horn riff, but it might be most similar to Average White Band’s, “Pick Up The Pieces.”

Also, a notable reference is the guitar part, bass line, and rhythm from potentially, Kool & The Gang’s, “Hollywood Swingers,” which is a pure gold Funky tune:

There are some definite other inspirations this song showcases from 70’s Funk, including the horns and percussion from Earth Wind And Fire’s, “Getaway” and the rhythm from Sugarhill Gang’s, “Apache (Jump On It)”.


[On a separate and related note, I find it interesting that both this song and Vance Joy’s, “Riptide” both have lyrics that mention Michelle Pfeiffer in the lyrics. (2:12 mark)]

So while Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have put together a fabulously funky new tune, it’s important to remember that all this funk has stemmed from its original source, which is when this true genre was made.

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Perfecting Your Halloween Playlist Part 6

Tomorrow is the best day of the year: Halloween. In preparation this year, I have been compiling some of your not-so-typical festive songs in honor of my blog’s annual countdown to Halloween. Tonight’s song is pretty awesome.

This song is three-fold amazing: 1) It is featured in the movie, “Dark Shadows.” 2) Dwight Frye is an actor who is known for playing many maniacal characters, including the character of Renfield from the original and classic “Dracula” movie. 3) It features a manic rant of, “I GOTTA GET OUTTA HERE.” 

Dwight Frye

Alice Cooper’s song, “The Ballad of Dwight Fry” is pure gold for Halloween…

1 more day!

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Perfecting Your Halloween Playlist Part 5

My brother has a radio show at his college and tonight he played a fantastic song that is so fitting for this Halloween playlist-themed countdown. This song might just be my new favorite tune: it’s equal parts funk and Halloween-appropriateness; two of my favorite things.

This song is about a man who is dead. A man named Freddie. The great Curtis Mayfield has a song, “Freddie’s Dead” which is also the theme from the movie, “Superfly”.) You should totally add this funky tune to any Halloween party playlist wherein you intend to get down…

2 more days!!

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Perfecting Your Halloween Playlist Part 4

Tonight I have the most perfect addition to any Halloween playlist. Want to surprise your guests with something they have potentially never heard before? This song is equal parts eerie and mysterious.

This is an old tune I found years ago while watching Flash videos around the internet. While it sounds like the song is from much earlier in history (the 1920’s? 30’s?) it’s actually from the 1950’s. The minor key and the haunting melody makes this tune a good choice for a Halloween good time. Tonight we have, “Little Red Monkey”…

3 more days!!!

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Perfecting The Halloween Playlist Part 3

Tonight we are continuing with our attention on the most unique music to play for Halloween.

This song is one from Franz Ferdinand called, “Shopping For Blood.” I can only imagine two types of people who would be in the market for blood: doctors/nurses… and murderers/vampires. For the sake of this post, I’m assuming this song is about the latter. The lyrics even mention not being able to taste things, which to me is a characteristic of a vampire, so that’s what I’m going with.

Listen for yourself:

4 more days!

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Perfecting Your Halloween Playlist Part 2

Yesterday I started to breach the subject of creating the most unique playlist for Halloween. The great thing about this holiday is that there are just so many songs that are Halloween-relevant.

Today I highlight a song about… Cannibalism. Until this song, I don’t know if I had ever heard a song about this subject, and frankly, it is so refreshing to hear a different subject being sung. One could argue that in The Neon Trees’ song, “Animal” is actually about heartbreak, but that the band chose the cannibalism metaphor is just so clever and innovative.

7 more days!

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Perfecting Your Halloween Playlist Part 1

Halloween is not complete without the appropriate music, and when most people think of the tunes for this holiday, only a few standards come to mind. Many people immediately list songs such as, “Thriller,” “The Monster Mash,” and “Purple People Eater.” But there are actually so many more fitting songs to include.

Today I am focusing on the song, “The Boogie Monster” by Gnarls Barkley. This song covers all the typical horrors: a monster under the bed and in the closet, wind at the window, Dracula, the un-dead, and a general overall creepiness. This song is fantasic and should be included more often in your Halloween playlists.

Check out this fan-made video complete with old black and white horror film clips:

8 more days!

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