Mike Errico: Story Songs Playlist

Mike Errico: Story Songs Playlist

I’ve been working on new material, and for me, that means taking a look at where I’ve been. I’m finishing the writing phase, and drawing lines through my songs, dating back to the beginning of my career. I thought I’d share what I’ve been noticing, in playlist form. I’ve been drawn to what some people call “story songs.” I found my writing voice listening to punk-folk, rock, country and early hip-hop artists, and particularly loved when the songs told, well, a “story,” as opposed to capturing a mood, or rallying around a single phrase, and so on. Some that immediately come to mind: – Space Oddity, David Bowie – oh, man. When communication cuts off from Ground Control? I’ll never forget when I first heard that. I actually wrote about it here. And here. – Cover Me Up, Jason Isbell – This guy gives me faith. I put him with Sturgill Simpson and Father John Misty, who sang about “subprime loans” and made me feel that there were no limits. – Main Street, Hollywood Nights, Night Moves, Bob Seger – I’m there every time he awakes to the sound of thunder…”How far off, I sat and wondered…” Me, too, Bob! Me, too! – The Distance, by Cake – I love the insane determination of that driver! “Someone for whom…he…still…BURNS.” Me, too, Cake! Me, too! – I Left My Wallet in El Segundo – Tribe Called Quest. In a similar vein as Cake, and maybe a goof, but it isn’t to me. It’s a cockeyed story in which the journey itself far outstrips the destination. Which is kind of the...
My Guest: Daniel Glass, Glassnote Records

My Guest: Daniel Glass, Glassnote Records

Daniel Glass, founder of Glassnote Records, joined me at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music to speak to my students about the (bright!) future of the music industry. Photo by Glassnote recording artist/former student Tor Miller (pictured behind us. Look for a big announcement from him in the coming...
Mike Errico: “The People You Never Really Trusted” Live

Mike Errico: “The People You Never Really Trusted” Live

Holiday Show 2015, Joe’s Pub NYC Mike Errico-Guitar, vocal; Matt Beck- steel; Dave Scalia- Drums; Tomek Miernowski-Bass The People You Never Really Trusted © Mike Errico Sky Blue Coupe De Ville Music, ASCAP Did you know You tell a lot and never show You talk too fast and listen way too slow Did you know Are you mad The shiny things you never had It’s a drug, and it’s easy to go bad bad bad Are you mad And I wonder how you ever got so angry The gratitude you missed with your swinging wild fist You’ll take my time enough to finally blame me For the moment we first kissed and I wound up on your list Of the people you never really trusted Do you care The box you’re in is made of air Nothing real ever really told you life was fair Do you care And I wonder how we ever get so blinded By what we think we need, what it looks like to succeed But do you even want to be reminded That no matter what the speed, you’re not close to breaking free From the people you never really trusted Line ‘em up against the wall And tell everybody else for once and for all you know Your secret’s safe with someone new If only you could hold on to the strength you need To truly close your eyes Good night Good night Do you doubt That you’ve yet to figure out The time we have is running out Do you doubt And I wonder where I’ll be the day you get it...
Mike Errico, “American Royalty” Live

Mike Errico, “American Royalty” Live

Holiday Show 2015, Joe’s Pub NYC Mike Errico-Guitar, vocal; Matt Beck- steel; Dave Scalia- Drums; Tomek Miernowski-Bass American Royalty © Mike Errico Sky Blue Coupe De Ville Music, ASCAP Two women are walking back from the east side Talking TV And one says, “Listen listen listen listen I need some cameras I gotta get some lights ‘Cause I’m not famous, and I’m not rich And that just ain’t right And if justice just depends on who you are Then I pray some day I get busted blowing a movie star Who needs the lottery? I’ll make the long, slow crawl up the coattails of the American Royalty.” Two men are walking back from the west side Not talking, of course And their DVRs are programmed For channel 2 at 8 Militants with pipe bombs forming independent states and one says, “I can’t live hand to mouth for the rest of my life And I pray some day I get busted with the president’s wife Who needs the lottery? I’ll be this year’s back door man of the American Royalty” Where they say Tell me what it’s like to be the Sexiest Man Alive You were down by twenty at the half, did you have to reach inside? We the people want to know who you had to sacrifice Was there tension on the set? Tell me What is tension like? Yeah, fuck the lottery I’ll make the long, slow crawl up the coattails of the American Royalty I am walking by the river And all I really want is a decent night of sleep And I’m meeting with demons...
Beyonce’s “Formation” and the Rise of the Superchorus

Beyonce’s “Formation” and the Rise of the Superchorus

Check out my conversation with Fast Company about “Formation,” songwriting, and the rise of “The Superchorus.” Excerpt, plus lyric and structure breakdown, which got kind of complicated…: “It feels new because you get a little bit lost in the form—you’re not being catered to,” says Mike Errico, a singer-songwriter and adjunct instructor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. “[Producer/songwriter] Max Martin is very much a caterer—he’s a good escort and he’s a reliable narrator, musically. But this is actually pushing it. You don’t have control of the plane. That’s something that’s exciting about this.” What’s happening in “Formation” is what Errico describes as not necessarily a break from the traditional verse-chorus form, but an evolution of it. “I do suspect that the way present-day songs are conceived does impact the ways writers chose to innovate,” Errico says. “For instance, if you are writing a melody over a groove that is static, looped, and extended out—a process referred to as ‘toplining’—a creative mind will accept the track as an unmovable parameter and generate interest by changing up the melodies and hooks. At the end of a topline session, the writing team may have several sections they love, but instead of tossing them out in order to preserve preconceived notions of song form, they will line them up and make multiple hook-laden sections out of each.” VERSE 1 Y’all haters corny with that Illuminati mess Paparazzi, catch my fly and my cocky fresh I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress I’m so possessive so I rock his Roc necklaces PRE-CHORUS My daddy Alabama, my ma Louisiana...
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