Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Where Dreams Are Made Of

with 3 comments

There is a long thread on MetaFilter about Alicia Keys’s appearance on The Colbert Report and his duet with her on ‘Empire State Of Mind’. It quickly turns into a referendum on whether Jay-Z’s original is any good.

I love the song but it is impossible to deny its detracters have a point. It is a fairly standard Jay-Z rap about how he used to be the world’s greatest crack dealer but is now the world’s greatest hip hop mogul. This is due to the character-building crucible of New York which Keys helpfully informs us is “where dreams are made of”. In addition to the chorus, Keys has her own guest verse:

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams, all looking pretty,
No place in the world that can compare,
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeaaahh

Even if you had some sort of computerised cliche generator it is hard to imagine it could come up with something more generic than this. And yet… Part of its attraction is that it is so alien: you can’t imagine a song about London sounding so upbeat, optimistic almost to the point of euphoria. What’s the closest we’ve managed? Camden Town by Suggs? It’s hardly the same, is it? On balance, I’m happy with this situation – my sensibility has always been more LDN than Empire State – but still, sometimes its nice to wallow (even vicariously) in this sort of triumpalist tubthumping.

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Written by Martin

18 December 2009 at 14:16

Posted in music

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. “you can’t imagine a song about London sounding so upbeat, optimistic almost to the point of euphoria.”

    That’s because London is a miserable shit hole. Reference Nick Drake’s “Bryter Layter”, for an accurate, Songs-of-Experience-esque view of the city.

    Mark

    25 December 2009 at 19:55

  2. London is a shithole. It grows on you though.

    I’ve just bought a copy of Bryter Layter so I’ll let you know what I think.

    Martin

    3 January 2010 at 20:37

  3. [...] article by St Etienne’s Bob Stanley in last week’s Guardian reminds me that I meant to post something about Bryter Layter by Nick Drake. Having assured me that “London is a miserable shit [...]


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