Daily Song Study

Ida Maria – Oh My God

In songs on December 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

It’s true that my punk credentials are pretty well nonexistent. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m anti-punk. I do, however, have this nagging requirement that music be melodically sound, and that excludes a great deal of that genre in its purest form.

I do, however, enjoy tunes which incorporate a punkish approach within a pop framework. This includes acts like the Ramones, the Police, and the author of today’s tune, Ida Maria.

Here we have a song which could just as easily be performed in a very straight pop-rock format, but instead is done with just the right loose edge to give it a nice garage-band crackle. The stop-start bits of the chorus help make space for the melody, and add additional energy without cluttering the mix.

Often, when artists seek to emulate their heroes, they start with the sound. They get the right guitar tones, match the drum parts, and make the appropriate vocal noises. What is startlingly overlooked most of the time, though, is the songwriting. If an artist has staying power over many decades, there is a very good chance that it is because they have written and/or performed songs that are memorable and well-crafted. This is the framework the house is built on. All the trappings on the outside are nice, yes, but the thing stands up because it’s built on a solid frame.

Thus, you can have a band that is “Pink Floyd influenced” that ends up just to be a scattered series of echoes and guitar solos which fade out of mind as soon as they finish. The same applies to acts drawing from Joy Division, the Cure, Talking Heads, or the aforementioned Ramones. The original music survives because it is both well-written and excellently performed. Making the same sounds only gets you halfway there.

I find today’s example to be a worthy contender, as it sticks in the brain well after the track ends. Which, ultimately, is the goal of a good song.

  1. […] outlaw country movement of the 1970s was similar to the punk movement in that it emphasized a return to simplicity, and Waylon Jennings certainly exemplified that […]

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