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Okkervil River Combine Poetry and Violence at Lollapalooza

August 2, 2008 11:30 PM ET

Okkervil River got things off to a murderous start. The Austin band opened with "The President's Dead" and immediately continued on a bloody pace with the violent wishfulness of "Black." Yet to frontman Will Sheff and a horde of attentive onlookers, it was all just part of a literary act in which sharing misery with company became reason to celebrate and shed any ill will. Rarely has dismay sounded so joyous. Sheff introduced an Ivy League literary seriousness to jangly street-busking pop, rhyming lyrical couplets and chronicling character predicaments as he told stories of loss and retribution. By the end of the performance, he'd loosened his tie and sang with the intensity of a spurned preacher, promoting the escapism of "Unless Its Kicks" as universal truth.

More Lollapalooza Coverage: Rock 'N' Roll Diary

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Song Stories

“Fantasy”

Mariah Carey | 1995

Serendipity stuck when Mariah Carey rediscovered the glitchy Tom Tom Club hook, a sample of which is the heart of this upbeat slice of dance pop. "I had the melody idea for 'Fantasy' and I was listening to the radio and heard 'Genius of Love,' and I hadn't heard it in a long time," Carey said. "It reminded me of growing up and listening to the radio and that feeling the song gave me seemed to go with the melody and basic idea I had for 'Fantasy.' I initially told [co-writer] Dave Hall about the idea, and we did it. We called up the Tom Tom Club and they were really into it."

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