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Song Stories

“81”

Joanna Newsom | 2010

"81" is the result of Joanna Newsom delving into pop territory and writing a shorter song than her usual ruminative psychedelic folk compositions. "You know, from the beginning, from the very first record, I've always loved great pop music, and I've always held that in my mind as something that would be fun to do, and maybe even something I thought I was doing sometimes, whatever my version of that is," she said. But the singer/keyboard player/harpist admitted she "would do a very bad job if I was really wanting to write a record of pop songs. I don't know if I can approach writing that way."

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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