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Song Stories

“Closer”

Ne-Yo | 2008

Ne-Yo's dance-pop hit "Closer" marked a musical departure for the singer-songwriter, who's known for a more soulful sound. The risk paid off. "Closer" topped the charts in the U.K. and was featured in episodes of Gossip Girl and 90210. "It was very much inspired by just the vibe of some of these house and techno clubs we went to while we were in London," Ne-Yo explained. "You know, kinda smoky, kinda dark and mysterious ... With just that constant, four-on-the-floor house beat … I basically tried to capture that energy and put the Ne-Yo spin on it. And 'Closer' was the end result."

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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