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Song Stories

“Cobrastyle”

Robyn | 2008

The Swedish group Teddybears first recorded this reggae-rap song, but for her version Robyn came along and transformed it into an electronic one. For someone who makes pop records, the Swedish singer admitted her influences are steeped in harder sounds. "I think the biggest lyrical inspiration for this album was going back to when I was like 15 and on the subway listening to hip-hop," Robyn said. "Back then, because I didn't know many people in Sweden who knew about rap, it was like my own music world where the lyrics were very direct."

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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