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Song Stories

“Sail Away”

Randy Newman | 1972

At first blush, “Sail Away” sounds like a love song. But a closer listen to the haunting piano ballad reveals it to be a slave trader’s sales pitch to Africans for life in America, with the cruel irony being that none of his promises prove to be even remotely true. Newman told Rolling Stone this kind of bait and switch is his M.O. "One thing with my music," he said, "you can’t sit and eat potato chips, and have it on in the background at a party."

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Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

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