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Song Stories

“Simple Song”

The Shins | 2012

Though James Mercer put the Shins on hiatus for five years, it took him no time to pen Port of Morrow’s lead single, a sweet, nostalgia-riddled cheer up for a former (and possibly current) love interest. “I wrote the lyrics in the space of 15 minutes, on the living-room floor,” he told Rolling Stone. But not everything went so smoothly. “I think I jinxed it by calling it ‘Simple Song,’ because it was the most difficult track to get finished.” Musically, it’s complex — the song boasts power pop flourishes and guitar squiggle blasts while Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Sleater-Kinney) pounds away on drums.

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Song Stories

“Bizness”

Tune-Yards | 2011

The opening track to Merrill Garbus’ second album under the Tune-Yards banner (she also plays in the trio Sister Suvi), “Bizness” is a song about relationships that is as colorful as the face paint favored by Garbus both live and in her videos. Disjointed funk bass, skittering African beats, diced-and-sliced horns and Garbus’ dynamic voice, which ranges from playful coos to throat-shredding howls, make “Bizness” reminiscent of another creative medium. “I'd like for them not to be songs as much as quilts or collages or something,” Garbus said.

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