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Song Stories

“TAOS”

Menomena | 2010

Indie-rock trio Menomena use a collaborative approach to song-writing. So when multi-instrumentalist Justin Harris came up with "TAOS," a slacker anthem of faux-confidence and an anacronym for "The Art of Seduction," drummer Danny Seim admitted he was a bit unsure about it. "I'm doing my best to pad the fact that the song was hard for me to listen to at first," Seim said. But the track eventually grew on him. "Suddenly his voice has become this weapon," he said about Harris. "It’s so emotionally supercharged, and almost laughingly over the top."

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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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