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Typologie et Ontologie

Musical Works, Cover Versions and Strange Little Girls

Jan Butler
p. 42-72
Traduction(s) :
Œuvres musicales, reprises et Strange Little Girls

Résumés

La question de l’ontologie de la musique populaire est souvent abordée par le biais des reprises, ces dernières servant de base à l’étude d’un certain nombre d’idées sur ces questions d’ontologie. En explorant la relation des reprises à l’ontologie des œuvres musicales, on met en place, le plus souvent, un système hiérarchique d’évaluation, peut-être inhérent au concept d’œuvre lui-même, dans lequel la reprise est en général considérée comme inférieure à la version originale. Cependant, on n’étudie que rarement les reprises en détail pour voir comment elles fonctionnent par rapport à l’original, et, par la suite, ce que cela implique pour le concept d’œuvre en musique populaire, et pour le système hiérarchique souvent appliqué aux reprises elles-mêmes. Dans cet article, nous explorons l’ontologie de la musique populaire dans son rapport aux reprises à travers l’étude de l’album de reprises de Tori Amos de 2001 : Strange Little Girls. Cet album est composé de toute une série de reprises interprétatives dans lesquelles la version originale est radicalement modifiée du point de vue musical afin de transformer ou de critiquer la signification de l’original. En étudiant cet album, nous entendons proposer l’idée que la reprise est simultanément une lecture et une interprétation de l’original, ce qui permet de prendre en considération l’importance de l’auditeur dans la définition de l’ontologie de la reprise.

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1There has been much recent investigation of the idea of the musical work in musicology, exploring the idea in both the Western art music (WAM) tradition, and music which falls outside this category, such as rock, pop, jazz and folk (non-WAM). The writing focusing on the musical work in rock and pop (rock/pop) is very much divided, with some writers claiming that there are no works in this repertoire, and others arguing very strongly that there are. These arguments centre on the meanings of the term ‘musical work’ outside of a WAM context, and more specifically to its possible evaluative function. On both sides of the argument, the phenomenon of cover versions is used to either confirm the presence of a work concept or to argue against it. However, there is a distinct lack of agreement over what a cover version actually is, making it difficult to assess the validity of the arguments for and against the work concept in this area. Cover versions are rarely investigated in their own right despite their central role in arguments about the nature or existence of the musical work in rock/pop. It seems that the only way to come to any firm conclusions is to investigate exactly what covers are, with reference to some specific examples, and establish how they might relate to the concept of the musical work. This is the aim of this article.

The Work Concept

  • 1 D. Horn, ‘Some Thoughts on the Work in Popular music’ in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality (...)
  • 2 L. Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music, Oxford, Clare (...)
  • 3 Ibid., p 249
  • 4 Ibid., p252
  • 5 Ibid., p249
  • 6 P. Tagg, ‘’The Work’: An Evaluative Charge’, pp153-167 in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Realit (...)
  • 7 L. Goehr, Museum of Musical Works, p 20
  • 8 Ibid., p250
  • 9 D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p16

2There are several difficulties with looking at the idea of the work outside the WAM tradition, the main one being that the term ‘work’ is rarely used in other musical discourses. In fact, as Horn asserts in his study of the work in popular music, “[t]hroughout the range of commentary on popular music, from populist to academic-theoretical, whenever it is necessary to pin down for discussion one or more musical objects, the terms ‘work’ and ‘works’ are strenuously avoided.”1 Lydia Goehr, in her book on the musical work in WAM, argues that the work-concept is historicized, arising at a specific moment in WAM history, and therefore not suitable for every type of music.2 She warns of the dangers of using the phrase ‘musical work’ in a non-WAM context, arguing that it has an evaluative as well as a classificatory function. She suggests that non-WAM, which is not work-based, when looked at in these terms, is stripped of its socio-cultural context and erroneously re-packaged as a work.3 She asserts that this has negative effects because critics thinking in terms of the work-concept usually assess music against the standards set by Beethoven. This leads to popular music, for example, being often criticised for being of simple form, of transient nature and expressing infantile emotions, in other words the music is being misunderstood because it is looked at in an unsuitable way.4 She concludes from this that “[popular music’s] value and significance does not derive from a Romantic aesthetic, nor, therefore, does its fair evaluation.”5 This seems to be overly concerned about the use of the term ‘work’. Although it is true that popular music is sometimes dismissed in this way, perhaps indeed because of thinking shaped by the norms of classical music, the rise of popular musicology over the past thirty years has done much to address this view. Despite the historical origins and connotations of the term ‘work’, it could be seen as simply a convenient and widely-understood term which denotes, as Philip Tagg describes it, “a musical continuum of determinate duration and of sufficient internal structural cohesion as to be understood as sonically identifiable in itself from whatever precedes or follows it, as well as from other similarly integral sets of sequences of musical sound.”6 Goehr’s own definition of the work, “a complex structure of sound related in some important way to a composer, a score, and a given class of performances”7, is more prescriptive, and of course more weighted towards how the term would function within WAM. The fact that she later states that some musicians outside WAM willingly treat their music in terms of the work-concept8, and therefore invite the attendant dangers outlined above, suggests that the term ‘musical work’ may not have the strict evaluative power that she ascribes to it, for if it did why would musicians outside WAM willingly use it and invite misinterpretation? It seems possible that the meaning and connotations of the term have changed over time, and that it is flexible enough to be used outside its original context. It is also quite possible that, as Horn later points out, “[j]ust because the term itself is so rare in popular music practice does not mean … that the ideas and implications within it are also rare.”9 It is possible that ‘work’ thinking is rife throughout the musical world, but that it is rarely couched in these terms, and if that is the case, why should its use be dangerous? After all, the term ‘work’ is not exclusive to music, it is found throughout the arts, describing cultural objects as diverse as films, paintings, novels, treatises and plays.

  • 10 L. Goehr, Museum of Musical Works, p249
  • 11 See for example R. Middleton (ed.) Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music, Ox (...)

3As may be inferred from the above discussion, the term ‘work’ seems to have different meanings according to which cultural area one is discussing, or even which kind of music one is discussing. For this reason, this article will focus only on cover versions in rock/pop and their ramifications for what the term ‘work’ may mean. I will not discuss other types of music, which have their own problematic issues for the term work, such as jazz improvisations, sampling or folk songs. Each of these areas has similarities to the idea of cover versions, but are subtly different and beyond the scope of this article. I have also chosen to use some traditional music notation as part of the discussion, as the most succinct way of demonstrating notatable similarities and differences between the covers discussed. This too is a problematic area in popular music study (also according to Goehr a result of erroneous use of application of the ‘work-concept!10) extensively discussed in other literature.11

The Musical Work in Popular Music

  • 12 R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice: Configuration of the Popular Music Intertext’, pp59-87 in M. T (...)
  • 13 Ibid., p61
  • 14 Ibid., p 77
  • 15 Ibid., p77
  • 16 Ibid., p77
  • 17 Ibid., p77
  • 18 Ibid., p77

4Discussions on the musical work in rock/pop tend to fall into two camps. The first claim that there are no ‘works’ in this repertoire and can be exemplified by the writings of Richard Middleton. Middleton believes that instead of looking for works in rock/pop, it would be more meaningful to look at songs as texts and in terms of intertextuality, the idea that “all texts make sense only through their relationships, explicit or implicit, with other texts.”12 He explains that intertextuality is a useful term for discussion of popular music practice because “it can cover such a range of techniques, requiring only that a text refer to other texts; but in exactly this respect, of course, it pushes against the tendential self-sufficiency of ‘works’.”13 He does admit, however, that there are tendencies within popular music culture that do point towards use of the ‘work-concept’, which he associates with the reification of music. He lists several indications of this, including “the record form itself … [which] has contributed to the ‘fixing’ of pieces in apparently definitive versions”14; bands who “…focus their live performance on accurate reproduction of their own recording,”15 and audiences who “complain that they have not succeeded”16, both of which seem as if they are enacting “an extension to the Werktreue ideal”17; “[r]ock, blues and jazz critics [who] assemble their ‘classic’ records into authoritative canons”18 and so on. He denies that these are evidence that works exist in popular music, however, because these factors also show evidence of intertextuality, of differing yet related versions of various songs.

  • 19 See T. Gracyk, Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock, I. B.Tauris & Co. Publishers, London, 1996 (...)
  • 20 A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p21
  • 21 Ibid., pp21-22

5The other school of thought is exemplified by writers such as Theodore Gracyk and Albin J. Zak III, both of whom argue extensively that recordings themselves are musical works.19 Their arguments are based on the distinction, made by Nelson Goodman, of autographic and allographic works of art. According to Goodman, allographic works are those which can be represented by notation (e.g. score-based music, literature), which means that “[a]ll accurate copies … are equally genuine instances of the work.”20 Autographic works, on the other hand, are those that carry with them physical traces of their making; the medium of the work registers a fusion of idea and action (e.g. painting, sculpture). If an accurate copy is made of an autographic work, the copy is a forgery.21 Both Gracyk and Zak argue that a recording is an autographic work, whereas traditionally music has been considered to be allographic. As Zak’s work builds on and summarises that of Gracyk, it is Zak who I shall be using to assess their arguments here. Zak further refines this idea of the autographic work by suggesting that a recording contains three layers: the song, the musical arrangement and the track. He goes on to distinguish these as follows:

  • 22 A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p24

6“The song is what can be represented on a lead sheet; it usually includes words, melody, chord changes, and some degree of formal design. The arrangement is a particular musical setting of the song. It provides a more detailed prescriptive plan: instrumentation, musical parts, rhythmic groove, and so forth. The track is the recording itself. As the layer that represents the finished musical work, it subsumes the other two. That is, when we hear a record, we experience both song and arrangement through the sounds of the track.”22

7Zak goes on to explain that, although both song and arrangement are integral aspects of the finished work (the recording), both retain an ontological independence. This is because:

  • 23 Ibid., p24

“[t]hey have modes of representation – lead sheets, scores, performances – other than the recording. Even if songwriting and arranging take place during the recording session, when the record is finished they can be extracted from it and treated independently.”23

8In other words, these two sub-layers are allographic; they may be altered in multiple ways while still retaining their basic identity. Zak explains that, however,

  • 24 Ibid., p24

“[t]his is not true of the track. Its identity lies in its actual sound, and while that may change somewhat from one reproduction system to another – like a painting hung in different kinds of light or space, it is essentially a fixed set of relationships.”24

9In other words, it is an autographic work. This way of thinking about works in rock/pop is very different from that exemplified by Middleton. Middleton sees rock/pop as a practice that produces interrelated texts, with no fixed works, providing a much more fluid, non-hierarchical system than the objectified, work-based system of WAM. Gracyk and Zak, in contrast, see rock/pop as producing works that are much more objectified than those in WAM, which produces allographic works. In their eyes, rock/pop produces works that are as reified as possible, in the form of autographic records. Both camps seem concerned with establishing a separate evaluative system from that associated with the WAM work-concept, perhaps to avoid the misinterpretation that Goehr warned would follow if it were misapplied. Middleton is trying to achieve this by denying that there are rock/pop ‘works’ at all, and Gracyk and Zak are trying from the opposite angle to assert that rock/pop has ‘works’, but they are autographic, not allographic, and as such need evaluating in a different way. As mentioned above, the cases of cover versions are used as corroborative evidence to reinforce both sides of the argument, a point I shall return to below.

Cover Versions

  • 25 Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p29
  • 26 Ibid., p29
  • 27 R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice’, p82
  • 28 D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p30
  • 29 See H. Stith Bennett, ‘The Realities of Practice’, pp221-237 and M. Bayton, ‘How Women Become Music (...)
  • 30 D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p30

10Cover version is a general term with a basic meaning of “[a performance of] your own version of a piece of music that others have also performed.”25 This basic meaning encompasses a wide range of practices, all of which are related by the fact that the piece being covered “is associated with another performer or performers, perhaps because they made the first recording, or because they have forged a relationship with it.”26 There are three main types of cover. The first are very ‘straight’ covers, in which the covering band emulates the notes and sound of the original, a practice often found in tribute or cover bands. Middleton describes this form of covering as “something akin to a ‘performance’ in the WECT [WAM] sense….”27 A second form of cover stays close to the song structure of the original, but recasts it, changing elements to reflect the covering band’s usual style and sound of performance. The third type of covers are based on the original but radically altered so that the cover appears as a critique or interpretation of the original version. As well as these different types of cover, there are different reasons for covering a song which have different values attached within rock/pop culture. As Horn points out, “[i]n some quarters, the phrase ‘cover version’ is often used to convey derogation”28 as it can be related to a lack of creativity or sometimes to cynically making money by covering another band’s previous hit. Conversely, covering is seen by some as an essential part of learning the craft of being a pop/rock musician. In this case, covering is used to learn how different sounds and effects are produced, and how to write songs within different genres. Studies have shown that musicians often learn how to function as a group and write songs in this way.29 Horn also points out that for some, “‘covering’ is an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with music other than their ‘own’ and with other performers who have been involved in ‘covering’ that or similar music.”30 This would seem to be the case when many different, established bands all appear on tribute albums or concerts dedicated to one band, or when a band covers songs in such a way that they critique or radically reinterpret the original.

  • 31 A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p30

11In order to ascertain whether covers are separate works, versions of the same work, or instances of intertextuality, an outline of how they have previously been assessed in relation to the musical work is necessary. Gracyk and Zak use covers as evidence of the autographic nature of the recorded musical work. In their eyes, the use of the same song or musical arrangement is distinct from the recording itself. Any cover based on these must be a new, if derivative work, because it is the autographic, sounding surface of the record itself that is the musical work, not the song or arrangement. Zak explains why the song is not the work in rock, by stating that “a rock song assumes the fullness of its meaning only as it is uttered.”31 With regards to cover versions, he argues that,

  • 32 Ibid., pp30-31

“Songs may be performed in multiple versions, but their primary place in the galaxy of rock works is fixed by an original recording. However many cover versions I may hear of ‘Be My Baby’, I can never separate what the song means to me from the image I hold in memory of Ronnie Spector’s voice and Phil Spector’s lavish production. Somehow, the cover performance resonates with the memory, and though the sound is all different, the meaning imparted by the original recording still comes through.”32

12Here and elsewhere, Zak establishes a value-laden hierarchy between covers and their originals; a cover is always affected by the existence of the original to the extent that it either sounds wrong, or the hearing of it is filtered through a memory of what the original recording sounded like. Zak’s insistence on the original’s effect on the cover implies that the cover will always be in thrall to it, and could never improve upon it. It is very much secondary to and dependent on the original work, whilst still being a new work in its own right merely by way of it being a new recording with its own unique sounding surface. It must therefore be a new autographic work, albeit linked to the original by the allographic work of the song contained within it.

  • 33 R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice’, p83
  • 34 Ibid., p83
  • 35 Ibid., p83

13Middleton, on the other hand, argues that a cover has “a dependence on an originating moment: an existing version, a starting point or defining interpretation, against which the cover will be measured, to which it will relate.”33 He goes on to state that “[t]his origin is not a ‘first cause’ but more a transiently privileged moment of departure within networks of family resemblances, bearing comparison with similar moments within the networks of repetition, Signifyin(g) [sic] and remixing.”34 He goes on to argue specifically that “[i]t would be misleading to view such moments as equivalent to ‘works’, although we might, perhaps, consider them symptoms of ‘work-ness’ (or the work-concept might be thought of as a historically specific extrapolation from the more general system that I am describing in terms of family resemblance networks).”35 Middleton’s system, unlike Zak’s, allows the possibility that the cover could improve on or become more important than its original as it is based on transient originating moments and relationships, not permanent entities.

14In essence, both arguments come to the same conclusion from different angles, which is that the work in popular music is not allographic, as the work in WAM is. In the eyes of both camps, popular music is different from WAM, it has different practices, different values and should therefore have its own terms in which to discuss its products. However, covers, no matter which way you look at them, do at least hint at ‘work-ness’ as Middleton puts it. When a band performs a cover, and the listener knows the song which is being covered, the assumption is that the covering band is covering that same song. As records are often interpreted by listeners as performances captured by the recording process, this seems very close to the WAM practice of several performers reinterpreting the same work. For Zak and Gracyk, this fact is sidestepped by asserting that a song, which they agree is allographic and amenable to manipulation and reinterpretation without losing its identity, is not the work in rock/pop. Middleton avoids the same issue by carefully not using the word ‘work’, instead preferring the word ‘text’, or ‘utterance’, and also by asserting that, although it may sound as if he is discussing works when he allows cover versions an ‘originating moment’, he is not because it is only transiently originating, and therefore cannot be a work. This avoidance of the allographic work raises issues for the status and relative value of covers with regards to their originals. In these frameworks of understanding the rock/pop musical work, what is the relative value of the cover to its original? Is it subordinate, derivative, or does it have equal status in its own right, despite its relationship to the original? It seems that, instead of investigating cover versions in detail and seeing what the results might reveal about the rock/pop musical work, theorists have taken advantage of the fact that ‘cover’ embraces a wide range of approaches and intentions in order to corroborate sweeping statements about the nature of the musical work. To redress this imbalance, I shall make a focussed study here. In light of the wide variety of types of cover versions, I shall isolate one in particular in order to assess what is being done in the process of covering and what ramifications this may have for the concept of the musical work in rock/pop. I shall use an example of the last type of cover mentioned above, that of the album of interpretive covers that enter into dialogue with the originals. One artist who has done this is Tori Amos, with her 2001 album, Strange Little Girls.

Tori Amos’s Strange Little Girls

  • 36 W. Hermes, ‘Don’t Mess With Mother Nature’, Spin Magazine, October 2001
  • 37 I. Carmon, ‘Tori’s Got a Gun’, Village Voice, October 3-9, 2001

15Strange Little Girls is an album of covers of songs written and performed by men over the past thirty years, and covering a wide range of rock and pop genres, from the Thrash Metal band Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ (1986), through hip hop star Eminem’s ‘’97 Bonnie and Clyde’ (1999) to The Beatles’ ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ (1968). In order to select these songs, Amos asked her male friends for songs which were important to them, and then reinterpreted them through the eyes of a female character present or implied in each song. These characters found visual form in the album’s cover art, which contained photos of Amos in different guises representing the woman for each song. She has not changed any of the lyrics, although she does occasionally change the emphasis by adding repeats or cutting bits out. Amos states that the premise of the album rests on “the theory that the view changes depending on where you are standing.”36 She believes that her effort to give the female perspective a voice without altering the basic structure of the songs “is showing you, without in most cases changing a word, a secret the song might have had.”37 I have chosen to discuss two tracks off the album, Amos’s covers of Eminem’s ‘’97 Bonnie & Clyde’ (1999), and The Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ (1979). The two originals are very different in style and an in-depth discussion of them will reveal some of what happens in the process of ‘covering’ a song in this way. Summaries of the structure of the songs, and musical examples are included for comparison in Appendices 1 and 2 respectively.

  • 38 K. Loder, ‘Eminem: Slim Shady Goes Home’, MTV.com News, 3rd January, 1999 (http://www.mtv.com/bands (...)
  • 39 W. Hermes, ‘Don’t Mess With Mother Nature’
  • 40 Eminem’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde’97’, verse 2
  • 41 See A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p84

16‘’97 Bonnie & Clyde’, like much of Eminem’s output, caused controversy when it was first released.38 The song is about a father who has murdered his wife, put her in the trunk of his car, and is now driving to the lake to dispose of the body, taking his baby daughter with him. The lyrics are a monologue by the father addressed to the daughter. The words start out sounding innocent, especially due to the use of baby-talk, but as the song progresses it becomes clear what has happened and that Eminem is trying to explain and justify himself to his daughter, who we can hear gurgling and responding on the track as well. Amos sings the song from the point of view of the dying mother in the trunk, who is hearing “the person she had a child with weaving in that child as an accomplice to her murder.”39 As with all the songs on the album, she does not alter the lyrics, yet she still manages to make the song a distinct reinterpretation. Eminem’s version consists of a rap over a simple repeated backing track (See Appendix 1, example 1). The track opens with sound effects that are set outside, with chirping crickets and passing cars accompanying the sound of someone dragging something heavy along the ground, opening the car and shutting it in the trunk. The music, which consists of a drum track, bassline and synthesised chords with snatches of melody, starts as the car door closes, still accompanied with the ‘real life’ sounds of crickets and passing cars. The feel of the song is quite laid back, with a repetitive deep bassline, and dotted rhythm beat accompaniment. The keyboard chords and melodies have a soft timbre and plenty of echo which adds a slightly mournful effect. The repetitiveness of the song is also quite soothing, with the only disruption to the laid-back rhythm being the ebb and flow of Eminem’s words, which are sometimes delivered very quickly. The rhyme and poetry of the rap are partly naturally formed from the singsong rhythms that Eminem is using in his baby talk to his daughter. This is particularly evident in the second verse ((for example “Take a night-night? Nan-a-boo, goo-goo ga-ga?” in the second verse).40 This being an Eminem song, and therefore an example of the hip-hop genre, the song is eminently dance-able, a fact that Amos found offensive considering the subject matter. Eminem and his daughter are very high in the mix, and there are very clean production values which give the impression of a sealed environment such as a car. This prioritising of the voice and ‘real’ production values are a general characteristic of rap records41, but here combine with the narrative and sound effects to create a dramatic effect. The song is quite filmic in that you can hear a full scenario as the narrative unfolds; the father and daughter (and mother) are driving to the lake. The song could almost be a soundtrack to Eminem’s monologue that happens to be on the radio as they travel.

  • 42 R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’, Washington Post, October 5th, 2001
  • 43 Eminem’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde ‘97’, verse 1

17Amos’s version, in contrast, sounds distant and ethereal. In order to capture the sense of the dying wife, her vocals were recorded from inside a small box built to give the feel of being in a trunk.42 The words of Eminem’s song, with their constant referral to both the mother and father in the third person (for example, “Grab a couple of toys and let da-da strap you in the car seat, Oh where’s mama? She’s takin’ a little nap in the trunk”43, mean that Amos can effectively subvert the original character and deliver the lines directly from the mother’s perspective. Amos keeps her version in the same key area (Bb minor/Db major) as Eminem’s, uses a variation of his melodies and drumbeat in the chorus, and keeps the verse-chorus structure the same. She has, however, removed all the sonic references to the ‘real world’ in her version, and has reinterpreted the smooth hip-hop accompaniment as an agitated arpeggiated riff played on synthesised strings and piano (See App 1, Ex 2). There is no drum track in the verses in her version, just the driving steady pulse of the string riffs. The chorus and opening of the song are accompanied by a chromatic melody, related to that of Eminem’s choruses, and dissonant chords in the strings, and a beat that is reminiscent of, but much less forceful than that in Eminem’s version (See App 1, Ex 3 and 4). Amos’s vocal delivery in the verses is less rhythmic than Eminem’s, spoken in a low voice, in places half whispered as if she is struggling for breath. She sounds constrained and otherworldly and her singing in the choruses is high and thin, almost ghostly. Her voice dominates the song however, because, like Eminem she is very high in the mix. From verse two onwards in Amos’s version, a faint military drum tattoo is introduced beneath the strings, building tension and a sense of movement, but also, through their association with executions, heralding the moment where the mother will be separated from her daughter forever. The song ends abruptly at the end of the third verse with Amos gasping out “Just the two of us” in a dying, ghostly whisper. All Eminem’s assurances that “da-da” will always be there to look after his daughter at the end of his version are cut off, as the mother can no longer hear them. Throughout the song, the sound quality of the synthesized strings is impure, sounding vaguely scratchy as if they were music from an old black and white film. In fact, the strings are reminiscent of the music used to accompany the scenes where Janet Leigh is driving a car and looking for a hotel in the Alfred Hitchcock film, Psycho (1960). The filmic sound of the strings, Amos’s dramatic, ghostly vocal delivery and the driving arpeggios in the strings, which give a sense of movement and propel the narrative forward have clear parallels to Eminem’s filmic scenario. However, in comparison to Eminem’s sonic evocation of realistic gritty drama, Amos has created a sonic black and white ghost story.

  • 44 See http://geocities.com/Area51/Shadowlands/4077/spencer.html for a summary of the Brenda Spencer c (...)
  • 45 Boomtown Rats, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
  • 46 R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’

18The Boomtown Rats’ ‘I don’t like Mondays’ was inspired by the 1979 Cleveland school shooting carried out by Brenda Spencer, then only 17, who opened fire on children and teachers entering a school on a Monday morning. She then returned home, where she was later caught, and when asked why she had done it, she replied, “I don’t like Mondays”.44 The song tells the story as reportage, with each verse focussing on a different viewpoint; the first verse tells of Brenda’s family’s reaction, the second of the worlds reaction, and the third of the reaction of the police chief. Each verse ends with a line questioning what possible reason there could be for such an event (“can see no reasons ‘cos there are no reasons”45 etc.). The choruses act as an interrogation, with several voices asking “Tell Me Why”, and then the solo voice giving Brenda’s response, “I Don’t Like Mondays”. Tori Amos jettisons the verse about the world’s response and uses the remaining two verses to tell the story from the point of view of an imaginary female ranger who shoots Brenda, and therefore “sings it from a place of having killed, as opposed to the original, which was a commentary.”46

  • 47 Boomtown Rats, I Don’t Like Mondays, verse 1
  • 48 Boomtown Rats, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays, verse 3

19The Boomtown Rats’ version opens with dramatic piano glissandi ending on a strong E minor chord backed with strings. There are then a series of descending chords based around E minor before the song proper starts. The only instrumentation is piano, tympani and strings, which was unusual for the band, who usually favoured the more traditional rock combination of guitar, bass and drums. The song is mainly in C major and is based on two very simple chord sequences (See Appendix 2, Example 1). These are filled out by the piano with arpeggiations or chords, and the pulse is derived from movement in the strings and the bass notes, which become more frequent as the song advances. The song is dramatic in feel and responds to the narrative which it outlines, with the accompaniment building in intensity as the song goes on. As the song progresses, the accompaniment builds into a denser texture and with more frequent bass pulses – the first verse has a pulse on the first beat only, the second on alternative beats, and the final section of the final verse on every beat. The vocal line is harmonised in places, which gives a feel of a collective voice, expressing dismay in the third line of every verse at the idea of their being “no reason” and asking Brenda to “Tell Me Why”. The entire second verse, which deals with the world’s response, is sung with harmonies. The solo vocal seems to deal with the more intimate issues of the narrative and also Brenda’s response. The third line of every verse, which generally deals with the emotional response to the events of various people (for example in verse one, this line is: “And Daddy doesn’t understand it, he always said she was good as gold,”47), is also harmonised with aahs by the chorus, perhaps as word-painting. There are other suggestions of word painting with use of rubato, and a change in texture and tessitura to high tinkly piano and plucked strings at the beginning of the third verse when Brenda is in the playground (“And all the playing’s stopped in the playground now, she wants to play with the toys awhile”48). This sounds childlike, perhaps reminiscent of a music box, and seems to be a reminder that the shooter is just a child herself (See App 2, Ex 2). This changes to dramatic full string and piano chords, and a slower tempo as the focus shifts to the police captain in the second half of the verse. The reprise of the first verse also starts more slowly, but both the tempo and frequency of bass pulses increase to a triumphant ending. The style throughout is dramatic and overblown, similar to other rock acts of the time such as Meatloaf, but out of character for the Boomtown Rats as they were usually more down-to-earth and punky in feel. This change in style may have been due to the dramatic nature of the story they were singing about.

20Amos’s treatment of the song, with its focus on the personal response of the Ranger who killed Brenda, stays very close to the musical structure of the original, but is much more muted in effect; all the drama and pomposity of the Boomtown Rats’ version has vanished. Amos has removed the first chorus and second verse of the original song, choosing to use only the verses that deal with personal response, in other words the parts of the narrative that the ranger would have been concerned with. In Amos’s hands, the song’s chorus (“Tell me why I don’t like Mondays?”)becomes a rhetorical question that the ranger is asking herself after carrying out an unpleasant action. There is no sense of urgency here, and no sense of interrogation, as there are no chorus parts. In this version of the song, all the drama is over; there is only quiet contemplation of the events.

21Amos accompanies the song very simply on a Fender Rhodes keyboard and bass guitar, which sound like a washed out version of the strident piano and strings of the original. The introduction consists of a circular series of chords with an undulating melody over it, very static, calm and simple. The melody is related to the playground interlude in the Boomtown Rats’ version, although the chord sequence is not (see App 2, Ex 3). She also keeps the song in the key of C major, and follows the bassline of the original, although instead of using the bassline from the Boomtown Rats chorus, she uses the verse bassline throughout (see App 2, Ex 1, bars 1-4). The bass is neatly outlined with only one note on the first beat of each bar; the accompaniment is entirely semi-quaver arpeggiations of the chords, reminiscent of the music-box playground accompaniment from the Boomtown Rats. The sense of unhurriedness which prevails is also aided by Amos’s use of rubato and the extensions of the phrases at the end of most of the lines, extending them into 5 bars instead of 4 and sitting on the dominant for longer than is expected. Her vocal line follows the melody of the original almost exactly, but her delivery is very different from Bob Geldoff’s overblown drama. Here, instead of the drama of reporting, we get a more world-weary, compassionate feel, with the rubato of the vocal line sometimes almost bringing the song to a halt. Like Amos’s version of the Eminem song, she has used similar sonic elements to create very different effects.

22In both the cases discussed above, the versions by Tori Amos stay true to the originals in many ways. There are clear similarities in the notatable aspects of the music; both of her versions match the key area of the originals, use related harmonies and variations of the melodic accompaniment and she follows the rhythmic and melodic pattern of the vocal line. On this level, arguably the allographic level according to Zak, the songs seem to relate to each other in the way that perhaps arrangements or transcriptions of a classical, score-based piece would; varying timbres and instrumentation, but staying loyal to the musical structure. However, on the autographic level, these songs must be separate works because they have different sounding surfaces. However, I think that it is possible to see relationships between cover and original here as well. In ‘’97 Bonnie & Clyde, Amos has kept the sense of a narrative unfolding, albeit from a separate perspective, and it is arguable that she has also kept the filmic feel, although using different sonic means to create a similar effect. If this is the case, then perhaps the soundworld of the original recording could in some way be inferred from the cover, implying a closer link between the two than totally separate autographic works. In ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’, Amos has also kept elements of the same sounds and effects, but kept them on the personal level. The strident piano chords and driving pulses of the original have become the washed-out Fender Rhodes keyboard, and the excited, dramatic reportage has become tired acceptance.

  • 49 R. Dawn, ‘Is Tori Amos bullshit?’, Alternative Press Magazine, October 2001
  • 50 R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’
  • 51 A. Falik, RollngStone.com, October 4th, 2001 (http://www.thedent.com/rscom100401.html)
  • 52 Ibid.
  • 53 J. D’Angelo, ‘Tori writes Scarlet letters, Draws tour map’, MTV.com News, 23rd November, 2002 (www. (...)

23So, are these covers and their originals two instances of the same allographic work, two texts that are part of an intertextual relationship, or two distinct but related autographic works, and what sense of hierarchy, if any, is there in their relationship? Perhaps Amos herself has the answer. She refers to the songs that she used as ‘song-children’ of ‘male-song-mothers’ that she hung out and played with until the female character of the song emerged and directed how her interpretation should go.49 This is perhaps a feminisation of the ‘male’ work-concept, which continues in her use of terms such as “re-birthing” the songs from a female perspective.50 She did not court the response of the people whose songs she covered as she felt her loyalty lay not with their creator’s but with their song-children, and “the secrets and shadows that the songs held.”51 The characters that she created for each song were a variation of her own compositional method, as she thinks of her own songs as being personified as her “girls”.52 She described the process of deconstructing the songs as being “like when you’re an architect looking at another architect’s plan and you see how people solve problems that you might not solve in that way.”53 She applies this both to the possible interpretations of the meanings of the songs and to the sonic structure, discovering how the chords she was working with would resolve themselves.

24It seems that Amos approached the original songs as an analytical listener, ‘reading’ them until she could create a musical response using the materials of the originals, reworking them in terms of her own vision. This implies that she is creating new self-sufficient works, ones which, although they share materials with the originals and are therefore clearly related, can also stand as works in their own right. In her re-imagining, she has emphasised aspects of the original that were perhaps not easily identifiable, re-orchestrating, and building in new meanings, revealing new angles much as a close-up photograph could do for a work of sculpture, for example. Her work reveals the original from a new perspective, whilst simultaneously carrying a new vision in its own right. This interpretation bypasses consideration of a hierarchy in this type of cover; Amos’s versions are not better or worse, just different from the original. This emphasis on Amos as listener first, composer second raises the question of perception. For Amos, the covers are works in response to other works. But a listener’s understanding of the status of Amos’s works will depend on what they know about them. Bearing this in mind, a solution to the questions on the nature and existence and relationships of works in rock/pop may lie in writing which focuses on the listener, some of which will be explored below.

Cover Versions and Musical Works

  • 54 N. Cook, ‘Between Process and Product: Music and/as Performance’ in Music Theory Online, Vol 7, No. (...)
  • 55 Ibid., p8
  • 56 Ibid., p4
  • 57 Ibid., p4
  • 58 Ibid., p4

25In Nick Cook’s work on performance in WAM, he suggests that the identity of a work exists “in the relation between its notation and the field of its performances.”54 He states that, although the composer’s text has a privileged role, it relates horizontally to the works other instantiations, its scores and performances. Cook summarises this as meaning that “the work does not exist ‘above’ the field of its instantiations, but is simply coterminous with its totality”55 and therefore the work is continuously evolving. This does not enable ‘work-free listening’ to occur, at least within the confines of WAM, because “however much you may be focussing on Rattle, it is almost impossible to entirely forget that you are listening to Mahler’s Ninth (or, if you don’t know what you’re listening to, wondering what it is).”56 Cook suggests that ‘work-free listening’ could occur within popular music, however, where he believes that performance values, rather than compositional ones, come to the fore. He believes that in the case of Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’ for example, “the work is still there … but [for the listener] performance values come to the fore… and there is a sense in which you might want to say it was a different song if another singer covered it.”57 This would relate to Zak and Gracyk’s ideas of the sounding-surface of the record (which usually appears to be a performance) being the autographic rock/pop work, as opposed to the allographic song structure. However, Cook also quotes Bruno Nettl, who said that “if there are such things as universals in music, a strong candidate is that “One does not simply ‘sing’, but one sings something.”58 This would imply that any listener in any field of music would understand a record as being a record of something, perhaps an allographic work, not just a self-sufficient performance or work in itself. For this reason, it seems that even within rock/pop, ‘work-free’ listening is unlikely to occur in the case of songs that the listener knows share the same musical material, such as cover versions. In his interpretation of the work as existing within a field of its instantiations, Cook seems to be providing a middle ground between the two work camps in popular music, one which allows for works operating within an intertextual framework and focuses on the listener’s experience.

  • 59 J. Treadwell, ‘Reading and Staging Again’ in Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2 (July 1998), p (...)
  • 60 Ibid., p209
  • 61 J. Treadwell, ‘Reading and Staging Again’, p213
  • 62 Ibid., p213
  • 63 Ibid., p213
  • 64 Ibid., p218

26Another writer on WAM who allows for works within an intertextual field is James Treadwell, who writes on interpreting staging of opera. His work could perhaps be adapted to account for the ontology of the interpretive cover version. Treadwell suggests that an opera should be “understood as a text to which criticism supervenes.”59 He goes on to say that, “Once the given work is understandable as a legible text, acts of interpretation and acts of production become analogous processes … staging turns out to be modelled on reading.”60 Looking at how Amos described her reworking of her covers, there seem to be parallels here with the interpretive cover version, which presents a ‘reading’ and a virtual performance of the original simultaneously. Treadwell goes on to argue that, “even if a production is founded on a rigorous and coherent critical study of the given libretto and score, this academic ‘reading’ will not be transmitted to the audience through the medium of theatre.”61 Once the opera director’s reading is performed, it “ceases to be a reading.”62 This is because, “[i]n the opera-house, we lose any sense of the work’s textuality. There is a world of difference between the printed score, which forms the object of the production team’s analysis, and the dynamic, diachronic flow of impressions presented to the audience.”63 In other words, to the audience, the reading has become a living, breathing performance. Instead of interpreting the staging of an opera as a director’s reading, audiences will interpret it in terms of their individual field of reference. Treadwell states that, for an audience, “[p]erformances are in dialogue with each other along a changing continuum”64 which leads to the creation of an intertextual field as follows:

  • 65 Ibid., p218

“Once a given scene is staged, that new story or new set of visual elements enters the repertory, and meanings begin to gather around it, not necessarily related to directorial intention or to a critical conception of what the work itself, in abstract, is about. Audience members make analogies between the performance and their general conception of the work, but this conception is enmeshed in other performances, even of other works.”65

27This analysis of the audience’s reaction seems very suited to the case of interpretive cover versions. In all the work on cover versions outlined above, nobody gives consideration to the fact that a listener may be unaware that they are listening to a cover, or, if they are aware, that they may not necessarily have heard the version to which it is related. I have shown in my analysis that Amos’s cover versions are very closely related to the originals in numerous ways, and as she herself said, are the result of a thorough exploration of the original songs. This seems to be analogous to Treadwell’s assertion that staging is modelled on reading. In this case, the cover is a reading of the original recording. However, unless the listener is as well acquainted as Amos no doubt became with the originals, then, as Treadwell points out, this reading is unlikely to be interpreted as such, as it is experienced as a ‘dynamic, diachronic flow of impressions presented to the audience.’

28There are close parallels between Treadwell’s treatment of opera as having two levels, the staging and the work (here the score and the libretto) and interpretive cover versions, which also have two levels, the original song on which they were based and the new recording. His point seems to be that, once an opera is staged, the staging takes on a life of its own, entering an intertextual field that is different for every audience member and which includes not just previous experiences of stagings of this particular work, but of others too. The conception of the work, and the interpretation of the status of any particular staging for the audience therefore also change over time according to their individual experiences. This also seems to apply to cover versions. Once a cover is released, it will be assessed in relation to each listener’s individual field of reference. For some it will be a work in its own right, for others a related work. It will not necessarily be listened to in terms of its original, as Zak, Gracyk and Middleton all suggest, because the original will not necessarily be part of the listener’s field of reference. The problems in recent scholarship have been a tendency to generalise. Every case has to be taken on its own merits, and even then every interpretation of its ontology will change according to the extent of the individual’s field of reference. The unwillingness to assess the cover version in its own right is similar to the tendency to ignore such works as variations, fantasias and transcriptions in WAM scholarship. Both cases seem to be related to the use of the work-concept as an evaluative judgement, instead of a classificatory one. Music that is based on a previous work, but is not an allographic instance of it, as a performance would be of a Beethoven score, has complicated ontological status that does not comfortably fit with the work-concept as commonly used. Instead of addressing this, music of this sort is relegated to inferior status to the originating work, no matter how inventive or revealing it may be, and because of this inferior status, is rarely studied to discover what kind of ontology it may actually have. Perhaps this is the real danger of the use of the historicized work-concept that Lydia Goehr warns about, and we should take heed and realise that a musical work can be many different things to different audiences, and that this does not mean that they are no longer works.

Appendixes

Appendix 1: Song outlines and Musical Examples for ‘’97 Bonnie & Clyde’

Song outlines

Eminem’s ‘’97 Bonnie and Clyde

Song structure

Musical examples

Repeats of phrases

Intro

Example 1 (minus drums)

1

Verse 1

Ex 1(drums enter)

2

Chorus

Ex 1

1

Verse 2

Ex 1

2

Chorus

Ex 1

1

Verse 3

Ex 1

2

Chorus (shortened)

Ex 1

1

Outro

Ex 1

1 and fade-out

Tori Amos’s ‘’97 Bonnie and Clyde

Song structure

Musical example

Repeats of phrases

Intro

Example 2

4

Verse 1

Ex 3

9

Chorus

Ex 2

3

Verse 2

Ex 3

9

Chorus

Ex 2

3

Verse 3

Ex 3 (& military drum)

9

Chorus (shortened)

Ex 2

3

Outro

N/A

N/A

Musical Examples for ’97 Bonnie & Clyde

All musical examples are approximate and act as a guide only

Example 1: Outline of the bassline and melody for Eminem

Example 1: Outline of the bassline and melody for Eminem

Example 2: Outline of bassline and upper strings for Tori Amos

Example 2: Outline of bassline and upper strings for Tori Amos

29Example 3: Outline of the melody used in Tori Amos’s chorus sections.

The notes related to Eminem’s melody are marked with arrows here and in Example 1.

Example 4: Comparison of Eminem’s and Tori Amos’s drumbeats
Eminem:

Example 4: Comparison of Eminem’s and Tori Amos’s drumbeatsEminem:

Appendix 2: Song outlines and Musical Examples for ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

1. Song outlines

Song outline for The Boomtown Rats ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Song Structure

Accompaniment

Texture

Bass notes

Phrase Length

Intro

Piano, full strings and timpani

Dramatic chords

E minor

12 bars

Verse 1

Piano only

1 bass note per bar, simple chord outlines

(Ex 1 bars 1-13)

Line 1

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 3

F, G, C, F

4 bars

Line 4

F, G

5 bars

Chorus 1

Piano, full strings and timps

Bass note every beat, agitated strings filling chords

(Ex 1 bars 14-23)

Line 1

C, B, A, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, B, F, G

4 bars

Interlude

Piano only

Striding bass

C major

Verse 2

Harmonised vocals, piano only

Striding bass, 2 bass notes per bar, chordal accompaniment with countermelodies

(Ex 1 bars 1-13)

Line 1

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 3

F, G, C, F

4 bars

Line 4

F, G

5 bars

Chorus 2 (as 1)

As chorus 1

As chorus 1

Interlude

Full strings and piano

Agitated chords

E minor

Piano alone

Tinkly (Ex 2)

C major

Verse 3

(Ex 1 bars 1-13)

Line 1

Piano and high plucked strings

Variation of ex 2, one bass note per bar

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 3

Full Strings and piano

Big chords, slow tempo, one bass note per bar

F, G, C, F

4 bars

Line 4

F, G

5 bars

Verse 1 reprise

Line 1

Piano and full strings

Full orchestral chords, 1 bass note per bar, tempo increasing

C, B, A, G

4 bars

Line 2

Piano, Gradual intro of full strings

As verse 2

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 3

F, G, C, F

4 bars

Line 4

F, G

5 bars

Chorus 3

Piano, full strings and timps

As choruses above, but with increasing string countermelodies

Line 1

C, B, A, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, B, A, G

4 bars

Line 3

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 4

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Outro

Piano and vocal oohs

Slowing tempo, tinkly piano

C major

Song Outline for Tori Amos’s ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Song Structure

Accompaniment

Texture

Bass notes

Phrase Length

Intro

Fender Rhodes keyboard and bass guitar

4 bass notes per bar, arpeggiations

C, G, A, F (see Ex 3)

12 bars

Verse 1

Fender Rhodes keyboard and bass guitar

1 bass note per bar, chord arpeggiations

(Ex 1 bars 1-13)

Line 1

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

5 bars

Line 3

F, G, C, F

5 bars

Line 4

F, G

5 bars

Chorus 1 Not included

Interlude Not included

Verse 2 Not included

Chorus 2

Fender Rhodes keyboard and bass guitar

1 bass note per bar, chord arpeggiations

(Ex 1 bars 1- 4)

Line 1

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 3

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 4

E, F

4 bars

Interlude

As Intro

As Intro

C, G, A, F

6 bars

Verse 3

Fender Rhodes keyboard and bass guitar

1 bass note per bar, chord arpeggiations

(Ex 1 bars 1-13)

Line 1

C, E, F, G

5 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

5 bars

Line 3

F, G, C, F

5 bars

Line 4

F, G

5 bars

Verse 1 (Reprise) Not included

Chorus 3 (extended)

Fender Rhodes keyboard and bass guitar

1 bass note per bar, chord arpeggiations

(Ex 1 bars 1- 4)

Line 1

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 2

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 3

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 4

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 5

Instr. version of previous line

C, E, F, G

4 bars

(Instr. Line)

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Line 6

C, E, F, G

4 bars

Outro

As Intro

As Intro

As Intro

8 bars

The verse and chorus numbers conform to those of the Boomtown Rats original so that it is clear what changes have been made.

Musical Examples

30All musical examples are approximate and act as a guide only

Example 1: Outline of the bassline from the Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Example 1: Outline of the bassline from the Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Example 2: The playground, childlike interlude from the Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Example 2: The playground, childlike interlude from the Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Example 3: The introduction to Tori Amos’s ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Example 3: The introduction to Tori Amos’s ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
Haut de page

Bibliographie

M. Bayton, ‘How Women Become Musicians’, pp238-257 in S. Frith & A. Goodwin (eds.), On Record: Rock, Pop and The Written Word, Routledge, London, 1990

H. Stith Bennett, ‘The Realities of Practice’, pp221-237 in S. Frith & A. Goodwin (eds.), On Record: Rock, Pop and The Written Word, Routledge, London, 1990

I. Carmon, ‘Tori’s Got a Gun’, Village Voice, October 3rd-9th, 2001

N. Cook, ‘Between Process and Product: Music and/as Performance’ in Music Theory Online, Vol 7, No. 2, April 2001, (http://boethius.music.ucsb.edu/mto/issues/mto.01.7.2/mto.01.7.2.cook.html)

J. D’Angelo, ‘Tori writes Scarlet letters, Draws tour map’, MTV.com News, 23rd November, 2002 (www.mtv.com/news/articles/1457694/20020923/story.jhtml)

R. Dawn, ‘Is Tori Amos bullshit?’, Alternative Press Magazine, October 2001

A. Falik, RollingStone.com, October 4th, 2001 (http://www.thedent.com/rscom100401.html)

L. Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992

T. Gracyk, Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock, I.B.Tauris & Co. Publishers, London, 1996

R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’, Washington Post, October 5th, 2001

W. Hermes, ‘Don’t Mess With Mother Nature’, Spin Magazine, October 2001

D. Horn, ‘Some Thoughts on the Work in Popular music’, pp14-34 in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality or Invention, Liverpool University Press, Trowbridge, 2000

K. Loder, ‘Eminem: Slim Shady Goes Home’, MTV.com News, 3rd January, 1999 (http://www.mtv.com/bands/archive/e/eminemfeature99-2.jhtml)

R. Middleton (ed.) Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music, Oxford University Press, London, 2000

R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice: Configuration of the Popular Music Intertext’, pp59-87 in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality or Invention, Liverpool University Press, Trowbridge, 2000

J. Treadwell, ‘Reading and Staging Again’ in Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2 (July 1998), pp205-220

P. Tagg, ‘’The Work’: An Evaluative Charge’, pp153-167 in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality or Invention, Liverpool University Press, Trowbridge, 2000

A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records, University of California Press, London, 2001

Websites

http://geocities.com/Area51/Shadowlands/4077/spencer.html

www.theboomtownrats.co.uk

Discography

Tori Amos, Strange Little Girls, 2001 Atlantic 7567-83486-2

The Beatles, ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ on The Beatles (commonly known as The White Album), 2003 Apple CDS7464438

The Boomtown Rats, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ on The Fine Art of Surfacing, 1979 Columbia

Eminem, ‘’97 Bonnie and Clyde’ on The Slim Shady LP, 1999 Interscope IND90321

Madonna ‘Material Girl’ on Like A Virgin, 2002 Warner 9362479012

Slayer, ‘Raining Blood’ on Reign in Blood, 2002 American 5867962

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Notes

1 D. Horn, ‘Some Thoughts on the Work in Popular music’ in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality or Invention, Liverpool University Press, Trowbridge, 2000, p15

2 L. Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992, p 285

3 Ibid., p 249

4 Ibid., p252

5 Ibid., p249

6 P. Tagg, ‘’The Work’: An Evaluative Charge’, pp153-167 in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality or Invention, Liverpool University Press, Trowbridge, 2000, p154

7 L. Goehr, Museum of Musical Works, p 20

8 Ibid., p250

9 D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p16

10 L. Goehr, Museum of Musical Works, p249

11 See for example R. Middleton (ed.) Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music, Oxford University Press, London, 2000, a collection of discussions of use of notation and analytical techniques in popular music.

12 R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice: Configuration of the Popular Music Intertext’, pp59-87 in M. Talbot (ed.), The Musical Work: Reality or Invention, Liverpool University Press, Trowbridge, 2000, p61

13 Ibid., p61

14 Ibid., p 77

15 Ibid., p77

16 Ibid., p77

17 Ibid., p77

18 Ibid., p77

19 See T. Gracyk, Rhythm and Noise: An Aesthetics of Rock, I. B.Tauris & Co. Publishers, London, 1996 and A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock: Cutting Tracks, Making Records, University of California Press, London, 2001

20 A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p21

21 Ibid., pp21-22

22 A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p24

23 Ibid., p24

24 Ibid., p24

25 Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p29

26 Ibid., p29

27 R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice’, p82

28 D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p30

29 See H. Stith Bennett, ‘The Realities of Practice’, pp221-237 and M. Bayton, ‘How Women Become Musicians’, pp238-257, both in S. Frith & A. Goodwin (eds.), On Record: Rock, Pop and The Written Word, Routledge, London, 1990. This is also mentioned in D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p30.

30 D. Horn, ‘Thoughts on the Work in Popular Music’, p30

31 A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p30

32 Ibid., pp30-31

33 R. Middleton, ‘Work-in-(g) Practice’, p83

34 Ibid., p83

35 Ibid., p83

36 W. Hermes, ‘Don’t Mess With Mother Nature’, Spin Magazine, October 2001

37 I. Carmon, ‘Tori’s Got a Gun’, Village Voice, October 3-9, 2001

38 K. Loder, ‘Eminem: Slim Shady Goes Home’, MTV.com News, 3rd January, 1999 (http://www.mtv.com/bands/archive/e/eminemfeature99-2.jhtml)

39 W. Hermes, ‘Don’t Mess With Mother Nature’

40 Eminem’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde’97’, verse 2

41 See A. J. Zak III, The Poetics of Rock, p84

42 R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’, Washington Post, October 5th, 2001

43 Eminem’s ‘Bonnie and Clyde ‘97’, verse 1

44 See http://geocities.com/Area51/Shadowlands/4077/spencer.html for a summary of the Brenda Spencer case, and www.theboomtownrats.co.uk for details of the genesis of the original song.

45 Boomtown Rats, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

46 R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’

47 Boomtown Rats, I Don’t Like Mondays, verse 1

48 Boomtown Rats, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays, verse 3

49 R. Dawn, ‘Is Tori Amos bullshit?’, Alternative Press Magazine, October 2001

50 R. Harrington, ‘Tori Amos Flips the Perspective’

51 A. Falik, RollngStone.com, October 4th, 2001 (http://www.thedent.com/rscom100401.html)

52 Ibid.

53 J. D’Angelo, ‘Tori writes Scarlet letters, Draws tour map’, MTV.com News, 23rd November, 2002 (www.mtv.com/news/articles/1457694/20020923/story.jhtml)

54 N. Cook, ‘Between Process and Product: Music and/as Performance’ in Music Theory Online, Vol 7, No. 2, April 2001, http://boethius.music.ucsb.edu/mto/issues/mto.01.7.2/mto.01.7.2.cook.html, p8

55 Ibid., p8

56 Ibid., p4

57 Ibid., p4

58 Ibid., p4

59 J. Treadwell, ‘Reading and Staging Again’ in Cambridge Opera Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2 (July 1998), pp205-220, p209

60 Ibid., p209

61 J. Treadwell, ‘Reading and Staging Again’, p213

62 Ibid., p213

63 Ibid., p213

64 Ibid., p218

65 Ibid., p218

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Table des illustrations

Titre Example 1: Outline of the bassline and melody for Eminem
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 9,0k
Titre Example 2: Outline of bassline and upper strings for Tori Amos
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 6,6k
Légende The notes related to Eminem’s melody are marked with arrows here and in Example 1.
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 2,8k
Titre Example 4: Comparison of Eminem’s and Tori Amos’s drumbeatsEminem:
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 2,2k
Titre Tori Amos:
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 1,2k
Titre Example 1: Outline of the bassline from the Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 3,3k
Titre Example 2: The playground, childlike interlude from the Boomtown Rats’ ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-7.png
Fichier image/png, 4,0k
Titre Example 3: The introduction to Tori Amos’s ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
URL http://volume.revues.org/docannexe/image/2826/img-8.png
Fichier image/png, 3,2k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Jan Butler, « Musical Works, Cover Versions and Strange Little Girls », Volume !, 7 : 1 | 2010, 42-72.

Référence électronique

Jan Butler, « Musical Works, Cover Versions and Strange Little Girls », Volume ! [En ligne], 7 : 1 | 2010, mis en ligne le 15 mai 2010, consulté le 29 mars 2017. URL : http://volume.revues.org/2826 ; DOI : 10.4000/volume.2826

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Auteur

Jan Butler

Jan Butler submitted her thesis entitled ‘Record Production And The Construction Of Authenticity In The Beach Boys And Late-Sixties American Rock’ for examination at University of Nottingham in December 2008 and is awaiting her viva. She has given papers on Jimi Hendrix and authenticity, the Beach Boys and record production and the use of cover versions in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge at musicological conferences. She is currently researching the development of rock journalism in the 1960s, is teaching the cultural study of music production on the Music Production BA at Leeds College of Music and is editorial assistant for twentieth century music.
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Droits d'auteur

L'auteur & les Éd. Mélanie Seteun

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