Monday, December 28, 2009

Studio Alchemy

Andy Kim, the pride of Montreal's Little Lebanon*, co-wrote the Archies' Sugar Sugar, cementing his legacy in the annals of pop music. Not content to bask in the glory of a pitch-perfect pop music concoction, he shot to number one on the charts with 1974's Rock Me Gently, a Neil Diamond-ish pop ditty that I've got a soft spot for.

Tommy Sparks, a Swedish song-writer, is familiar to anybody with a TV, as being responsible for the song She's Got Me Dancing, currently featured in an Apple iPhone television spot. The song's actually a two-headed monster - one, the guitar line cribbed from The Ohio Player's Love Rollercoaster, and the other the bastardized over-produced post-punk shimmy and shake of Franz Ferdinand. But, like Chairlift, don't hold that against him.

Let's leave Tommy's paycheque alone, and discuss a better song - Miracle. Being Swedish, Tommy Sparks is well-versed in studio alchemy - the myriad of tricks and techniques from which pure pop gold is made. In this case, it's the strummed acoustic guitar over-top a traditional rock band set-up. (Could this explain a weakness for OMC's How Bizarre?) The Embassy, also Swedish, are perfect masters of this trick, but I also think it was employed quite handily (and best) by Tony Visconti in his production work in the 70's with David Bowie and T. Rex.

* There's no Little Lebanon.

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