You’ve probably heard Lupe Fiasco’s new hit “The Show Goes On”. What you may or may not know, is that it samples the riff from Modest Mouse’s single “Float On”.
There are no doubt many devoted indie kids or Modest Mouse fans who are upset about this fact. I’m not upset Lupe sampled the track, however do feel strongly about other aspects of the situation.
Modest Mouse no doubt allowed Mr Fiasco to sample their song. If he had stolen it, there would have been a legal storm surrounding it all. The fact that Lupe Fiasco is using the sample is not an issue with me – all musicians involved have kept their integrity. If Isaac Brock and co are happy with the sampling of “Float On” and the outcome, then so should everyone else.
The issue I have is that the wider population who hear “The Show Goes On” on commercial radio, probably have no idea where that great riff came from. It would not be a widely known fact that Lupe borrowed the melody from other musicians. And this affects me because MM are, in general terms, an independent band. Yes, they’re much more popular now amongst the alternative scene, but they’re still independent and not being flogged by commercial radio.
So when a melody of theirs is used so prominently in a song, and so many people are completely oblivious to it, it annoys me.
It annoys me, because so many people absorbed by commercial radio and terrible auto-tuned pop (in all honesty I’m not having a swipe at Lupe here) are so intolerant towards any other music. I’ve met people, and when I try and introduce them to something new, they basically reject it in their minds before they’ve even heard it.
“I don’t know this band or song,” they think. “Therefore they/it can’t be that good.”
Their minds are closed off.
Except, of course, when it is played hundreds of times over by mainstream radio. “Oh! The new Lupe song! I love this song, it’s so catchy!”
I’d wager that if someone had introduced the people who like the new Lupe song to “Float On” when it was released, most people would have dismissed it. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I honestly think they would just pass it off as some other “unknown band who aren’t cool”. And that’s what irritates me.
It irritates me that as soon as it’s presented in a mass-marketed mainstream track, Modest Mouse’s melody becomes popular, whilst being attributed to another artist. It annoys me that people think “Wow, isn’t this great!”, yet have no idea that people have been loving that combination of notes for years beforehand.
What annoys me most, is that after being told this information, most people probably wouldn’t care one bit. They wouldn’t think to expand their musical tastes. They wouldn’t try to be more tolerant of independent music. They wouldn’t look for these amazing songs and riffs themselves.
Most people simply wouldn’t care.