Show 296: Hits and the Teenage Brain, Duets
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1 What if you could predict a hit? It’s a music industry dream (or nightmare depending on how you look at it.) New research from Emory University suggests that the answers might lie in our brains. Dr. Gregory Berns and his team have discovered that teens have tell-tale brain responses when listening to hit songs, and that could help predict a song’s commercial success. He explains to Jim and Greg that the discovery was an accident. After conducting MRI studies on teens listening to MySpace music, he noted that one of the tracks, One Republic’s “Apologize” became an American Idol hit years later. Strong activity in two brain regions could predict hits about 1/3 of the time. Weak activity was even better at predicting non-hits. And brain responses in those regions were better predictors of song success than whether the participants said they liked or disliked any given song. Jim and Greg aren’t teens, but wonder if their work could be made easier with MRI technology.
2 Like peas and carrots, and Jim and Greg, some things are better in twos. That especially goes for voices. There’s something special about a great Duet, so this week our own duo play their favorites.
Simon and Garfunkel, "The Only Living Boy in New York"
Method Man and Mary J. Blige, "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By” (Puff Daddy Mix)
Mickey & Sylvia, “Love Is Strange”a
The Jayhawks, “Blue”
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, “Onion Song”
Led Zeppelin featuring Sandy Denny, “The Battle of Evermore”
Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan, “Fairytale of New York”
Iggy Pop and Kate Pierson, “Candy”b
a Greg likes this song despite Dirty Dancing, not because of it. And who knew Sylvia was this Sylvia?
b Kate Pierson takes the prize when it comes to duets. Check out her performances with Michael Stipe and David Byrne.
Songs Featured in Show #296
The Make-Up, “Gold Record Pt. I,” Sound Verite, K, 1997
OneRepublic, “Apologize,” Dreaming Out Loud, Interscope, 2007
Trent Reznor feat. Karen O, “Immigrant Song,” Unreleased, 2011
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, “Some Velvet Morning,” Nancy & Lee, Boots, 1968
Simon & Garfunkel, “The Only Living Boy in New York,” Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sony Music Distribution, 1970
Sonny & Cher, “I Got You Babe,” Look at Us, Sundazed, 1965
Marvin Gaye, “The Onion Song (w/Tammi Terrell),” The Very Best of Marvin Gaye, Motown, 2004
Method Man, “I’ll Be There for You/You’reAll I Need to Get By [Puff Daddy Mix]” I’ll Be There For You [EP], Def Jam, 1995
Led Zeppelin, “The Battle of Evermore,” Led Zeppelin IV, Atlantic, 1971
Mickey & Sylvia, “Love Is Strange,” Oldies But Goodies: Legendary Hits, Original Sound Entertainment, 1979
Pet Shop Boys, “What Have I Done to Deserve This?,” Actually, EMI Music Distribution, 1987
PJ Harvey, “This Mess We’re In,” Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, Island, 2000
The Pogues, “Fairytale of New York,” If I Should Fall from Grace with God, Island, 1988
The Jayhawks, “Blue,” Tomorrow the Green Grass, Universal Distribution, 1995
Iggy Pop, “Candy,” Brick by Brick, Virgin, 1990
Sam & Dave, “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” Hold On, I’m Comin’, Atlantic, 1966
Wilson Pickett, “634-5799 (Soulsville, USA),” The Exciting Wilson Pickett, Collectables, 1966
tUnE-yArDs, “Powa (Live on Sound Opinions),” w h o k i l l, 4AD, 2011
Common, “ I Used to Love H.E.R.,” Resurrection, Ruthless, 1994
Miles Davis, “Black Satin,” On the Corner, Columbia/Legacy, 1972
The Coasters, “Young Blood,” The Coasters, Atco, 1958