Recently while listening to FreshFM I heard Supermode’s Tell Me Why. Normally FreshFM would not be the kind of station I listen to but but a good friend of mine works there and I was trying to catch her on air.
Supermode’s track is nothing but a mashup of Bronski Beat‘s 1984 hits Smalltown Boy and Tell Me Why. It demonstrates a complete lack of talent on behalf of the “artists” as nothing original was added except a boring go-kart themed film clip. I could have written a better remix of Smalltown Boy when I was fifteen.
In fact, that’s exactly what I did do.
You can listen to it here. Don’t judge my songwriting skills too harshly. I was young at the time and besides, that’s what techno sounded like in 1995, when it was still called techno. I wrote it on a piece of software called Fast Tracker 2, as in those days we didn’t have the likes of Reason. Fast Tracker 2 ran in DOS mode. I got it off a fellow nerd at high school back when “peer to peer file sharing” meant swapping a stack of three and a half inch diskettes during recess.
I’d spend hours looking at FT2‘s pixellated interface. It really was a glorious piece of software, simple to use but a powerful tool for producing sample based music. I would listen to the demo songs it came with in awe, watching the notes tick down the screen, admiring the layers and layers of sound economically produced in only eight channels. By comparison my own songs were simple and cheesy, but it was a good demonstration of how new technology could give you an instant outlet for your musical aspirations. Rather than painstakingly learning an instrument, I could simply edit the notes in the tracker and play them at will.
Some would say lowering the barriers to entry has decreased the quality of music in general, but I would not agree. The technology to create Supermode’s track – the play button – has existed for quite some time. I’m afraid Tell Me Why is just another example of an old song being re-released for a younger audience, with the obligatory phat beat thrown in for good measure. What irks me is how much money they are making off of it.
Then again, maybe my remix will make me a millionaire…