The Web: Part Deux
Today I would like to discuss collaborations. As mentioned previously, they have a tremendous effect on both the size of this web of artists I am weaving and the success of the music coming out of it. But first, I must conclude my journey into the works of each individual member of The Strokes before I can move on.
Last, but most certainly not least, we have Nikolai Fraiture. Once again, he produces music in which I can hear familiarities within the works of The Strokes as a whole. His side project Nickel Eye offers a more stripped down and folky sound. The band includes Joel Cadbury on steel guitar, Jamie McDonald on guitar, and Brett Shaw on drums. Nikolai assumes a much larger roll playing guitar, bass, double bass, and harmonica as well as lead vocals. The debut album The Time of the Assassins was released in 2009. Although the project has been put on hold due to work with The Strokes, Nickolai said he is excited to return to the project.
While side projects may in many ways be collaborations in themselves, the members of The Strokes have also taken part in one-off partnerships with a variety of artists. First off, and most notably in my book, is a track recorded with the vocally talented Regina Spektor. On the B-Side of The Strokes' most famed single Reptilia (2003) is a collaborated track Modern Girls and Old Fashioned Men. The track is amazing and features a fabulous duet with Regina and Julian.
Another B-Side of The Strokes featured a collaboration. This time with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. The B-side of their single You Only Live Once (2006) featured a cover of Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). Once again, two iconic voices together make a unique and rememberable track.
Julian Casablacan himself has also done several collaborations with other artists. He featured on the track Little Girl (2010) with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. Another of his collaborations that seems more odd than the others: Pharrell and Santigold. Yeah, I know. Weird, right? Well, they were all put in the studio together by Converse for a promotion. The single that came out of it is called My Drive Thru (2008). Throwing Julian's amazing voice and electro tendencies into the world of hip-hop and pop actually turned out pretty awesome. The track isn't as weird as you would think.
He also has worked with bigger name artists- most recently contributing to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories (2013). He featured on Instant Crush. Julian also hilariously featured on The Lonely Island's Boombox in 2010. Like everything else The Lonely Island does, it's fabulous.
Albert Hammond, Jr. has also done his fair share of collaborations. In 2005, he did a one song collab with Ben Kweller of Ben Kweller fame, for a tribute to The Beatles' Rubber Soul (1965). They covered the song Wait. I couldn't find much info on the topic, but I do know that Albert also worked on a Vaccines album.
And, all of that brings us to the weirdest collaboration of this entire post. Ke$ha. I never thought I would ever actually include an artist on this blog who has a dollar sign in her name, but here we are. It's the future, people. Or something like that. Although they are not credited on the track, Julian Casablancas and Fab Moretti apparently worked on Only Wanna Dance With You from her album Warrior (2012). You can totally tell, too. The first like 10 seconds are almost laughably similar to The Strokes' Last Nite (2001). Although it's a much simpler take on The Strokes' sound, up until her voice kicks in around 20 seconds into the song, you kind of question what you are actually listening to. Give it a listen and you will know what I'm saying.
Needless to say, collaborations bring artists of all genres together in a pretty amazing way. It proliferates the amount of possibilities in the industry and gives us some awesome music that we wouldn't have had any other way.
On Friday, I've decided to finish up this case study by talking about influences and influencers because it can have an even greater impact on the music we get to hear. In many cases, it has made the artists we can't get enough of worthy of not being able to get enough of. If not only to further prove my point about the interconnectedness of the industry, it will give an interesting look at how sound can evolve based on its environment.
Until then, happy listening.