ARTIST OF THE WEEK: LUKE COMBS “FAST CAR”
Sometimes a cover stretches across the ages, connecting an old hit song to a new vision that reinvigorates the original. That is what country superstar Luke Combs has done with Tracy Chapman’s pop masterpiece Fast Car. There have been so many versions throughout the years, an EDM version, Sam Smith, even Justin Bieber did one, but they never blew up like this. So what is all the fuss about? Does it deserve to be a bigger success than the original, charting at number 2 versus number 6 with stratospheric streaming numbers? Add that Combs is a white male covering a song by a black openly lesbian protest singer, and on paper it defies logic.
In an interview, Combs said he just threw the song on the record and is as surprised as anyone that it blew up. He explains that his dad played it in the car and that he knew it was a hit song before he even knew what a hit song was. He is right about that. Fast Car is considered one of the greatest pop songs ever written.
The original, even though it had elements of hope, dealt with the inevitable erosion of dreams. Chapman’s voice and mournful delivery gave the listener the feeling that disaster was just around the corner. This latest version, because of Combs’ voice and power, casts a new eye on the lyrics. Combs is down, but he is not out. He is no a victim. When he leans in to the chorus with his gruff, full-bellied baritone, Fast Car sheds the hopelessness of the 80s behind and replaces it with defiance. And with a voice like Combs’ what else could the outcome be but victory.
AD OF THE WEEK: FIAT “OPERATION NO GREY”
As of today, FIAT stops producing grey cars. The decision was made to enhance the importance of colours in life, embodying the Italian way of living and reaffirming the Brand’s New Dolce Vita value. In the ad, FIAT CEO Olivier Francois gets into a grey car and is then submerged into a giant can of orange paint in the middle of a town square. He managed to get the window up in time but I wonder if the paint oozed through the anyway. FIAT’s latest brand building advertisement has been well-reviewed, reaching the top 5% of UK car ads. TWIM looks forward to seeing what colours FIAT sends off the assembly line. Solid work from Leo Burnett Italia.
OWL CHICKS DISCOVERED BENEATH GLASTONBURY’S PYRAMID STAGE
Two baby owls, called Axl and Slash, were found camping beneath Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage last weekend.
Axl was discovered first by an attendee who spotted the chick towards the left side of the stage, underneath Guns N’ Roses’ Saturday night two hour headline slot.
The owl was named after Guns N Roses’ frontman Axl Rose, and was initially taken to RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife near Taunton, before being transferred to a Somerset based wildlife charity Secret World Wildlife Rescue.
THE NEW TOOL FINDS AND MATCHES SAMPLES FROM THE PLATFORM’S VAST ARCHIVE.
Online sample library Splice now offers an AI tool.
Splice Create uses AI to search through more than 1.9 million samples on the platform and find creative ways to put them together. Users select from 12 possible musical genres and Create will pick four loops from Splice’s library that have been tuned to the same key and tempo. You can then swap loops in and out, mute and solo them, change their tempo or build up more layers of sound by adding more samples.
Up to eight loops can be stacked together, with samples grouped into buckets such as pads, chords, vocals, brass and keys. One or all of the samples can then be downloaded as audio stems or exported directly as an Ableton set.
Unlike many of the AI music tools entering the market, Create doesn’t use AI to generate any sounds or music. Instead, the AI is used to help search and sort through Splice’s archive in a creative way.
Splice hopes the new feature will make it easy for users to discover samples, sketch out ideas and find a starting point for their creative process. The feature is free to use, though you pay for any samples you export.
A SOUND-ABSORBING WALLPAPER INSPIRED BY A MOTH’S WINGS IS COMING
A professor at the University of Bristol is working on a sound-absorbing wallpaper inspired by a moth’s wings.
In a video posted to TikTok on 15th June, Professor Marc Holdereid explains that the research was sparked by moths’ evolutionary evasion of bats, describing their wings — made up of variegated scales that vibrate at their own frequency and absorb sound — as their “secret weapon”.
“Now that is remarkable as it is,” he said, “but this is also an acoustic metamaterial which means the performance of the whole wing is better than the contributing parts of all the constituting scales. And that makes them about 10 times as efficient at absorbing sound than any of our sound absorbers.
Holdereid and his team of researchers worked with the UK’s national synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, whose imaging of the wings played a “crucial role” in the findings.
According to Diamond Light Source, the goal is to improve living conditions as such moth-inspired sound absorbers can be 90% thinner and lighter than existing solutions, bringing exotic materials like sound absorbing wallpaper in reach.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional research and reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf