August 10th, 2011

Here’s the way music recommendations, whether algorithmic or human, usually work: “If you like [well-known artist] you might also like [lesser-known artist].” I’m a total jerk, though, so here’s how they work sometimes for me: “If you like [lesser-known, maybe even obscure, artist”] you will also like [thing you have heard many times before by famous artist likely responsible for the other thing sounding like it does]. Or, to put it another way: Today, Bill Withers’s “Lovely Day” came on. I thought to myself, “Hey, this is kind of sweet. It sounds a lot like Clifford Coulter’s The Better Part of Me”. The Better of Part Me might be my favorite modern soul-ish record. It’s from 1980, and produced by Bill Withers. “Lovely Day” is 1977. I know it backward and forward, and for a while thought I was sick of it. Then I realized how much it owes to this later, lesser Withers production, and the sky opened up before me.