Sunday, April 2, 2017

Finally, A Protest Song | Lefsetz Letter

Max Martin decided to give back.

After dominating the airwaves for two decades with ear candy sans meaning he thought it was time to turn a corner, to go for the brass ring, to emerge from the slum and become not only an icon, but a legend.

Therefore, he hooked up with Bob Dylan.

No lie. The triple-disc standards package is a fake-out, a diversion, no different from “Self Portrait” decades back. I’ll admit, I fell for the scam, but now that I’ve heard the new track I’m doing a mea culpa, Zimmy still has it, he was paying attention always and just needed a nudge from Max to prove his dominance.

Did you read the Martin interview?

You should.

“World exclusive: Max Martin, #1 hitmaker”

Max packs his tracks with hooks. Which is why he triumphs and you don’t. My inbox is inundated with wannabes, who don’t realize that greatness is the sole criterion, and that you must be able to get a song after one second, multiple plays are just gravy.

So it all transpired after the Grammys. Credit the organization for getting everybody in town. And for a minute there, instead of getting everybody together a la Quincy Jones and “We Are The World,” there was the thought to do it virtually, with everybody logged in on Skype, but there’s a vibe and an energy when people are together so the action took place in a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, so everybody could fly out private when it was completed. NetJets provided transport for those who don’t have their own planes, because the Berkshire Hathaway company also wanted to give back.

But first was the track.

Then came the lyrics.

It’s true, it’s true, Dylan worked with Max’s posse. But the secret sauce was Dr. Luke, back from the dead, recovering from the Kesha fiasco. He concocted the beats and Max just tuned them, with help from Shellback and all the rest of the usual suspects. Luke sees this as his comeback venture. Will the public forgive him?


As for the turn of the phrase, the icing on the cake, the zingers, the song doctor in this case was James McMurtry, the iconoclastic troubadour responsible for the last great protest hit, “We Can’t Make It Here.” They met through McMurtry’s dad, Larry. Dylan has known the writer forever.

But the lead singer is Justin Bieber.

Adele is out, she wasn’t called, this is positively an American venture, and, for the record, Max lives in L.A., as does seemingly everybody else outside of the country world, funny how the richies have taken over Manhattan and the city’s lost culture in the process.

Pissed that he was not called to headline Coachella, Bieber insisted on singing the first verse. As for the rest…

Yes, there were some usual suspects, the people Max has worked with before. Katy Perry does a turn, but wait until you hear Kelly Clarkson, she hasn’t been this good since she’s been gone. And an interesting fillip is Max called Howie from the Backstreet Boys, and they pulled in their new duet partners, Florida Georgia Line. The Dixie Chick era is over, everybody’s pissed about what’s happening in D.C. Everybody wants clean air and privacy. So Nashville is on board. Will radio play the record? Maybe not at first, but this could be the first reverse crossover, going from pop to country, we’ll see.

And Bob Pittman and John Sykes are leading the charge, they’ve committed each and every iHeart station to banging the record from the get-go. They’ve got a one week exclusive. Jimmy Iovine bid for one for Apple, but then Troy Carter said Spotify would boycott the track so there is no streaming exclusive. As for radio first, that’s part of the agenda, everybody in the business is still inured to the old game so they decided to begin there, for however big Drake’s “More Life” playlist is, it does not dominate radio, not yet, and this track is all about domination, the goal is to wake up the Trump voters and make them realize their mistake.

That’s right, Max and Bob are taking a stand. Max is worried about his green card, but doing what’s right is more important, what a change from the pussies of the past two decades, who put money first. And speaking of pussies, Taylor Swift begged off. There is no truth to the rumor that she was too busy with photographers, plotting a social media splurge for her birthday, but it is disappointing she wouldn’t take a stand. Then again, Katy Perry is now wide awake, and she said if Taylor was involved, she was out.

The track debuts Monday night, during the March Madness finale.

Yes, there is a sponsor. Did you think the musicians were gonna cough up the dough for the commercial?

But it’s Starbucks, a longtime music-centric company that has invested in causes previously.

So the name of the song is…

“What Do You Mean The Answer Is Blowin’ In The Wind?”

I know, I know, it’s unwieldy.

Actually, the true title is “Blow It Out Your Ass,” but despite the President’s crotch-grabbing they didn’t think they could get away with it, kind of like how the Stones retitled that track “Star Star” instead of “Starf…..”

And the words excoriate Agent Orange, go after him physically, just like he has with women.

Sean Spicer, Nunes, they’re all in there. No punches are pulled, because unlike the Democratic Party, Max and Bob know there are new rules and nothing is politically incorrect. The public can handle the truth.

Now two weeks hence a hip-hop version will emerge. And no, it won’t be on Jay Z’s Tidal, it’s gonna be done by Migos on YouTube, that’s what Lyor’s been cooking up in his days at the Googleplex. The goal is to have the biggest video of all time, even eclipsing PSY’s “Gangnam Style.”

And a month after that…

It’s gonna be an add-on on “Hamilton.” After every performance, on the soundtrack, BIOYA is going Broadway, so even those not teenagers, who don’t listen to the radio, will be exposed.

There is no album. Come on, only old farts care about long players.

And there are no old farts involved other than Bob, who is young at heart. Believe me, they all called, worked the phones since they don’t know how to use Slack, but they were rebuffed. Forget inclusiveness, it didn’t work for Hillary and the Dems and it won’t work now.

So get ready, unlike the new Lorde track, it’s a one listen smash. With a tune you’ll be humming and words you’ll be singing for years. Even Guitar Center is in on the mania, they’re gonna give away a home studio to the amateur who does the best cover.

But I don’t want to reveal every marketing quirk.

But one thing’s for sure, the Koch Brothers are not involved, Robert Mercer either, for the first time in a long time musicians are saying no, leaving money on the table, doing what’s right as opposed to what’s expedient.

And as a result the public will resonate and harmony will reign. Music will become the most powerful art form once again and Kanye will be President.

Er, no.

Yeezy is not involved, his ego was just too large.

Funny who was left out, Rick Rubin too.

But the word is they’re all behind Mark Cuban. He’s the next President. He’s warmer and fuzzier than Trump and everybody knows his name from TV and Dylan loves the Mavericks, go figure.


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