Latto has a strong case for song of the year with her infectious track “Big Energy.” The song’s main sample may ring a bell and it’s one that has an incredibly fascinating backstory.
LISTEN NOW: The 80’s Jam that gives Latto and Mariah Carey ‘Big Energy’
The latest episode of the Switched On Pop podcast saw hosts Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding break down the Latto single as it traced its lineage all the way back to a 1981 song from Tom Tom Club. Tom Tom Club was the side project from Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth as their 1981 single “Genius of Love” has had an incredible ripple effect.
It’s a song that’s been sampled by many artists before, perhaps most recognizably in the Mariah Carey single “Fantasy.” The song works so well across numerous genres, which lends to its longevity and repeated use as a sample. “That is a song that also merged the sounds of Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, and Funk,” Sloan said. “There’s also a legacy of a sort of cultural musical mashup embedded in this sample. Just like Latto gives Mariah Carey a shout out in ‘Big Energy,’ so does Mariah Carey give a shout out to the original sample here in the bridge of ‘Fantasy,’” Sloan said.
Frantz and Weymouth created a song that’s been sampled by the likes of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Mark Morrison, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, and countless others. “Genius of Love has this incredible sonic afterlife through all these musicians referencing different parts of the groove, from the drum beat, to the synth line, to the chord progression, and the lyrics.” Sloan added.
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Switched On Pop is a podcast all about the making and meaning of popular music. Musicologist Nate Sloan & songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture.