Tag Archives: Akon

BEHIND THE GROOVE: Better Off A Clone

That beat hits "Hard".

That beat hits “Hard”.

He may not create the most original production numbers, but somehow, he manages to keep cranking out the hits with no stop in sight. That would be the work of 45-year-old David Guetta, the DJ and producer originally from Paris, France. He’s collaborated with the top names in music, becoming one of the most recognizable names on the pop scene today. His latest single, “Play Hard”, features R&B singer Akon and Ne-Yo. It’s already charted internationally, with top ten peaks in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, just to name a few of the countries. Now, it’s headed for the United States this summer. “Hard” is based around a dance sample that you may recognize that also has some roots in the 80’s pop scene. Let’s go behind the groove and see how this record was spun together.

The vocal sample:
“Here Comes The Rain Again”, Eurythmics (#4, 1984)
Annie Lennox and David Stewart made quite a name for themselves in the 1980’s, forming as Eurythmics in 1980 after splitting from their bands at the time. The two are best known for their 1983 single, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”. It went to #1 on the Hot 100 in the fall. “Here Comes The Rain Again” was the third chart single for the duo, which mixed new wave production with the strings of a disco record, marrying them into a dramatic pop sound. The song debuted on the national charts just after the new year in 1984, peaking at #4 in late March and became their second biggest hit behind “Dreams”. They last hit the Hot 100 in 1989 with a minor single, though they’ve reunited on two occasions after taking a hiatus in 1990 to small sales. Both have also seen solo success, most notably for Lennox in the mid-90’s.

Followed by:
“Better Off Alone”, Alice Deejay (#27, 2000)
This group out of the Netherlands consisted of a pack of disc jockeys and producers, as well as one singer, Judith Pronk, who is heard on this recording and throughout their sole album, Who Needs Guitars Anyway? The group interpolated one phrase out of “Rain”, the simple “talk to me”, which was plucked out of the line “Talk to me like lovers do.” Combined with one other line, “Do you think you’re better off alone?”, and a thumping post-disco production, “Better Off Alone” became an international smash for the group. While it got a lot of play in major cities here in the United States, it didn’t catch on on a national level, and only peaked at #27 on the Hot 100 that summer. “Back In My Life”, the followup single to it, got limited mainstream airplay and a top 30 peak on the Dance/Club Play Chart. They broke up in 2002.

Samplers:
“Say Yeah”, Wiz Khalifa (#119, 2008)
After putting out a few mixtapes and independent albums, rapper Khalifa signed to Warner Brothers Records in 2007. “Say Yeah” was the first song to sample Alice Deejay‘s dance ditty, looping the instrumental part of it, but with little promotion, the song bubbled under the Hot 100 at #111 before falling off the radar. It was his only single to be released with the label as the two parties had disputes over promoting what would have been his major label record, First Flight. After parting with them in 2009, he soon signed to Atlantic Records and went to #1 on the Hot 100 with “Black And Yellow” in 2011. Though it appears the promotion of his latest album, O.N.I.F.C., has been halted after two singles, he still appears as a featured artist on Sean Kingston‘s newest release, “Beat It”, which also features Chris Brown.

“Play Hard”, David Guetta featuring Akon and Ne-Yo (2013)
Now, we come to 2013 and find this collaboration. David Guetta has been hitting in the U.S. charts since 2008 to varied success with an array of solo males and females. Guetta’s 2011 album, Nothing But The Beat, has been rereleased two times since it first came out. Five singles from that original album made it onto the Hot 100, including top ten hits with Nicki Minaj, Sia and Usher. A second collaboration with Sia from the 2.0 edition failed here several months ago, and now this seventh overall single from it goes to radio in about two and a half weeks. Akon, our favorite screeching cat, hasn’t gone top ten in three years – since the last song he did with Guetta, “Sexy Chick”. Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You” went to #4 late last year, but a followup single failed, so it’s a mixed bag here. Stay tuned to see what happens with this.

For more on your favorite music, from sampling to singles to statistics, keep it here on the blog or follow me on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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