Set Task 4: Yousemes

Select one song and highlight your understanding of the musemes function within track…


The track I feel highlights my understanding of the musemes function is ‘Dive’ by Ed Sheeran. I’m not an avid listener of Sheeran, however, I remember hearing a lot of the new songs off his most recent album ‘¸’ and thinking that they all sound quite different: almost like he’s written 16 songs (deluxe version) to be 16 singles rather than a coherent album. This caught my interest as it made me think perhaps he’s been a lot more intentional with a lot of his instrumentation/lyrics/production than some other artists so there could be some good examples of musemes. For example, the Marimba-fuelled percussive sway introducing ‘Shape of You’ as a tropical house, dancehall track unlike Sheeran’s perhaps more traditional reputation as a singer/writer with an acoustic guitar.

Dive starts with an electric guitar and simple drum rhythm which immediately reminded me of another song. The tone of the electric guitar and swing of the song instantly took me to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Bold as Love’ recording live at Olympic Studios.

The style and tone of guitar is very similar (electric blues and wah wah pedal?) and the sounds of the drum rhythm remind me of Otis Redding’s ‘These arms of mine’. The performance of the vocals, particularly the low first line and structure of the lyrics also reminds me of Otis Redding.

I feel like Sheeran has used a lot of 60’s influence’s within this song but has also put his spin on it. It immediately takes me to the world of one of my favourite films ‘The Boat that rocked’, a film based on a pirate radio station in the 60’s laced with some of the best 60’s tracks including Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix.

What I did find strange when listening to Sheeran’s track ‘Dive’ was how it could make me feel uncomfortable as well as invoking the soothing nostalgia of one of my favourite films and thoughts of those great 60’s tracks. As Sheeran has put his spin on the Hendrix inspired guitar intro, it brought my attention to ‘Rules of Attraction’, a song by Joe Brooks.

When first listening to ‘Dive’, within the first 20 seconds I had already pre-judged it and thought of my pessimism towards ‘Rules of Attraction’. ‘Rules of Attraction’ is extremely similar to Hendrix’s ‘Bold as Love’ and made me think badly of Joe Brooks for creating something which is almost a copy and calling it his own (in terms of the guitar in his track).

It’s very interesting how just by listening to the first 20 seconds of Sheeran’s track I had mixed emotions of nostalgia and discomfort and had also already predicted what the rest of the song would be like because I quite like 60’s music. Although I believe the song ‘Dive’ is full of particular stacked musemes with connotations of the 60’s etc, I find it fascinating is how someone else could have picked up these musemes and interpreted them in a completely different way to me.


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