10 Songs That Make Intriguing Use of Samples

10 Songs That Make Intriguing Use of Samples

December 3rd 2019

10 Songs That Make Intriguing Use of Samples

Producers, musicians, and beatmakers have been using samples for decades now. You probably think you can spot a sample when you hear it, don’t you? You may be surprised to learn some of the biggest songs of the past 12 months featured some intriguing samples.

Lil Nas X – Old Town Road

Although first released in December 2018, it got its major-label released in 2019. Notable for its country-rap sound that caused debate where it should sit in the charts. It is also notable, curiously for the banjo-led sample from 34 Ghosts IV, an instrumental by Nine Inch Nails.

Camila Cabello – Liar

2019 was great for Camila Cabello, with the release of her second album, Romance. Liar was very Cabello-Esque, splicing Latin trap, flamenco, and a ska-pop-styled chorus. Did you spot the use of All That She Wants by Ace of Base and All Night Long (All Night) by Lionel Richie? Listen again.

Avicii – SOS

The dance music world was still mourning the passing of Avicii during 2019. His third, posthumous album, Tim was released. It came with a somber track called SOS, with vocals provided by Aloe Blacc and borrowed its Hook and melody from the TLC smash-hit No Scrubs, with Blacc suggesting “I don’t need no drugs”.

Ariana Grande – 7 Rings

Ms. Grande used My Favorite Things by Rodgers and Hammerstein from The Sound of Music as the driving melody for the verses on 7 Rings, a song about what the singer would treat her friends too instead of men.

Maroon 5 – Memories

We had to mention Maroon 5, thanks to the interesting use of Pachelbel’s Canon by Johann Pachelbel in Memories. This is a heartfelt tribute to their manager, who sadly died in 2017 and features a melody and harmonic sequence based around that piece of music. It’s rather beautiful.

The Chemical Brothers – Got To Keep On

The Chemical Brothers know their way around a solid beat and a sample. After all, they’ve been doing it for more than 30 years now. Got to Keep On featured two strange samples you wouldn’t think would go together. Some seriously funky disco in the form of Peter Brown’s Dance With Me and some poetry by Rod McKuen. Weird, but works.

James Blake – Can’t Believe the Way We Flow

On the introspective Can’t Believe We The Way We Flow, there is a trippy, but a pretty mix of his imitable vocals with those of Motown group The Manhattans from It Feels So Good to Be Loved So Bad. Blake has always been a master at creating moody soundscapes and this is no exception.

Stormzy – Vossi Bop

What didn’t Stormzy do in 2019? Headlined Glasto, had another huge smash of a record and released this blinder of a banger. Interestingly, it features what is widely regarded as one of the most sampled breaks in history, Leslie West’s Long Red. What is it with the 70’s rock and hip-hop?

KH – Only Human

KH/Kieran Hebden is better known as Four Tet always seems to be busy. Only Human was known before it was officially released and was only delayed while he waited for clearance to use the sample of Nelly Furtado’s beautiful voice from her track Afraid.

Caribou – Home

It’s been a while since we heard anything from Canadian Dan Snaith under the guise of Caribou. In 2019 we were treated to Home. As short as it is sweet, it makes wonderful use of a Gloria Barnes song of the same name.

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