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This one is perhaps a bit of a cheat, since I know Kanye West is involved, and I have at least some idea of what genre he is considered. Then again, the only song of his I've actually heard was just a Daft Punk number over which he rapped (poorly). I also know he collaborated with Jon Brion, so, as far as I know, his albums may be full of strings and harmoniums (harmonii?).

I started in on the lyrics and came up with a melody and song structure pretty quickly, only to realize that it only applied to the first verse and chorus. Subsequent verses displayed so little concern for rhyme or meter, I have to assume they were spoken, instead of sung. I mangled them into the structure I had as best I could, but then I realized that, even with only two verses, the song was running to about four minutes. Rather than make this a twelve minute epic, I decided to chop off everything but the first and last verse, since they fit the meter the best.

For instrumentation, I started with just ukulele, then added in banjo and guitar. One of the more pleasant discoveries I had in this recording session was that my guitar sounds significantly less muddy when recorded through the crummy, built-in mic on the laptop than it does through the fancy condenser mic. After the strings, I added in some organ and accordion. I went back and forth a few times on whether it needed drums, but, in the end, decided it did.

Thoughts After Listening to the Original:

My version doesn't sound much like the actual version, but I'm pretty happy with it regardless (aside from the vocals, which I'm never happy with). I think my chorus is catchier than the actual one, which I find a little sluggish. The lyrics sheet I had also seems to have a half a verse that isn't in the version of the song that's in the video, so I have no idea where that came from. Now that I've heard the Ne-Yo verse, I kind of wish I'd included his bits. Clearly, Kanye's lines worked better for my structure, but Ne-Yo's section is certainly the most interesting aspect of the real song.

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from Ill​-​Informed Covers, Vol. 1, released September 13, 2010

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F. S. Merriwether Portland, Oregon

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