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One For The Aliens, One For The Sun

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Voyager Gold Record was sent out into space in 1977. The Voyager Gold Record was sent out into space in 1977.

When NASA launched Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 in 1977, each spacecraft contained a special recording. Known as the "golden records," these discs contain sounds and images meant to convey the diversity of culture on Earth for any intelligent extraterrestrial life or future humans to discover. The probability of anyone finding these records is pretty slim, but if anyone does, and they somehow figure out how to play these records (do aliens have turntables?) -- they might hear music from various indigenous cultures, not to mention J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and even Chuck Berry.

Inspired by the Voyager project's playlist for future humans and aliens, blogger Adam Dawson and musician Jarrett Nicolay have come up with a hypothetical game: Two spacecrafts are being sent out into space. One is loaded with music so good we want to share it with other lifeforms. The other is loaded up with songs that no one -- not even humans -- should ever hear again and sent directly into the sun. The catch? The songs are from the same band. 

They chose three artists -- and picked one song for each: one for the aliens, one for the sun.

1) The Beatles

For The Aliens: "Hey Jude"

"[Hey Jude] spent around nine weeks on the chart at No. 1, and the longest in length song on the British charts at the time. And it's also just kind of 'single malt McCartney:' It's really pure, distilled McCartney. Great vocals, great instrumentation. But again, it's done here. We're tired of it, to the point where you have to go about four months, five months between listening to it. Any more than that and you begin to resent the song."

For The Sun: "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da"

"To me, it is the single most leading argument for The White Album being one record instead of two, like if you weeded out all the, as Lennon put it, 'Granny music' -- like your 'Rocky Raccoons.' But I think 'Ob-La-Di' is the alpha 'Granny' tune."

"You could really power a city with McCartney's smugness."

2) Bob Dylan

For The Aliens: "Like A Rolling Stone"

For The Sun: "Street Rock" (This is the Kurtis Blow song Dylan participated on.)

"We aren't sure what convinced Bob Dylan to try his hand at the rap game. It isn't like Bob Dylan's voice got sampled, he actually went into a recording studio, put on some headphones, and just had at it."

3) R.E.M.

For The Aliens: "Losing My Religion"

"We want to make the premise that it's not necessarily the best, but by sending 'Losing My Religion',  we get to keep all the old IRS stuff, which are all just masterpieces."

For The Sun: "Radio Song" (featuring rapper KRS-One)

"It's just two great tastes that fast terrible together. If you're an established jangle pop band and you make the decision to bring in a rapper, the first rule is to not bring in the rapper. It just seems forced and reeks of an A&R guy saying 'You know what you kids need? We need a rap guy to come in.' Having them both in the same song sorta demeans them both."

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