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by Dan Weiss

February 24, 2014

Artists Remaking Themselves: Multipart Songs

by Dan Weiss  |  February 24, 2014

Who says a song has to be over when it ends? It was only a matter of time before the serial song caught on, when rhythm workouts like James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" or Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" required variations on themselves. More recently, with R&B's progressive transformation over the last decade, artists like Usher ("Confessions Pt. 2") and R. Kelly ("Trapped in the Closet Chapter 1") have turned the genre's famous romantic melodrama into near soap operas, while indie rockers like The Apples in Stereo ("Beautiful Machine Parts 1-2"), Arcade Fire ("Sprawl II [Mountains Beyond Mountains]") and Neutral Milk Hotel ("Two-Headed Boy") have made multipart songs a true art form. Even punks at their most ambitious have utilized the two-part structure, with blink-182 ending an album with "Anthem" and opening the next one with "Anthem Part Two," or X ruminating on "True Love" in two parts.

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