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COUGH SYRUP, 2010

Lead Vocal: Anu Worah

I heard this song on a roof top bar in Santiago, Chile while enjoying my first Pisco Sour. It had the full package: melody, hook, clever wordplay, and precise production. I wondered who the band was.

Back home in the US I found that my 'discovery' was old news. Parthiv's high school band played many of their songs. It also turned out that Young The Giant were local Orange County kids and everyone we knew had either gone to school with them, or knew someone who had gone to school with them, or knew their parents. So after they released their second album, I had Sumant give lead singer Sameer's dad some albums to get signed, and they all came back sweetly inscribed by Sameer.

While they've grown, and their musical palate has expanded, their first album is a must-listen, self-contained piece of musical brilliance. Songs like "Apartment,'' "My Body," "Strings," and "I Got'' compete with "Cough Syrup" in terms of great lyrics, melody, and craftsmanship. I don't think there's a single filler or throwaway song on the entire album. It's super impressive to have a debut album this good.

I reconnected with high school friends Brian and Stu after almost 30 years when Brian came to the US to drop his daughter Julia off to UCLA. We played guitars like the old days, and drank tons of wine like the mature adults we've become. Julia sang "Cough Syrup,'' and I gave her one of the signed albums (Bobby's copy)! I've had the idea of a female lead vocal on that song ever since.

 

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“Cough Syrup" is anchored by a fingerpicked guitar line and a cello. Listen for the clever use of numerous guitars (there are at least four ... three electric and a subtle acoustic during the solos). The song's production and style remind me of Abbey Road-era Beatles. While the lyrics are very John Lennon, the song construction is very George Harrison. "I Me Mine" from Let It Be and even "Something" has a similar juxtaposition of acoustic and electric guitar parts, creative use of tom-toms on the drums, as well as strings throughout the song.

I had a blast playing all the guitar parts and mixing the song. For fun, I got an Electro Harmonix Mel9 guitar pedal so I could re­cord the cello part as well. Bobby and Parthiv have keyboard and bass solos, as four verses of guitar solo during the musical interlude seemed a bit much.

 

Most importantly, this song introduces Anu on lead vocals!

 

Once an artist puts something out it belongs to the world. I'm sure YTG would get a kick out of their song about suburban ennui being sung by a suburban 'Aunty'!

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Bobby and Parthiv: early days.