Tony Cavallario: When M83’s single “Go!” launched, some outlets blasted it out as “featuring Steve Vai and Mai Lan.” Steve Vai, proprietor of guitars with handles and star of my favorite Shreds video, rips an outro solo, right in that spot where you think you’re getting that creamy sax back. Cool move or coolest move?
And while it looks like Vai goes uncredited on the actual retail track listing, that initial shout out was a generous plug for a typical session contribution. I mean, Steve Vai probably e-mailed that finger tapped whammy-dive magic to France, and Anthony Gonzales did a download and drag at a Pret a Manger (do they even have these in France? Does he live in France?). But anyway, maybe in the aftermath of Diplo and songwriting-by-committee, we’re ascending to peak feature (but not peak Future, who is serving that ether). Maybe this is how we’ll deal with the fact that people don’t have liner notes to pore over, and credit is due, damn it. Just get all the musicians in the track list. And maybe someday when physical, tangible media is gone completely we can go back and retroactively lend credit to some classic assists. Do it, try it:
Vashti Bunyan, “Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind” (feat. Jimmy Page)
Peter Gabriel “Intruder” (feat. Phil Collins)
Steely Dan “Peg” (feat. Michael McDonald)
Rockwell “Somebody’s Watching Me” (feat. Michael and Jermaine Jackson)
Carly Simon “You’re So Vain” (feat. Mick Jagger, but not about Mick Jagger)
Beach Boys “Kokomo” (feat. Van Dyke Parks)