Possibly fed-up with people asking him to introduce them to “Mike”, Miike Snow frontman Andrew Wyatt finally decided to release an album under his own name. With Descender out this week (6 May), he’s made us a playlist celebrating one of its unsung heroes, the tambourine. “I thought we might take a look at one of my favorite go-to instruments as a producer,” he explains. “It’s often overlooked in favor of its much-parodied cousin, the cowbell.” He’re Andrew’s ten best tambourine songs.
Prince – Tamborine
“Prince plays every instrument exceptionally well. Listen to this in a room alone and you will begin to pull shapes.”
The Ronettes – Paradise
“This song could’ve been recorded by the Shangri-La’s, as the tambourine here is like heaven crashing through the ceiling and into Phil Spector’s wall of sound.”
Righteous Brothers – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin
“In the verse tambourine brings a sense of massive space, in the chorus, massive shimmer.”
William Onyeabor – Beautiful Baby
“Sometimes it is great to hear the tambourine just repeating, unaltered, for many many minutes.”
The Velvet Underground – I’ll Be Your Mirror
“It’s simple and follows the credo of VU: you’ve got to keep your cool at all costs.”
NB Beautiful Baby and nothinginsomethingparticular are currently unavailable
Brian Jonestown Massacre – Who?
“You knew this was coming. These dudes, and the dudes from the track below were cool enough and had big enough balls to bring back the heavy psychedelic vibes, and the tambourine on these two tracks is pronounced and hypnotic because, well, drugs are awesome.”
Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro
Snoop Dogg – Beautiful
“Replace Prince with Pharell and refer to description of for my first pick.”
The Associates – nothinginsomethingparticular
“A word must be put in for how tambourines stuck it out once samplers started replacing live instruments. Alan Rankin of The Associates was a pioneer of music production, I think overlooked as hell.”
Marvin Gaye – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
“Can the Mercury Prize be rewarded to a tambourine player? Retroactively? To someone non-British? Because I must confess, this, my favorite of all tambourine tracks here, is indeed one of my favourite things about life. They rightly turned it up louder than the vocal. It is one of best things about America. It is #TDFW (too dandy for words).”
For more head to Andrewwyatt.net.