Boy Band Why Don’t We Sample Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” On New Single “Slow Down”

Zack Caspary

Boy Band Why Don’t We Sample Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” On New Single “Slow Down”

Zack Caspary

It’s a time-honored trick: In an attempt to make a new hit record, you liberally sample from an existing hit record. When I was growing up, this formula worked wonders for the likes of MC Hammer and Puff Daddy and Will Smith, and it continues to yield returns to this day.

The latest supremely recognizable flip comes from the American boy band Why Don’t We. Normally we don’t even care about Why Don’t We, but they’ve caught our attention by building their new single “Slow Down” around the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie classic “1979.” The new song more or less completely lifts the original “1979” instrumental track, adding some additional moody instrumentation and replacing Billy Corgan’s piercing whine with smoother, less memorable hooks. They also refer to a West Coast getaway as a “California-cation” — not to be confused with Californication, which would steer us into a whole different realm of nostalgia. As critics and Stereogum pals Brad Shoup and Andrew Unterberger point out, it’s an extremely One Direction move from a group that has traditionally hewn closer to the Backstreet Boys/’N Sync model.

A statement on “Slow Down” from Why Don’t We’s Daniel Seavy: “‘1979’ is such a beautiful song,” said Daniel. “It’s so universal. Anyone can listen and enjoy it. When we were writing ‘Slow Down,’ we wanted to make it just as special. The song is personal and easy to listen to all at the same time. It’s nostalgic and new all at once.” Technically, that’s accurate. Watch director Isaac Rentz’s video for “Slow Down” below.

Why Don’t We’s new album The Good Times And The Bad Ones is out 1/15 on Atlantic. Here’s a “fun” fact: When the Pumpkins released “1979,” 1979 was only 16 years ago. A comparable nostalgia-drenched pop-rock track today would have to be called “2004.”

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