The best way to learn somethig usually is imitating the pieces you like best, dissecting them, and analizing each piece. This way you can better understand how things are made and what are the key points of any work of art. This can be applied to any artistic activity that you like.
For this we usually find the greatest performers, the ones we admire the most, and choose, as musicians, our favorite song to perfom and study.
But have you ever tried to to this with a song you HATE?
This is what Tim Henson, lead guitar of the band Polyphia, did to create the song "O.D".
When he fist heard the song "Look what you made me do" by Taylor Swift, Henson absolutely hated the song, in fact, he hated it so much that he wondered how can a song make you so angry. Art is always supposed to make you feel something; and if he felt so strongly about this song it definetly meant something.
So after ranting about how bad the song was he decided to actually analize it and figure out why had that song made him so mad. In his own words, after dissecting it he called it "a structural masterpiece" and decided to base the entire structure of O.D. on Swift's Look what you made me do.
The song even has a section that's directly adapted from Look what you made me do to the band's unique guitar perfoming style.
The chords of "O.D" are inspired by Kanye West's "Champions", also adapted to guitars, showing how a mix of things that might seem random and out of place can later be turned into a masterpiece by adding a new layer of understanding to it. And also a very unique creative process. Check it out:
Producers get to do this all the time, taking inspiration from everywhere to create the next masterpiece.
In "Steal like an artist", Austin Kleon articulates this process perfectly. In the process of copying others, inevitably at some point you’ll realize you can’t exactly copy anyone, because it just won’t work. And that's exactly where it gets interesting. In those gaps lies your own, unique way of doing things, and that’s what you should explore to find the niche that’ll define your career.
What is the song you hated the most? I dare you to take it as inspiration for your next beat session.