Hey! Ho! Let’s Spatial Audio!


Can it really be 20 full years since singer/songwriter/piano ingenue Norah Jones burst on the scene with her stunning, multiple-Grammy Award-winning February 2002 debut album, Come Away With Me? This breakthrough album is currently being properly feted with a 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition that contains bonus tracks galore, but the immediate impact of its lead-track sensation “Don’t Know Why” is what sealed Jones as the real deal in the first place—and it mesmerizes the ears (and soul) even more fully in its Dolby Atmos incarnation.

“Don’t Know Why” opens with a solid bassline and brush drums right down the middle, with guitar figures supplied by the song’s composer, Jesse Harris, trading riffs amongst themselves across the soundfield. Jones’ own piano lines are slightly back in the mix here, the ensuing instrumentation foreshadowing the melody of the eventual chorus before she even gets to singing her first vocal lines, “I waited ’til I saw the sun / I don’t know why I didn’t come.” Her wholly engaging, breathy vocals are fully out front at this point in the mix, a stunning reminder of how a true star was literally born in the span of 20 seconds.

Jones’ next verse rises above the field and slightly center left as Harris’ guitar counterline rolls far off to the right, then slithers over to the left when she repeats the title phrase. Her overall piano accompaniment in the first half of “Why” is somewhat more minimalist than you may remember, with just a few instinctive chords percolating behind the recurrent phrase, “didn’t come” to signal she is indeed coming in with a similar theme, now just left of center, for the next unfolding verse. This level of arrangement acumen also reinforces the in-studio instincts of the song’s producer and mixer, the legendary Arif Mardin.

Jones’ vocal expertise is simply a wonder to behold, her extended vowel sounds in each word of the back-to-back phrases, “My heart is drenched in wine” and “You’ll be on my mind forever” flying out front and high up in the field as her piano comps now slide slightly center right. Her voice moves just a touch back and lower in height in the mix on the next line to blend in more with the overall accompaniment, this time with a slightly different reading on the repeated vowel phrasing before a brief piano solo, mostly centered but somewhat doubled a tick behind at center left, comes to the fore.

For all of the above reasons and more, you and I both know exactly why “Don’t Know Why” is duly anointed as our top-drawer Made for Spatial Audio track of the week.


Buzzsaw punk legends the Ramones broke the mold when it came to dropping rock music conventionality on its collective (pin)head. One of their signature breakneck tunes, “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the opening gambit from their supremely influential and rightly acclaimed April 1976 self-titled debut Ramones, hits like nothing short of a tsunami in Spatial Audio.

With “Blitzkrieg Bop.” the name of the game is all about full-on full-frontal assault and overall impact instead of subtle mix placements (save for one instance I’ll note soon enough)—exactly as it should be, in the case of this quintessentially scrappy Forest Hills, Queens, New York-bred four-piece. Johnny Ramone’s recurrent and quite iconic no-holds-barred three-chord guitar riff is nestled in the right channel, with Tommy Ramone’s backbeat drums and cymbal hits far off to the left and Dee Dee Ramone’s root-note bass at center left. Joey Ramone’s legendary vocal cry of “Hey! Ho! Let’s go!” is both doubled and placed prominently to the center left, with an echo repeat slightly behind it over to the right—a clever homage of sorts to the Phil Spector school of production. (No wonder Spector ultimately wound up producing their February 1980 album, End of the Century.) Also note how Joey clearly enunciates the second word of the song title as “bup,” and not “bop.” One could also argue Joey deliberately drops the “h” in front of both “Hey!” and “Ho!” most every time, in order to mimic a certain faction of British rock-vocalist counterparts.

Here’s the subtle part: You should also be able to discern “oooing” harmony vocals entering the fray behind Joey down the middle on the successive choruses.

From here on in, it’s hold on for dear life as the relentless instrumentation elements repeat unwaveringly so in their respective quadrants, with Johnny’s guitar dropping out only when Joey repeats the intro rallying-cry phrase three times with bass and drums in tow on the left, and then the guitar riff returns only for the final “Hey! Ho!” push to the fade.

Hey! Ho! It only took the Ramones a mere 2 minutes and 12 seconds to shake up the world of rock music and truly put punk on the map, and it’s easy to hear why in Atmos. Let’s go!


Superstar phenom singer/songwriter Harry Styles is poised to drop his third solo album, May 2022’s Harry’s House, in just a few short weeks. Its lead track, the chart-topping blockbuster hit “As It Was,” advances the charge, most especially in its Atmos form.

“Was” opens with Styles’ goddaughter saying, ever-so-sweetly up in the ether, “Come on, Harry, we wanna say goodnight to you!”—and it’s immediately followed by a sultry synth line that mixes ’80s alt-rock vibes with programmed drums and an insistent beat placed right up the middle, in turn happily recalling the propulsive, good-feels nature of The Weeknd’s monster 2020 hit, “Blinding Lights.”

When Styles enters the song with the lines, “Holding me back / Gravity’s holding me back,” his voice kisses the height channels without entirely dominating the backing track, which now includes some cymbal and stickwork slightly off to the left as the core beat remains centered. The dreamy nature of the now-burbling synth line that’s spread out behind him continues to mine that aforementioned ’80s vein with unendingly positive results.

As Styles declares, “In this world / It’s just us,” his doubled falsetto lilts somewhat both to the left and right before returning to the center, though it continues to pinwheel outward on the successive lines. Meanwhile, that infectious, melodic synth line that now resides somewhat back in the mix would make Howard Jones proud. Styles’ falsetto is dialed back completely as the next verse gets underway, his resumed singular lead vocal staying centered until a slight echo effect rolls in behind him on certain words for additional emphasis.

“You know it’s not the same / As it was,” Styles opines more than once to carry the song to its blissful, synth-line-led end. Fact is, “As It Was” is all the rage in Spatial Audio, and it portends nothing but a great many good things ahead once we all finally get to enter into Harry’s House in full.


Rapper and trap-music innovator Future may have turned the lyrical spotlight over to the ups and downs of his romantic life on his guest-filled April 2022 release I Never Liked You, but there sure is a helluva lot to like about “I’m On One” in Atmos, a track that prominently features a key vocal contribution from Drake.

Coughing and background noise enter us into the proceedings, with Future’s vocals all aswirl up on high as a programmed keyboard line spreads wide, and then the full thump of the bass pounces in full, right in the middle. Take heed—if your subwoofer isn’t ready to handle how low it’s gonna go and how deep it’ll hit you in the chest, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Hypnotic repetition of the phrase, “Yeah, yeah / I’m on one” rolls through as the track continues to unfurl, with added percussion also taking a stand in the middle before an underwater effect shifts the vocal tide to the right before Future begins his flow up above, center left. Future’s mumblecore vibe is in full effect, with certain words slurred and others as plain as day, and still others echoing behind him in spots.

Future keeps his message on point as he raps, “I’m applyin’ pressure out in the field / John Madden,” the lines wafting left center to center right and back in the slot, practically at the edge of being truly ominous. I’m still enamored with the way Future catches himself to right the ship by going, “Hold up, slow down, wait, catch up” before sticking the landing perfectly with his next, “I’m on one.”

When Drake finally joins the frame to take the lead, the backing track collapses in on itself like gravity giving way for just a split-second or two to announce his entry. Drake stays centered on high and Future lets him take it in full, migrating over to the right, then back and over to the left when he goes, crossover-dribble style, “right hand, right knee / left hand, left knee,” and carries the next repeat until Future’s “I’m on one” returns, with further “hold up, wait” instructions arriving anew. (Added props to the Canadian-born Drake for dropping in a few NHL hockey player references during this verse, btw.)

When both of their vocals drop out, keyboard samples carry the remainder of the track to the finish line before the bass returns briefly and the song fades away, almost like a dream. “I’m On One” sure is one track to cue up on regular repeat (okay, okay) in Atmos.


R&B/soul singer/songwriter PJ Morton once again steps out from his regular gig as Maroon 5’s keyboardist to serve up “So Lonely,” one of the many fine tracks from his uplifting April 2022 solo release Watch the Sun that benefit greatly from getting blessed with the Atmos touch.

A N’Awlins-vibing horn-and-percussion blend opens the track up the middle, with those cheerful horns spreading wide across the stage before Morton’s vocals come in on high. The horns swing further to the left as the doubled falsetto vocals stake a claim at center left, the percussion taking it all up another notch while still perching in the middle.

Morton’s melancholy musing of “Now all the good days seem so far” gets echoed slightly to the center right, said echo of that previous line then showing up next at the far right before surfing across the field to carry on center left. As Morton’s vocal-layered “So lonely” chorus unfolds high and wide, a twangy synth slinks in at the left. The ensuing “ya-ya-ya” vocal sequence continues the uplift up the middle, horns splitting wide before noted D.C. rapper Wale takes over the lead at center left, his flow percolating across the middle field ever so slightly from line to line. When Morton’s layered “So lonely” chorus returns to the forefront, Wale’s one-line response falls somewhat back in the mix over to the left.

The track’s New Orleans leanings and overall good feelings just might make you yearn for Mardi Gras to return sooner rather than later. From my POV, the perpetually sunny nature that resides at the heart of “So Lonely” is something that’s poised to bring us all closer together in Spatial Audio.


For more about the specs, gear, and setup options you’ll need to experience the very best of the ever-expanding Apple Music universe of fully immersive Made for Spatial Audio Dolby Atmos mixes, go here.

Still want more Made for Spatial Audio options to listen to before an all-new Spatial Audio File returns next Friday? Go to Apple Music: Spatial Audio Relations to get an additional all-channel fill.