Happy sweet sixteen Songs of the Week! Our numeral has come to match the last two digits of the year, which also happens to be two to the fourth power, which is also the base of hexadecimal, a very important component of computer science! Also in slightly lesser news, midterms are over, and thus ends the first semester of the 2015-16 school year! Please submit songs in the comments or to me on Facebook or through email, and as always, our playlist can be found here and our archival playlist here.
Royish Good Looks - Hello (From The Dark Side) This is a much better version of hello.
Eva Noblezada & Alistair Brammer - The Last Night of the World from Miss Saigon
I love this song. And this musical. Although I've never seen it. This is the revival version. I love Lea Salonga, but this version I prefer. I even have a shirt with the lyrics on it!
James Horner - Unable to Stay, Unwilling to Leave from Titanic
Titanic is my favorite movie. I watched it again yesterday, and I cried. It's normal. This is like my favorite piece from the movie and I love the scene too. It makes me cry. Everything about this movie makes me cry.
Michael Arden - Made of Stone from The Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical
The cast album was just released, and I will buy it and love it and cry. It's one of my favorite Disney movies and now it's a musical. Like yesssss. I was going to put the Bells of Notre Dame (which I may use next week), but this one is much quicker (compared to almost nine minutes) and it's Michael Arden. I love both him and his fiancé (Andy Mientus). His voice at the end reminds me of Jonathan Groff (who I love the most) and it's just amazing and ahhh.
Fleet Foxes - The Shrine / An Argument
Of all of the folk songs I've heard, this is probably the one best deserving of being described as a "folk epic". The subject matter - different stages of a collapsing relationship - may be cliche, but the execution is masterful. The song starts off conventionally enough, with Pecknold singing with heavy reverb over light guitar strumming, although, even at this point, it's obvious that this isn't your ordinary folk song: the opening sentence, "I went down among the dust and pollen to the old stone fountain in the morning after dawn," is delivered by a very emotional, sincere, and delicate voice spanning a large range of notes and is an indicator of the above-average lyricism and vocals that pervade the piece. The energy of The Shrine / An Argument doesn't stay like that for the whole 8 minutes, though: after the brief introduction, Pecknold's voice suddenly becomes much more loud and powerful as he sings, "Sunlight over me no matter what I do," emphasizing the confident and optimistic outlook of the speaker at that point in their relationship, though a sense of uncertainty is definitely there, as evidenced by the speaker's uncharacteristic action of going to a wishing well to wish everything will be okay: "I'm not one to ever pray for mercy / Or to wish on pennies in the fountain or the shrine / But that day you know I left my money / And I thought of you only / All that copper glowing fine". The power that was there earlier immediately drops off as the melody temporarily changes before returning to the way it was at the beginning of the song, emphasizing this uncertainty.
After another melody change, the song moves into its second movement, which is a lot more energetic and introduces drums, with the guitar style changing to a more percussive style to complement them. The rhythm is a lot more rigid, more similar to that of a marching band than the smooth, flowing rhythm of the previous movement. Synthesizers or organs are also introduced and Pecknold's solitary voice becomes part of a vocal harmony as the movement progresses, reflecting the increasing tension of the situation. The speaker's significant other is now leaving them, as evidenced by the lyrics that list all of the actions the other person is doing - "In the doorway holding every letter that I wrote / In the driveway pulling away putting on your coat / In the ocean washing off my name from your throat / In the morning, in the morning" - and appropriately, this is where the song's energy peaks.
After that, the song returns again to its calm roots as the energy of the second movement gives way to what sound like stringed instruments and synthesizers as Pecknold, his voice solitary again, sings, "Green apples hang from my tree / They belong only to me," conveying a sense of self-reassurance in the postmortem of the speaker's breakup. These two lines repeat a second time, this time in another vocal harmony, before the mood of the lyrics changes to ones that are a lot more resigned and accepting of what happened: "And if I just stay awhile here staring at the sea ... I will lay down in the sand and let the ocean leave." The last movement, consisting of a piano, deep drums, and the same synthesizers and strings from the third movement with a squeaking, improvised wind instrument that sounds like seagulls, carries on this sentiment and reflects on the chaotic nature of the whole experience. It really is a great song on an equally great album.
Jonny Greenwood - Splitter
Those of you who are Radiohead fans might immediately draw parallels between this song and The National Anthem off of Kid A as they're both very jazzy tracks driven by thumping bass and drums accompanied by horn instruments. It's a very high-energy piece that involves a bass line that stays more or less constant throughout the entire song, only changing pitch once in a while, while the other instruments dance on top of it. If you liked The National Anthem, you'll definitely like this piece.
Songs: Ohia - Hold on Mangolia
Hold on Magnolia is interesting in that it sounds like a country song but feels like a folk song. Some of the country sound is definitely there - the twangy, bendy guitars, some violins, and Jason Molina's southern accent - but the song's rawness, emotion, non-simplistic lyrics, and absence of any obvious commercial motive or culturing make it feel very much like a folk song.
Like The Shrine / An Argument, Hold on Magnolia partly concerns relationships, although in a more positive light. The song overall is bittersweet: the speaker sings of dying and depression - "You might be holding the last light I see / Before the dark finally gets a hold of me" - but sings of coming to terms with them - " In my life I have had my doubts / But tonight, I think I've worked it out with all of them" - and how nice it was to have had a friend who stuck with him until the end. The instrumentation mirrors this feeling, being soft and sounding both sorrowful and strangely happy at the same time - the drums are soft and brushlike; the notes of the electric guitar slide up and down like Molina's voice; and the violins, bass, and piano all give the song a very heavy and full feeling. This song, and the rest of Songs: Ohia's discography, a rare gem in my opinion, will certainly make you question your disposition towards country music if you had any to begin with.
Avicii - Addicted To You
In all honesty, I like this song mainly for the music video. It’s a great song but the music video is one of my favorites. Very well shot/lit with a great story which reminds me of Bonnie and Clyde.
Alice Francis - St. James Ballroom
As I have said before, electro swing is one of my favorite types of music. Alice Francis is just that with a flapper persona and is a new favorite of mine.
Jeffery Dallas - Akbar
In typical me fashion, I must submit the weird song I found in the past week. Akbar is the touching story of a man and his piece of corn. Please treat yourself to a good laugh (or cry), and check this one out.
Trace Adkins - You're Gonna Miss This
Touching lyrics, lots of emotion, and a good story. And very relatable. With seniors only having half a year left and people thinking how much they can't wait to graduate and get the hell out of Peabody it reminds you of how much you will miss these high school days when you are off living a whole new life. I find it very humbling.
Talking Heads - Road To Nowhere
In response to the interesting conversations I've had recently about the difference between New Wave and Post Punk, I've decided to analyze one of my favorite Talking Heads songs. It's a very simple, pretty nihilistic statement about the nature of "progress" or "movement".
The Rapture - Pieces Of The People We Love
In a different, more sentimental light, emotional scarring caused by breakups can just be considered "holding on to pieces of people we love. That is exactly what this song discusses.
The Mars Volta - Goliath
There is so much to be said about this song, and no way I could do it justice. This is one of the more rhythmically complex songs on my radar. I'll leave the analysis of the complexities of the album to the listener, save for one thing: The entire album was based on a Ouija board. The story attached to the Ouija board and the album is ridiculously creepy, and has even manifested in a game, Goliath The Soothsayer.