This week we are going to talk about 5 great songs not be missed!
I could have chosen some glorious, old tunes that everybody knows, which became famous because they were played by a great band or became a successful film soundtrack, but that would have been quite predictable and perhaps boring. Instead I decided to pick 5 songs that many people may not know but that are interesting in many ways. You may also not usually listen to these music genres, but you’ll surely learn something new as you listen to them.
1) “Homesick” – Kings Of Convenience
This tune is an interesting blend of pop, indie and bossa nova, which is a kind of jazz music from Brazil and can be found in the rhythmic figure played by the guitar all throughout the song. And what is incredible is that this music duo comes from Norway, which is miles away from South America both geographically and culturally speaking!
Something you’ll notice during the very first minute of listening is that the two musicians sing different melody lines at the same time, but those lines sound incredibly nice together. That is what we call “harmonies”. Perhaps the Kings took inspiration by Simon & Garfunkel, who used to perform in the same way (check out their song “The Sound Of Silence” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zLfCnGVeL4 )
2) “Letter From Home” – Pat Metheny
Who said instrumentals can’t be communicative and moving? Mr. Metheny is considered one of the biggest guitarist of all times, who managed to beautifully blend jazz, fusion and world music without losing his personal style of playing, which got him 3 golden albums and 20 Grammy Awards. Even though the melody doesn’t seem to be too complex, the harmony and the chords underneath are a masterpiece in terms of music theory and creativity which you probably wouldn’t find in many pop or classic rock songs. That’s why I think this song is so beautiful and incredibly well-made. And it’s good to listen to something different sometimes!
3) “Blackout” – Anna Calvi
As the singer explains at the beginning of the video, the song is about an hypothetical blackout that happens while you’re alone at home and musically and lyrically describes what you would feel in that situation. I believe her introduction makes the performance even more interesting and explains very well the creative process behind the composition.
It’s an interesting approach to music, where the author tries to picture the concept of the song not only through words but also using musical devices (major/minor keys, dynamic, effects, etc). And be honest: would you have expected such a powerful voice after having heard her quiet and shaky speaking voice?
Singing in public has not been easy for her as she was incredibly shy and conscious of her voice, and I would recommend to have a quick read at her biography and interviews.
4) “The Journey Man” – Iron Maiden
According to Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of the band, the song is about “the whole process of writing and being a musician”. However, they use such beautiful and evocative images to describe it and the lyrics remind me of an old Romantic poem:
“And the fragment remains of our memories
and the shadows we made with our hands
Deep grey, came to mourn
All the colours of the dawn
Will this journeyman’s day be his last? ”
Moreover, the chorus is catchy, easy to remember and perfect for the audience to sing aloud at a concert! That’s why I decided to link the live version of this tune rather than the studio version:
5) “Stop This Train” – John Mayer
Finally, a tune that is surely more popular than the others but just as inspiring. The song is about the fear of getting older, a song Peter Pan would have loved..! Every time I listen to this song I imagine being in John’s shoes, writing this song during a cold winter night, having a chat with daddy about getting older, feeling nostalgic and insecure. I think the song not only showcases John’s brilliant and inspiring songwriting, but also his superb guitar playing, which is why I decided to link the live version of this song too. Moreover, the “train” John talks about is a wonderful metaphor referring to the course of time (see my post “I can I write good lyrics?” https://www.songacademy.co.uk/can-write-good-lyrics/ ).