Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand): Ostranenie

An ordinary word sung in an extraordinary way is a treat. A parallel universe frisson of excitement. We pay extra attention when the familiar is made unfamiliar.

Ostranenie works its magic in Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand). The backing singers offer such an unusual version of the word’anyone‘ that they throw the slow honey of Irma Thomas’ voice into reassuring relief. They pronounce anyone as nobody pronounces anyone. Irma’s telling a love story, so she sings anyone as a deep, warm version of itself:

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Because the Night

There are times when you need to sing an English word in a new way.

Native speakers naturally strengthen the word because by emphasising the ‘cause’. Not the ‘be‘.

Why does Patti Smith sing the word oppositively?

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Feed the Birds: Serendipity on Sunset Boulevard

Our dad had a secret for writing songs. He said, “You’ve got to have them Simple, Singable and Sincere. And they should have a special sound to them. That’s the only way it’ll work.”

Robert Sherman

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Don’t Fear the Reaper

When you invite Death into your love song, how do you keep It on message? You build a regular, reassuring heartbeat of guitar and drums, with a hint of melancholy in the A minor scale.  Use words with warm, round ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘y’ and ‘b’ sounds. No guillotine cuts of ‘k’, ‘tt‘ or ‘ss’. No heavy, dead thuds of ‘d’ or ‘ug’. Light words, sung lightly, layered with the lalala of summertime. Death becomes a fact, not a fear; a natural part of life and love:

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