It’s a beautiful thing when a songwriter chooses and places a word so perfectly that its shape becomes physical sensation in the mind of the listener.
In Tu Canción (Your Song) you don’t need to know what the word ‘siento‘ (si-yén-to) means. Its sound alone (about 35 seconds in) will make your heart dance. The sliding ‘s‘, the elastic ‘y‘ sound, the soft landing of the ‘n’ and the final, neat step sound of the ‘to‘: a collection of sounds perfectly placed to swing you into a romantic waltz. Thank heavens for Spanish Irregular Verbs:
Continue reading The Utter Joy of Irregular Verbs: Tu Canción
An ordinary word sung in an extraordinary way is a treat. A parallel universe frisson of excitement. We pay extra attention whenever 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:
Continue reading Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand): Ostranenie
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?
Continue reading Because the Night
We go over every single sound, every single beat
A single word: myself (at 1:33) shivers with realisation of mistakes made and responsibility taken. A story sung into two syllables:
Continue reading HAIM: Want you Back
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.”
Continue reading Feed the Birds: Serendipity on Sunset Boulevard