Favourites

When a man who’s spent his whole musical life trapped behind a guitar steps free onto a large stage:

The way Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno moves reminded me of that “rare and beautiful bird” Iggy Pop:

Of David Byrne:

and Kate Bush:

This is what Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno says about his song:

“Favourites is about identity in the digital age. We live in a time when most people are pretending to be somebody else through their online persona – and somehow this false identity drives us further from who we truly are.”

“I was interested in how online dating is a sort of snapshot of this identity crisis. Through the speed and structure of the song, I wanted to capture the feeling of the real you inside your head trying to get out and escape during a first date. It’s a dialogue between two people who are coming to terms with their true selves through their digital interaction becoming a physical one.” – THE S.L.P.

The energetic, beautiful but disjointed movements perfectly express the inner confusion of the singer as he tries to bring digital choice and human reality into alignment.

Favourites is full of wonderfully well-observed images:

Sat there with your fish bites and your eye lids flickering
Taking photos of your side dish, you’re so modern and you’re free

or, in Little Simz‘ line:  Plus, you look taller in your profile pic

It’s a story song, so the words have to do more than rhyme. They paint a picture in sound to strengthen their meaning. The male voice in the song is full of slippery sounds and thin ice, peppered with repeated desperate hollow question words like where, how, why. His part of the song is full of questions.

Little Simz‘ words are more concrete, shorter and stickier: hot mess, hot dress. They’re full of earthbound ck sounds, with stuck being the most vivid. She’s stuck, they’re both stuck, in a world without rules or agreed etiquette. Ready to escape, but hoping for a reason not to: Tell me how the scenario doesn’t come with escape plans/Need a little back door, she just wanna chat more/‘Bout her dreams, ambitions on a deep one

As a songwriter, Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno has form with the wonderful English schwa sound. In a song full of shadows, the schwa is the ultimate sound shadow.  Sergio bends and stretches and shortens the schwa /ə/ in the middle of the repeated word  favourite /ˈfeɪv(ə)rɪt/  He did the same, to great effect, in the song he  wrote for Kasabian: /ˈfʌɪə/  Watch Mr Pizzorno, behind his guitar, providing backing vocals. And hear the schwa sound at the end of the word Fire swoop and soar:

Who says you need complicated words to write a great song in English? What you need is an ear for the music of the language, so that every single sound is given an opportunity to shine. The word fire is so powerful in the Kasabian song because of where it’s placed. And it’s placed so that the singers land on the final schwa sound, with room to climb and dive. Clever.

Here’s Favourites again, with Sergio painted. And moving even more like David Byrne. You can read about Sergio having to sing parts of the song speeded up and parts slowed down for the sake of the video effects here. Little Simz’ expression near the end is priceless:

© Sing Better English 2019

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