When you invite Death into a love song, choose your words with care. Build a regular, reassuring heartbeat of guitar and drums, with a hint of melancholy in the A minor scale. And the words? Warm, round ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘y’ and ‘b’ sounds. No sharp cuts of ‘k’, ‘tt‘ or ‘ss’. No heavy, dead thuds of ‘d’ or ‘ug’. Light words, layered with the lalala of summertime, life and love:
When you sing in English, small words offer big opportunities. They can stretch and dance in song. Give them room; pay them attention. Be ready for Russian doll words: tiny words that appear then reappear, nestled inside bigger, emotion-carrying words. Listen to tiny ‘in‘, working alone and within:
Eliza Carthy weaves the ay, oy and y sounds of The Good Old Way into a mesmerising tapestry of serious hope. The lines are short, most end in a y, but The Good Old Way is from repetitive. Y is one of those sounds that a singer can stretch, smooth, relish or dismiss:
If you sing in English, give y, and every sound it’s part of: ey, oy, ay, ry, ty etc. good attention. Y can fly or it can dampen. Y can be soft and romantic or it can be a clipped end to hope. It’s up to you.