Tag Archives: diphthong

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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Fire – Five Ways

English words are like onions, when you sing. Chop them, roast them whole, caramelise them, scatter them as crunchy red raw rings on a salad. They never stop being onions, but you’re in charge of the flavour and the texture they provide.

Fire is a classic onion. We all know what fire is. It’s the singer’s job to make us feel what fire ‘is’ in their song.

Arthur Brown sings a powerful, all-encompassing fire. The fire of myth. Wicker Man, Hell-fire, Prometheus. Fire as pure element. Fi-ya:

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In a Broken Dream

It was my mate who convinced me to do it. He ran a car showroom, and he said, ‘I’ve got this group come from Australia, but the singer’s not very good. Can you do a demo for me?’ I said, ‘What do I get?’ He said, ‘Well, I don’t have any money. I’ll give you a set of carpets.’ That was 1969″

                                                                                                                         Rod Stewart

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Wild Thing

It’s 1966. The Kinks’ manager gives you a chance to record Chip Taylor‘s Wild Thingone take only, on borrowed time. It’s a song of few words. Choose one and pour your heart into it. Groovy? Love?  Or the vaguer, more intriguing wild? Choose well or you’ll be back on the building site forever.

By the way – don’t be fooled by the stripy fancy dress in the video. There’s a bricklayer’s heart beating desperately beneath it:

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