Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Here's Where the Strings Come in" b/w "My October Symphony"

Grandiose title for a very minor post — but we've been wondering:

What's it called when the music in a song mirrors what's happening in the lyric?

Like:

When Elvis Costello, on "God Give Me Strength" or one of those songs on that Bacharach collaboration (just checked: "Such Unlikely Lovers"), sings "I'm not saying that there will be violins/But don't be surprised if they appear" — and then you hear some violins?

When James Taylor, on "How Sweet It Is," sings, "I just want to stop/and thank you, baby," and the music cuts out for a beat right at "stop"?

Any other examples come to mind, Dizzyheads? (Does it happen in ABC's "When Smoky Sings"—"I hear violins"—?)


Sometimes I think it's fine, other times I think it's a bit much. Maybe the first time it happens it works, and then on subsequent listenings, it gets oppressive...?

Now my new thing is to find songs in which one would think the artist would put in a bit of easy musical mirroring . . . but then withholds it. (Admirably restrained? Or eventually equally annoying?)

I do like: Norah Jones, "Don't Know Why," where she "feels as empty as a drum"—and you don't hear any overt increase in percussion. Very nice. Not annoying!

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This is all a distraction—I should really be posting about the Paul McCartney and Sufjan Stevens shows I saw last week. (No, they were not performing together!)

"I should really be posting..." = delusions of grandeur.

* * *

Any Julian Jaynes enthusiasts out there?

* * *

New favorite author?

2 Comments:

Blogger Jenny D said...

Not sure about the name for that (you may have to coin one yourself--something analogous to onomatopoiea only strictly having to do with sounds?). It's best when it's done funny rather than serious, isn't it? On the other hand I got that Costello-Bacharach album after reading rave reviews right when it came out but HATED the lush orchestration, stuck it in a closet, then took it out several years later at a friend's prompting and fell COMPLETELY in love with it. My friend Ezra hates the "tears at the birthday party" song, I don't have anything against it but I can see that if the taste had been reined in a bit it would be a less polarizing album. I have listened to it a million times--well, certainly not a million, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was 50...

9:03 PM  
Blogger HeyZeus! said...

How many indie rock college kids were at the Sufjan show? Everyone I know is obsessed with him.

-GH

1:16 PM  

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