Musical coincidences # 380

March 30, 2013

This is A Tale of Two Coincidences, whereby my friend Steven found a coincidence in a song, and I found another.

First up, the coincidence Steven found.

Steven sent me a message saying that when he listened to the start of an obscure Australian song from 1980, he distinctly heard a bit of Electric Light Orchestra in it.

Moscos & Stone – “Over And Over” (1980) (excerpt)

Link

Electric Light Orchestra – “Eldorado Overture (1974) (excerpt 1)

Link

Yep.

Here are the full versions:

Moscos & Stone – “Over And Over” (1980)

Link

Electric Light Orchestra – “Eldorado Overture (1974)

Link

And now for what I heard.

When I listened all of the “Eldorado Overture” I noticed this:

Electric Light Orchestra – “Eldorado Overture (1974) (excerpt 2)

Link

It took me a while to figure where I’d heard that before, but I eventually figured it out:

Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 – first movement (1868) (excerpt)
(Ronan O’Hora, piano; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Judd)

Link

Here’s the full version:

Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 – first movement (1868)
(Ronan O’Hora, piano; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by James Judd)

Link

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Song of the day: Lulu – "The Boat That I Row"

March 23, 2013

Mysteries of the Human Mind, Part 214

I was listening to an album of orchestral works by Maurice Ravel. Alborada del Gracioso was just about to finish and I wondered what was next. I had a look at the track list, and the next one up was Une Barque sur l’Océan. As soon as I saw the title, this popped into my head and wouldn’t leave until I had found it and played it – loudly:

Lulu – “The Boat That I Row” (1967)

Link

In case you’re wondering, “Une barque sur l’océan” means “A boat on the ocean”.

Also in case you’re wondering, this is Une Barque sur l’Océan:

RavelUne Barque sur l’Océan (1906)
(Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Seiji Ozawa – recorded 1975)

Link

***

And from the department of “Well I never knew that”:

“The Boat That I Row” was written – and first recorded – by Neil Diamond:

Neil Diamond – “The Boat That I Row (1967)

Link

Well I never knew that.

***

Right. Now back to that album of Ravel’s orchestral works.


Song of the day: The Toys – "A Lover’s Concerto"

March 12, 2013

I’ve had this song on my head for the last three days. Apparently, it has no intention of leaving.

The Toys – “A Lover’s Concerto (1965)

Link

And here’s the classical piece the song was based on:

BachMinuet in G major (1725)
(Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy)

Link


Song of the day: The Swingle Singers – "A Boy And A Girl"

February 24, 2013

Wow.

The Swingle Singers – “A Boy And A Girl (2011)

I haven’t been heard singing that mesmerising since the last time I played Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares:

Or hearing Kathleen Battle singing a couple of the greatest tunes ever written:

HandelAcis and Galatea: “Oh, didst thou know . . . As when the dove” (1990)
(Kathleen Battle, soprano; Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner)

Link

Here’s the chap who wrote “A Boy And A Girl”:

Wow.


Educating Peter # 32

January 27, 2013

The Cavalcade of Calamity List of 1980s Songs Peter’s Never Heard Of continues to grow with this latest suggestion by Michael in his efforts to edumacate me.

This time it’s Karla DeVito‘s 1981 song, “I Can’t Stand To Reminisce”.

(In response to the song titled, I was going to say “When it comes to 1980s songs, me too” – but that’s a very cheap joke.)

Instead of boring you with information about Ms. DeVito you probably already know, I’ll dive right in:

Karla DeVito – “I Can’t Stand To Reminisce” (1981)

Link

0:00-0:12 – Oh dear.

Straight away I’m thinking “This is definitely not the song for me”. Within three seconds I was thinking two incongruous things:

1. Elvis Costello; and
2. music for exercising

As far as I’m concerned, those two thoughts are mutually exclusive. They should never appear in a person’s brain at the same time, otherwise they could lead to visions of Elvis Costello exercising. [Shudder]

0:12-0:13 – “Twistin’, turnin’…”

Ewww. Yuck. Yuck. Yu-hu-hu-hu-uck.

0:13-0:15 – “Watch a-me burghghghghgh-nin’…”

This. Is. Horrible.

0:15-0:17 – “I’m fireproofin’ it”.

I’m fireproofin’ it? Fireproofin’??? That’s a verb?

(Note to self: Persevere, Peter. You only have two and a half minutes to go. You can do it. Just think: at least it’s not opera.)

0:18-0:22 – With Karla singing about sweating, I’m convinced this song was written expressly for the purpose of being used in gyms – the ones with lots of mirrors so the exercisers can see themselves becoming resplendent.

Now I’m thinking of Flashdance and the lady with the leotards and those leg warmers. (What was her name again? Was it Jennifer? Jessica? Ah, the Internet tells me it was Jennifer.)

0:23-0:26 – I’m having trouble understanding Ms. Devito’s diction here. It sounds like she’s singing “Well, do you ape for me like he do?”, but I’m fairly certain that’s not it. (Although considering this is a song that contains the line “I’m fireproofin’ it”, maybe it is.) It’s probably “ache for me”, but what about “like he do”? I may have to consult a lyric sheet.

It’s at this point in the proceedings that I’d like to mention something other than the lyrics and the singing:

I think the music is perfectly adequate for what it is (i.e., perky, early-’80s new wave/power pop). It played well enough, produced decently enough, and elicits absolutely no strong feelings from me at all.

OK. back to the song. [Ugh]

0:26-0:38 – I think this is the chorus. Karla’s vocals are now double-tracked, and she’s singing the name of the song, and following it with that pesky line, “Well, can you ache for me like he do”, or “we do”, or something. (Now I’m thinking of “The Stonecutters Song” from The Simpsons, when they all sing “we do, we do”.)

I like the harmony vocals at the end of the chorus, when multiple Karlas sing “I still remember it” (0:36-0:38).

0:38-0:43 – Oh no. This bit immediately after the chorus reminds me of “Oliver’s Army“. I’m now thinking of Elvis Costello at the gym.

0:44-0:47 – “Wheelin’, dealin’, tradin’ on feelin’…”. Okay.

0:50-0:52 – “Love virus eats at your mind…”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone to tell me about mind-eating viruses.

0:55-0:58 – And we’re back to “Do you ape for me like he do?”.

0:58-1:10 – The second chorus. It’s not all that different from the first one. This also has that cute Karla-singing-with-herself double-tracking at the end of it (1:08-1:09). I like it because it the sound of the harmony vocal reminds me of ABBA‘s Agnetha Fältskog (the blonde one) at her most strident.

Speaking of things in this song reminding me of other things…

The first four notes of the chorus melody (“I can’t stand to”) remind me of two other pieces of music.

Bear with me here, because this is going to be exceptionally trivial:

1. The four-note melody of “I can’t stand to” is the same as the first four notes of the solo violin part in the “Sanctus” movement of Fauré‘s Requiem*:

Gabriel FauréRequiem in D minor, Op. 48 (1893 version) – III. Sanctus (excerpt)
(La Chapelle Royale; Les Petites Chanteurs de Saint-Louis; Ensemble Musique Oblique, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe)

Link

2. When I’m hearing Karla’s four-note melody I have the urge to sing “Mammy’s little baby loves shortnin’ shortnin’…

But back to the song.

The law of averages regarding pop songs like “I Can’t Stand To Reminisce” tells me there’s going to be a middle eight next, followed by a guitar solo.

1:10-1:12 – Q: Is this a guitar solo?

A: Nope. It’s a little instrumental break.

Q: Are we not men?

A: We are Devo!

1:12-1:24 – It’s a middle eight. I wonder if there’s a guitar solo after it.

1:12-1:33 – Nope. It’s the back end of the chorus, starting from “Do you ape for me like he do?” (or whatever that is).

1:31 – A dramatic stop by the band, and then…

1:33-1:33 – Ah, it’s not a guitar solo. It’s a piano solo.

For me, this piano solo can be broken down into separate parts:

1:33-1:36 – some frisky tickling of the ivories;
1:36-1:38 – a bit of Elvis Costello;
1:38-1:41 – the pianist doing an impression of someone falling down stairs; and
1:41-1:43 – more Elvis Costello.

Wow. That was a 10-second solo.

1:43-1:46 – “Can you ape for me like he do”. What is she singing?

1:46-2:01 – It sure is an energetic chorus.

2:01-2:06 – More “Oliver’s Army”.

2:07-2:09 – And the band’s just added an extra guitar in the mix. With only 23 seconds to go until the song finishes, isn’t that a bit late to add an extra guitar?

2:07-2:09 – Here Karla’s repeating the title of the song in order to ram it into your head so that you won’t forget it in a hurry.

Minor Observation: In between Karl’s double-tracked recitations of “I can’t stand to reminisce”, Karla adds three “No!”s, one at 2:12, then at 2:15, and the last one at 2:18. The first one is enthusiastic, but the second one sounds half-hearted.

2:20-2:22 – Bizarreness Alert: The way Karla and the band end the song here is weird – with a capital “W”. Karla sings her line (“I can’t stand to reminisce”) the way she’s done so throughout the song, but the band plays haltingly. It sounds like they’re skidding to the end of the song. After listening to it a couple more times I realised they decided to add an extra note, maybe for dramatic effect. But for me, all it succeeded in doing was make the ending sound sloppy. To me, it just sounds wrong.

2:23-2:26 – As the guitars and bass fade out their last chord the drummer sneaks in some drum fills before…

2:26 – The real ending of the song. Bam!

Now the song’s finished.

***

OK. Summing up “I Can’t Stand To Reminisce”:

Er, it was alright.

***

*If you’re interested, here’s the full Requiem. I adore it.

Gabriel FauréRequiem in D minor, Op. 48 (1893 version)
(La Chapelle Royale; Les Petites Chanteurs de Saint-Louis; Ensemble Musique Oblique, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe)


Educating Peter # 24

December 2, 2012

Michael’s suggestion this week is a song from 1986, and it’s something Michael thought I might be a little more comfortable with than some of the other songs he’s suggested in the past.

The song is “Emotion In Motion“, and it’s by Ric Ocasek, the most noticeable member of The Cars. As Michael guessed correctly (I never told him), I’m a fan of The Cars.

I must be completely honest here and say that I’m not an über fan. My enjoyment of The Cars extends only to the radio hits. I’ve heard them, love them, but never felt the need to delve deep into their discography.

When Michael suggested “Emotion In Motion” I had a little chuckle to myself, because I thought it slightly ironic that a performer as static and unemotional as Ric Ocasek (only Roy Orbison is less animated on stage) was singing a song about emotion.

Before we start, I’d like to say that as far as I know I haven’t heard “Emotion In Motion”. The only Cars solo work I know I’ve heard is by the band’s lead guitarist Elliot Easton, who is my favourite Cars member. Mr. Easton is an impeccable guitarist (nope, he can’t be pecced at all) who plays with great taste, and his solos are superbly constructed. (I was going to say his solos are little masterpieces, but that might be going a bit too far.)

It’s entirely possible that I have heard Ric’s “Emotion In Motion” at some point and then forgot about it. We shall see. Or hear.

OK. Enough preamble. We’ve got a song to listen to.

Ric Ocasek – “Emotion In Motion (1986)

Link

0:00-0:04 (Intro) – When the little synthesizer toot-toot started the song, I thought “Oh-oh – I have a feeling this isn’t going to go well.”

0:04-0:09 (Intro continued) – And now a drum beat is accompanying the little tooting synthesizer. What’s remarkable about the drums here is that the sound tells you exactly when it was recorded: the mid-80’s. It’s a sound, like most sounds from the 80’s, that has dated dreadfully. I’m not looking forward to the rest of the song.

0:09-0:28 (Even more intro) – That’s a semi-nice guitar sound. It has that mid-80’s “chorus” sound that I usually love, but here it’s not chorussy enough for me. More chorus on the guitar please.

0:28-1:05 (Verse) – Hang on a minute. Ric’s started singing, and the first thing he sings is “I would do anything…”. The combination of that lyric and the melody Ric’s singing makes me think I’ve heard this song before. Or maybe I’m thinking of another song. Either way, it sure sounds familiar.

Anyway, Ric’s sing in the way he usually does (i.e., with little yelps), but I’m getting distracted by all the incidental percussive sounds. They’re annoying me. They sound like insects.

Now, if I want to listen to insects in music I’ll listen to American composer George Crumb’s Black Angels:

[Beware: Do not listen to this late at night with headphones on and the lights out.]

Man, that’s freaky.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Trying to not think of insects whilst listening to “Emotion in Motion”. By the way, has anyone ever thought that Ric Ocasek resembles a praying mantis?

Grrr. I’m still listening to the verse, but all I’m noticing is those insects.

1:05-1:27 (Chorus) – This is the chorus, and it sounds even more familiar than the verse. I guess I have heard “Emotion In Motion” before. And I guess that my brain decided long ago that it’s a forgettable song. As I’m listening to the chorus I’m thinking to myself, “Gee that’s a wet chorus. And forgettable.” I’m noticing the sonic difference between the verse and chorus and thinking “Those extra synthesizers don’t help make the chorus better – they make it wetter”. That’s about the the only word I can think of to describe it. Wet. But at least it’s short.

1:27-2:04 (Verse) – More of the same. Literally. (There are more synthesizers in this verse than in the first verse.)

If things don’t improve soon I’m going to come to the early conclusion that this is one wet song.

2:05-2:27 (Chorus) – Now I’m paying attention to the lyrics, and I’m wishing I hadn’t. “You’re emotion in motion / Magical potion.”

Magical potion? Really?

2:27-2:46 (Middle eight) – Right on cue, with depressing predictability, is the middle eight. For me it’s a pretty useless section of moody moodless instrumental music that’s there purely because there has to be a middle eight after the second chorus. And I can still hear those insects. This is not fun.

2:46-3:24 (Verse) – Another verse, but this time with a regular drum beat instead of the barely-there drumming in the first two verses. Well, why not?

3:24-4:40 (Chorus) – The double chorus that ends the song. Apart from the double-length and the fade-out, I can’t tell the difference this chorus and the one before the middle eight. Maybe I’m not listening hard enough. Or maybe in the mid-80’s, with digital recording ensconced in most major studios, the people involved in the recording had software that simply copied and pasted the previous chorus. (Highly likely.) Or it is possible that the musicians sat there in the studio, playing every single note. (I doubt it.)

The song has just finished, and I’m very pleased because I don’t have to write about it anymore.

After listening to the song, deciding that it’s horrible, I honestly don’t know how to finish this post on a positive note.

Oh, I know:

Thanks, Michael, for suggesting “Emotion in Motion” this week. I’m looking forward to next week’s song because it won’t be that.


Musical coincidences # 329

November 6, 2012

Just like the previous coincidence in this series, we have another one involving French band Peelgreems and classical music.

Even if you’re not all that familiar with classical music, I reckon you’ll have no trouble spotting this tune used by Peelgreems:

Peelgreems – “The Knight And The Last Crusade (2012) (excerpt)

And…

Tchaikovsky1812 Overture (1880) (excerpt)
[Performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sian Edwards, 1989]

Here are the full versions:

Peelgreems – “The Knight And The Last Crusade (2012)

Tchaikovsky1812 Overture (1880)
[Performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sian Edwards, 1989]