#167 – Truly Madly Deeply

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Artist – Savage Garden
Album – Savage Garden
Year – 1997
Genre – Pop

Is this the most romantic song ever written? Maybe. It definitely makes my top 5 for sure. Now there’s a difference between what’s my favorite love song, and my favorite romantic song. This falls into the latter category for sure, but categories aside, it’s a breathtakingly beautiful song. What can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic. I don’t think it’s cheesy at all, and I think the song captures love in such a poetic and intimate way.

The smooth beat and piano set the tone immediately, but let’s get down to brass tacks. The real draw of the song are the lyrics and singer Darren Hayes’ gentle and softly wavering voice. He sings incredibly well and every note he hits is just perfect, but it’s the little wavers and vibratto in his voice that just seals the deal. It shows true honesty and vulnerability, which is something that it seems not too many men can show these days. It’s almost as if he is on the verge of crying himself.

You truly get the impression that Hayes has suffered a great deal of heartbreak and loneliness in his life, and now has finally found someone who finally accepts him for who he is and loves him for every part of him. He knows he’s found his soulmate, and he wants to give this person everything and anything in return. He’d give his life, and is willing to sacrifice it all for them. Being wanted and needed is an amazing thing, and he captures that feeling perfectly in lyrics like this:

I’ll love you more with every breath
Truly, madly, deeply do
I will be strong I will be faithful
’cause I’m counting on
A new beginning
A reason for living
A deeper meaning, yeah

and this

I’ll make a wish send it to heaven
Then make you want to cry
The tears of joy for all the
pleasure and the certainty
That we’re surrounded by the
comfort and protection of
The highest powers
In lonely hours
The tears devour you

But it’s this chorus that truly paints a magnificent picture of love using nature as a symbol of the power of love. On top of that, there’s no feeling quite like being in a beautiful place with the one you love. It’s twofold beauty, and the effect it has on the heart must be a potent thing indeed:

I want to stand with you on
a mountain
I want to bathe with you in the sea
I want to lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down on me

Again, it’s the little things in Hayes’ voice, that vulnerability, that gives the song that emotional resonance and power. If someone cries for you, they truly love you. As Paul Simon so beautifully said, “If I never loved, I never would have cried.”

All the while, this gentle and affectionate song is being accented with these great big, sweeping synths and lovely guitar accents that just could not be any more well placed. It’s just so light and airy, and this is a perfect example of a group that knows how to craft a song for a specific mood and make it just so. The acoustic guitar solo in this song will surely make your heart melt. It’s a lovely Spanish guitar sound, straight from Andalusia, and just caps off the romantic atmosphere. All you need are some candles and a hot bubble bath.

A song like this is powerful, and if you’re a romantic like me, you’ll probably fall in love with it (see what I did there?) It’s affectionate and tender in all the right places, and really captures such a crystallized feeling of pure love. All I can say is that Savage Garden knows how to write a damn good romantic song.

Thanks for reading and listening! Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned for the next great musical adventure!

#166 – Junk of the Heart (Happy)

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Artist – The Kooks
Album – Junk of the Heart
Year – 2011
Genre – Indie Rock

I’m feeling happy. Let’s review a song with a happy, uptempo chorus, even though the subject of the song is pretty turbulent. Anywhoooo…

The Kooks’ “Junk of the Heart” starts with a great pounding beat; not too soft, not too heavy. It’s just right. Then you get some crisp, clean guitar that really gets you moving. Don’t worry, you’re going to want to bop right along to the beat of this song. Frontman Luke Pritchard’s voice cuts in, with some atmospheric keyboards to back him up. His voice is melodic and sincere, and he uses some cool rhythm to accent certain words. As he builds up to the chorus, you can sense the honesty in his voice.

“I WANNA MAKE YOU HAAAPPYY!” Hear this chorus once, and you’ll be singing right along. It’s that catchy. Not only is catchy, but it is quite happy sounding, but the lyrics are almost pleading and yearning, giving it a sad undertone. But nevertheless, it’s a hell of a chorus, and every instrument layers perfectly. Jangly guitars, a swirling synth, and Pritchard’s own voice mix to wonderful effect.

The cool interplay between major and minor in this song is really neat, and the shifts reflect Pritchard’s own mood throughout the song. The song mostly deals with longing and that feeling of not knowing if someone likes you. It’s that feeling of indecision and hope that carries you through the day, but there’s always that risk of being crushed. It’s a fragile way to be, and this song is someone expressing their secret feelings for someone. It’s quite a lovely sentiment, although if you look at the lyrics, you can certainly see the destructive aspect of this pseudo relationship from verse to verse.

After the second chorus, we get this really cool keyboard solo with some “la la’s” over it, and then a throbbing bassline that leads into one final explosive chorus. This is where you can all your feelings out, and sing as loud as you can. The song ends with a quick fade out in an almost abrupt manner. It’s a short song to be sure, but it’s one that’s due for many repeats.

Looking for something to jam out to? The Kooks got you covered with this very song. You can rock it anytime, anywhere. It’s that good. Need I say more.

Thanks for reading and listening, everyone. Please leave a comment on what your thoughts on the song are, and keep your eyes peeled for the next review!

#165 – Wild Enough

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Artist – Neighbors
Album – Failure
Year – 2014
Genre – Synthpop/Indie Pop

So as the old year ends with hope, let us begin the new year with ebullience and dancing! Enter Noah Stitelman and his synthpop project Neighbors. “Wild Enough” is one of the most infectious songs you’ll ever hear, with lush synths that bloom around you in real time and a joyful energy that is sure to get you moving. Vocally subdued, the song surprised me and makes up for vocal gusto with the true power of swirling melodies and a sense of emotional integrity. Strap yourselves in.

A pulsating tropical beat leads you in and with no hesitation, the opening synth explosion colors your senses in bright hues of neon light. The melody here is just so joyful and happy that you can’t help but smile. Stitelman begins singing, and his voice is soft, like a more reserved and quiet Ben Gibbard. You can tell he’s weaving his tale with conviction, despite the lack of vocal volume. You feel that he’s leading up to something, and that something is the bombastic chorus that the song delivers.

After a quick punch snare roll, the synths drop back in and Stitelman gently wails (is that possible?) and creates this great soft wave of happiness and excitement over the lush painted background of music that is flowing like water across your ears and into your head. It invites a dark room colored by flashing lights and moving bodies. It’s a testament to the exuberance of youthfulness and young love, and this beautifully melodic chorus captures that image brilliantly. The vocals rise and fall, guiding you along to the next verse.

The tropical beat returns underneath the next verse, adding extra texture and provides another exciting flavor. Cue next amazing chorus, but this time you’re in for a bonus surprise that will delight you. The second run through of the chorus melody has a frenetic guitar solo that just takes an already colorful painting and splatters those finishing touches that Pollack would be proud of on top of the canvas.

A subdued bridge serves it’s function to lead us into more and more mind blowing choruses and infectious guitar work that just transports the mind to a place of happiness. And we continue on this road until a fade out lays our heads back down to the earth until we decide to hit repeat.

This is a song that embodies the spirit of new beginnings and of fun, but does so in a way of real honesty and well crafted beauty. You feel every note hit you like a punch that tickles you to laughter. It’s the kick start to a new day and a world full of possibility and wonder, waiting for you to step inside.

Thanks for reading and listening, as always! Be sure to give me your thoughts below and to leave a like!

#164 – Midnight

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Artist – Coldplay
Album – Ghost Stories
Year – 2014
Genre – Alternative Rock/Britpop

Here it is. My number one song of 2014. It wasn’t hard for me to choose this one, as no other song affected me musically and lyrically like Coldplay’s Midnight. I could go on for hours about how amazing I thought the Ghost Stories album was as a whole, but this song took things to a whole new level for me. Some of you may be surprised at my choice, but hopefully I can break down why I love it so much and you can see my points. Keep in mind, I will not be using the word “icy” to describe this song in any way, shape, or form. Take that, mass media.

How to begin. The song’s pulsating rhythm leads you in, and you get the first taste of frontman Chris Martin’s auto-harmonizer augmented voice. Now here’s the thing. You would think that a voice so bolstered my a technology and sound like this would lessen the impact of the emotion of the vocals. To me, it did just the opposite. Every harmony was haunting and dark. It was beautiful, but it seemed to actually draw the pain even more out of the words and voice. Every time Martin sang a word, I got goosebumps from sound of it.

Lyrically, the song just fits the sparse and bleak mood perfectly. The first verse sets the mood and really expresses that emotional trauma and sense of just receiving blow after blow of hurt and loneliness:

In the darkness before the dawn
In the swirling of this storm
When I’m rolling with the punches
And hope is gone
Leave a light, a light on

Just the vocal swell during the third line is enough to show you Martin is bearing his soul. As his voice dissolves, the delicate piano flutters and falls like teardrops. During the second verse, the bass kicks in and Martin gets some real depth behind his harmonies. The bass melody is actually very well constructed and adds a lot of emotional character through melody alone. Second verse:

Millions of miles from home
In the swirling, swimming on
When I’m rolling with the thunder
But bleed from thorns
Leave a light, a light on

If you don’t get goosebumps from that word “swimming,” then I think you should listen again. Just that note placement and jump just has so much power in it. It’s a scream of sorts; a cleansing breath. The whole nature of these verses is just that notion of when life just hits you over and over and over again and you seemingly can’t catch a break and your heart just aches for days, maybe weeks or months at a time. But there’s always that hope at the end. The hope that things will get better, and that the sun will shine again. After great suffering, always cling to the hope for closure, or love, or peace. It is truly what will save you from the darkness.

The twinkling interlude intermingles with Martin’s banshee wails and truly adds a ghostly atmosphere that is very befitting of the album’s title. The repeated chorus here still keeps you interested, as Martin’s falsetto jump once again proves very effective in emphasizing his point. Now is where the beat begins.

You can certainly picture the night sky punctuated by stars as the synths begin to glitter and dance from note to note in a very trance music sort of way. This is the point where your mind can wander and it’s up to you whether you take this as a time to dance in sadness or in joy. As Martin closes with the last haunting words and his voice fades behind the harmonies, you can’t help but have that feeling that no matter what you’re going through, the song understands and offers you a hand to hold in these troubled times of the heart.

Coldplay’s “Midnight” is my song of the year because it is the one that impacted me the most profoundly. Despite 2014’s triumphs, it was also a year of intrapersonal challenges and a lot of tough times. This song encapsulates how I felt though those times perfectly and amplifies the emotions that I couldn’t express through words. The vocals, melody, harmonies and words created a song that just hit me to my core and that I couldn’t ignore, not to mention it’s one of the most finely crafted and emotional Coldplay songs there is. Chris Martin understood me as he went through his own hardship, and I’ll end by saying anyone going through a broken heart, or loneliness out there should listen to Ghost Stories front to back. It’s just the album your looking for right now, and “Midnight” is the linchpin that holds it all together and packs the most punch in it’s subdued way.

Thanks for reading! Comments and likes are great and so are you, so leave one and keep the music going!

Moving Forward

Hey everyone,

So I haven’t been on for a long time…again…and I know I totally missed Christmas songs this year, but I can’t change the past, so it’s all about moving forward at this point. Since it’s happy new year (and I wish all of you one), I was thinking about all of the wonderful music that has come out this year, and I was also thinking about what my favorite songs of the year were. It really didn’t take much thought to figure out what my number one song of the year was, so I’ll be reviewing that next! 2015 is going to be a big year for me. I’m getting my undergraduate degree from SUNY Geneseo and hopefully going to start working in the real world. The thought of becoming a music journalist both excites and terrifies me, as I am fully aware of the difficulty, both financial and mental, in finding work in that field and bouncing from job to job. Hopefully I can find stable opportunities and work on just doing what I love to do. But you know, we’re still kicking here on 1001 Songs, so let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. I just want to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has read and followed this blog in any fashion. I hope you’ve discovered some great songs. That was the original goal, and it still is. The progress may be MUCH slower than I anticipated, since life happens, but we’re going to keep going. I will if you will, my readers. Here’s to 2015, and here’s to the music!