The ingredients for the perfect song

Hah. You didn’t actually think I was getting into song writing did you?

To be honest, it would make sense…

I enjoy writing short passages which resonate with people on an emotional level, I have an extensive musical background and I can absolutely kill “I’m Yours” on Lips (it’s Singstar as Rockband is to Guitar Hero – i.e. the same thing).

This blog isn’t about me though, strictly, although I’ll certainly be forcing my opinion on you.

The thing is, the music YOU enjoy listening to–the music which has the ability to reach inside of YOU–will be different to the music which resonates with me. The melodies which make my skin tingle may very well insult your very being.

Clean Bandit – from the kitchen to the club

On a musical level, these guys know what they’re doing.

Let’s take their most recent song: Symphony featuring Zara Larsson.

I heard it on my way to work yesterday and thought to myself, “this is going to do well.” It had all the ingredients a chart topper needs. The bassy back-beat caters to the clubbers, the catchy electro sections and beautiful melody cater for the radio listeners and the melding of classical instrumental sounds with more current SFX has the potential to bring in an even wider audience.

For me, Larsson nails the pitch changes so well it’s heart melting, and the lyrics are so hopeful and vulnerable. And when the background beat stops, and the melody is held up by a sole glockenspiel (sound effect), it’s kinda magical — you’ll understand its power when you listen, maybe.

It’s only when you watch the music video that the emotion really ramps up.

Seriously, it’s like watching a 4 minute long version of Disney’s UP. This is when the true vulnerability of the lyrics come to the foe.

The song is being played by an orchestra, Larsson stands on a stage aside the conductor as he tunes the band. The intro sequence shows a young man cycling home from the library, and a single percussion beat marks his fatal accident.

The scene changes. The conductor sits in a darkened room, weeping. And so begins the flashbacks, expertly weaving a love story brought to tragic end by a careless driver.

The decision to make our story protagonist–the love sick widower–a conductor is by no means random. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more powerful since sitting in the ranks of an orchestra. You don’t just play the sheet music, you feel the movement and it picks you up and carries you, because you are one of 20 plus musicians playing in perfect synchronicity.

To be the conductor and to feel that music flowing through your arms must be incredible. Each sigh of the strings is a wave of your hand, each percussion beat a flick of the wrist. You’re tapping into something deeper than yourself, and that’s why this video is so powerful.

The emotion the conductor puts into his job directly correlates with his story, and combined with some expert video editing and musical talent, this is truly a work of art.

This is becoming a theme…

It wasn’t long ago that I was obsessed with Rockabye (another Clean Bandit song). This one, telling the story of a single mum poledancing to make ends meet.

It’s funny. I’m not gay, but the Symphony video resonates with me far more strongly than any romantic hetrosexual story. Nor am I a single mother. I’m a well off young adult lying in on a Saturday with no cares. However Rockabye touched me.

Thing is, it doesn’t matter who you are. The stories are well crafted with meaning behind them. Which is more than you can say for most music videos out there!

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