Editor’s Note: On Twitter today, there is a hashtag #twopaired making the rounds. Folks are posting favorite duets. That is not enough for us. This post has a duet of duets, featuring duo Tegan & Sara and duo The White Stripes both taking a run at Walking with a Ghost. Originally posted 22 October 2012.
Last week, I got on the topic of replication studies. Dan Mangan’s new EP got me thinking about how our human desire to be pleasantly surprised is one way of thinking about why readers, reviewers and editors often prioritize novel findings over careful verification. This week, I’m pleased to present what I think is my favourite musical example of a replication study. Continue reading
Today’s song is a soft and hazy vignette from Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan (seen here with her harmonium). Venn Diagram places us in the apartment of a women letting her lover sleep as she awakes and quietly starts the day. The lyrics are careful and evocative, making the song feel like the start of a literary short story. Continue reading
This week, I’ve strayed a little from the usual rock leanings that we have here at Song of Week. I’ve highlighted some great folk music in the past but have never quite made it into country territory. Corb Lund‘s Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier, the title track from his 2007 album, is completely worth the detour. I really don’t care how anyone wants to classify this song, it’s an intense, lyrically dense and literate piece of song craft. As reviewers have noted about his music generally, you start out thinking you might not like it, maybe it’s too country, but before you know it you’re totally absorbed and leaning in to try to make out every word. In this one in particular, the Alberta roots music legend takes us on an emotional and powerful tour of armed human conflict through the eyes of the horses that almost always accompany them and often fall victim to them. It’s a powerful history lesson on the culture of war, though hardly a person is mentioned. Continue reading
CBC’s video player does not play nicely with WordPress for video embedding. So, click the space station below to play the video from CBC Music. We’ll wait right here for you to come back. Please come back…
I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing?)
On Friday, CBC premiered a song collaboration like no other. Astronaut and future space station commander Chris Hadfield grabbed a guitar while in orbit and played along with the Barenaked Ladies and a choir from Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts. Well, technically, he played along with a recording made earlier, and BNL and the choir played along with him. For a few reasons, I wasn’t expecting to love this. When I heard about the project, and then again when I saw the video on Friday, I didn’t pay too much attention to it. It seemed like a fun idea but one that wasn’t much deeper than Astronaut + beloved Canadian band + youth choir = Awwwww The other reason, is that as a long-time member of child and youth choirs, I’m still recovering from singing such other patriotic tunes as the Ont-ari-ari-ario song*, so there’s something about perfect-for-school-choirs projects like this that makes me a little uneasy. Continue reading
Marie-Claire is very busy educating the youth of Canada. Too busy to even listen to music, which is about her favorite thing to do, after educating the youth of Canada. She was not too busy to make it to ScienceOnline 2013. Because the Song of the Week concept traces its roots back to ScienceOnline 2012, we thought it would be fitting to take you back to that very first post – doodly-doo, doodly-doo, doodly-doo…
Emerging out the door of the pub on winter night, you bow your head and tighten your shoulders to keep the chill at bay. A few lilting steps might catch a dusting of snow. It takes a minute or so before the stars on the horizon catch your eye. It’s a crisp clear night. Swinging your head quickly upwards the stars take your breath away. The Milky Way is massive and scrawled across the sky.
No song captures that feeling as well as Built to Spill’s Randy Described Eternity from their 1997 classic Perfect from Now On. A minute of slow, slightly off kilter guitar opens suddenly into full, expansive sheets of sound. The song kind of hits you in the chest. The lyrics themselves attempt to describe the longest time imaginable, but the feeling is actually one of infinite space. The guitar melodies are complex, layered and looped, creating an impression of boundlessness. In the repeated line “stop making that sound,” the sparse story even includes the requisite “shut up” for your friend who has failed to notice the sky and is chattering on about something irrelevant. After a night at the pub when the stars catch your eye and you look breathlessly up in wonder, this is the song that should be playing.