Category Archives: lyrics and lines I especially admire

A beautiful Christmas song

I was introduced to Eclecticity today by Rowan Manahan, whose witty and informative blog I would recommend to anyone who likes to laugh and has to work for a living.

I sing in a choir and, it being the season, we’ve been singing lots of Christmas music.  Yesterday, in fact, we barged on screen during the link after Home and Away on RTÉ two and sang ‘Ding dong merrily on high’, complete with santa hats.  You can see it on the website until the end of the month – find ‘Monday 15th December part three’.

And so, via Eclecticity, I’d like to share this song with you, ‘Grown up Christmas list’.  It’s performed here by Amy Grant and was written by David Foster and Linda Thompson-Jenner.  (If you want an eye-watering biography, look no further than Mr Foster’s: the man is a legend!)  This song has been recorded by a few big names, but I think this version is the most honest and touching.  One for the virtual stocking…?

An album to make grown men cry

This morning I listened to Elbow’s Mercury prize-winning album, The Seldom Seen Kid.  It was easily one of the most sustainedly moving listening experiences I’ve had in a long time.  About halfway through I was so excited about writing this post that I had to make a conscious effort to keep listening and not start writing.  Isn’t that quite typical of our times?  Karl Spain jokes about it in relation to our digital photo habits:

CLICK.  “Here, give us a look!”  Sigh.  “Ah, we were happy then…”

One of the thing’s mentioned on Elbow’s rather beautifully designed website about The Seldom Seen Kid is that the album was conceived very much as a whole and not as a collection of tracks.  (The shift, much lamented in some circles, towards consuming music in track-sized pieces is not good or bad but it does allow outstanding examples of the album format to shine, as in this case.)  This is also evident in the way the album artwork is designed.  It takes the form of an illustrated book, the lyrics presented in a string rather than in the more customary line-by-line way.

The experience of clicking through the digital booklet that comes with the (€6.99!) download of the album from iTunes was very pleasurable, the full-screen PDF format rendering the images at glorious LP size and the text at a readable point size.  Why, oh why can’t all albums sold on iTunes come with something like this?

Singer Guy Garvey writes all the lyrics and some of his turns of phrase are just gorgeous, like this one from Weather to fly :

So in looking to stray from the line we decided instead we should pull at the thread that was stitching us into this tapestry vile and why wouldn’t you try?

His unaffected voice, which he sends soaring every once in a perfectly judged while, is one of the most emotive in music.  The band’s playing on this recording is exquisite and, following the principles of the ‘Turn Me Up!’ movement, is recorded at a lower level to allow a wider dynamic range.

Having sold out their first Dublin date, in the Ambassador on the 27th October, another has been announced for the following night.  I saw their very impressive set at Electric Picnic and will certainly be going along to hear this beautiful, deservedly accoladed album played live.

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