April 17, 2010

My recipe for a perfect song

...might not be exactly the same as yours, Blog. Seeing as your theme song is the B-52s’ “Rock Lobster,” we can safely say you prefer songs that include a bass lead vocal + two crazy female backup singers + surf guitar + organ + undersea noises.

My ingredients are not quite the same. I’m sure our readers have nothing better to do than find out exactly what I want in a song, so let’s not make them wait another minute, Blog!

[Readers, if you have an extra two minutes to spare, that’s all it will take to enhance your experience of today’s post. Click on the hot links, which will take you to Amazon where you can play the first track on each page to hear a sample of what I mean.]

First, the song needs Danny Elfman. While Les Stroud is my favorite folk-type singer, and Jason Danieley is my go-to for Broadway, and Josh Groban is best for classical music, if we’re doing a pop/rock song, Danny Elfman is your man. Not only does he have a fabulous voice (whether crooning or screaming), his range is approximately 12 octaves. Check him out in “Stay,”...he’s singing all those parts! He also did 100% of the vocals in the score to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”  Which he also composed.  What a talent.

Speaking of Oingo Boingo, the ideal song could also use a stirring brass chorus, like the one in “Try to Believe.”  Gets the old blood pumping, hey, Blog?

Speaking of instrumentations, in my humble opinion, we are WAY overdue for a harpsichord resurgence. Seriously. It’s been like 45 years since we had a Top 40 hit featuring some quality harpsichord. Which is why I must reach back to “Love is Blue” for my example here.

Meanwhile, I have to say I just love electronic music, which kinda sorta reminds me of harpsichord sometimes. The 80s got music right in this regard. But for my example here, I’m going all the way back to 1962, probably the first “electronic music” hit ever, “Telstar” by the Tornados. Gol-dammit, Blog, that song rocks!

But speaking of the 80s, the song also needs to have an infectious, happy beat. Like, for example, “Pop Goes the World” by Men Without Hats.  Toe-tapping, isn’t it?

And there you go, the perfect recipe for a fantastic song! An upbeat, zippy tune + Danny Elfman + Moog synthesizer + harpsichord + brass chorus. Not even cowbell could improve that, I daresay!

But you know what, Blog? Ironically, one of the best songs ever recorded is NOT an upbeat, zippy tune sung by Danny Elfman, accompanied by Moog synthesizer and harpsichord, featuring a brass chorus. Instead, it’s a no vocals + flamenco guitar + Renaissance harmonies + speedingly-syncopated-beat hybrid known as Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas.”

Which just goes to show you, you really can never tell what’s going to work fabulously well in music.


...as to the identity of our special guest interviewee for the Rockem Sockem 50th Episode next week!  He is multi-lingual.  I mean VERY multi-lingual, even more than my iPod, iPo, who knows English, French, Spanish, Latin, Italian, Greek, Polish, German, and Swahili.


  1. So, wait, I missed something... *is* there a song that contains all of your perfect recipe?

    I would describe your musical tastes as "eclectic." Really, woman, is there anything you *don't* like? :-)

    My favorite music is pretty much: male vocal lead + lots of guitars + awesome rhythm. I also like rockin' piano.

    Probably the song I love most that's outside my regular sphere is "Diablo Rojo" by Rodrigo Y Gabriela (http://tinyurl.com/y3vpeab). It's ALL guitars (even what sounds like percussion is actually them hammering on their guitars) and impossible to sit still to.

  2. I also favor male vocal lead + lots of guitars + awesome rhythm! But yeah, I am eclectic for sure...I have 30 genres of music on my iPod, from Old Time to New Age. LOL Your song recommendation is fabulous: I'm no expert, but that's pretty much Flamenco guitar (25 tracks on my iPod). You should check out Jesse Cook!