Strong Songs

By Kirk Hamilton

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Subscribers: 324
Reviews: 6

jess
 Nov 1, 2019
Wholesome

Pat
 Oct 24, 2019
This is an entirely lovely podcast. You can hear Kirk's smile, as well as his musical expertise and enthusiasm, and it lifts the spirit. I'm so glad I found this.


 Oct 5, 2019

fuzzy face
 Aug 29, 2019
great cast!


 Aug 7, 2019

Description

Music: it's good. On each episode of Strong Songs, host Kirk Hamilton takes listeners inside a piece of music, breaking it down and figuring out what makes it work.

Episode Date
"Lovefool" by The Cardigans
49:36

You don't have to cry, pray, or beg - Kirk is happy to break down one of the 90s' most iconic pop hits without any further encouragement.

Yes, it's time to take apart The Cardigans' 1996 hit "Lovefool," a song that sounds one way when it's that Romeo + Juliet song that's on the radio all the time, and another way when it's the centerpiece of First Band on the Moon. Kirk zooms out a bit more than usual to place this song in the context of its (fantastic) corresponding album, and to hopefully help everyone better appreciate the meticulous mastery of The Cardigans.

Band/Artist: The Cardigans

Album: First Band on the Moon (1996)

Written by: Nina Persson and Peter Svensson

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

  • Many other tracks from First Band on the Moon

------

OUTRO SOLOIST: Kyle Molitor

Kyle is a Portland-based trombonist who plays in all sorts of bands, and the dude can really get it done. Find him on Instagram @tbonemolitor and find his upcoming shows on his website: https://klmolitor.wixsite.com/tbone

'GRAM BY 'GRAM

If you're interested in occasional music and Portland-related photos and videos, follow Kirk on Instagram @kirk_hamilton. https://www.instagram.com/kirk_hamilton/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest of thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons! If you want to support Kirk making the show, do so here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

JANUARY 2020 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

AccessViolation
andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann
Ryan Torvik

JANUARY 2020 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Adam Georgandis
Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Amanda Furlotti
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
David Stroud
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Gavin Doig
Jacob Dye
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
Jennifer Bush
Jeremy Dawson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O’Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Mark Steen
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
Robbie Ferrero
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tanner Morton
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Jan 22, 2020
"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin
57:13

Do you hear a faint.... bustling? It's coming from your hedgerow. It's not just a spring clean for the May queen... it's a new episode of Strong Songs, straight from the Internet to your eardrums!

Yes, Strong Songs is back from the holidays and ready for a lush new year of thumps, pops, sizzles, and higgada-buggadas. On the first episode of 2020, Kirk goes deep into Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," a song that develops with unusual subtlety, from those quiet opening guitar arpeggios to that howling, rocking culmination.

Band/Artist: Led Zeppelin

Album: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Composed by: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO DISCUSSED:

  • "Black Dog" also from Led Zeppelin IV
  • Clips from Wayne's World, 1992, and a Billboard magazine retrospective with director Penelope Spheeris
  • "Taurus" by Spirit from Spirit, 1968
  • "The Mandalorian" by Ludwig Göransson from The Mandalorian soundtrack, 2019
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen from A Night at the Opera, 1975
  • "Grace" by Jeff Buckley from Grace, 1994
  • A clip from Jeff Buckley Live at Sin-é (Legacy Edition), 1993, which is a really incredible live compilation and you should listen to it

------

OUTRO SOLOIST: Kirk Hamilton

Kirk is, well, the host of Strong Songs. He realized he'd never actually done an outro solo, so he figured he'd kick off year two by recording one. He's playing tenor sax, and there's actually a video of him recording the solo here: https://twitter.com/kirkhamilton/status/1214319584959877123

'GRAM BY 'GRAM

If you're interested in occasional music and Portland-related photos and videos, follow Kirk on Instagram @kirk_hamilton. https://www.instagram.com/kirk_hamilton/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest of thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons, especially all the new folks who signed up in December! If you want to support Kirk making the show, do so here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

JANUARY 2020 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

AccessViolation
andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann
Ryan Torvik

JANUARY 2020 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Adam Georgandis
Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Amanda Furlotti
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
David Stroud
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Gavin Doig
Jacob Dye
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
Jennifer Bush
Jeremy Dawson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O’Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Mark Steen
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
Robbie Ferrero
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tanner Morton
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Jan 08, 2020
One Year, Twenty Songs
50:50

Strong Songs is one year old! In honor of that anniversary, Kirk takes a look back on the year that was, sharing musical highlights from each of the show's 20 single-song episodes.

SCHEDULING NOTE: Strong Songs will be off in December, and will return for Year Two on January 8, 2020. If you're a patron over on Patreon, that means you won't be charged for the month of December.

That also makes December a great month catch up on episodes you may have missed, share the show with your friends, listen to Year One playlists, and enjoy a hopefully very musical holiday season.

SONGS DISCUSSED:

  • "Africa" by Toto from Toto IV, 1982
  • "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon from Graceland, 1986
  • "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" by Beyoncé from I Am... Sasha Fierce, 2008
  • "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder from Songs in the Key Of Life, 1976
  • "Thriller" by Michael Jackson from Thriller, 1982
  • "Dancing Queen" by ABBA from Arrival, 1976
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen from A Night At The Opera, 1975
  • "Let It Go" from Frozen, 2013
  • "Moanin'" by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers from Moanin', 1959
  • "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra from Out Of The Blue, 1977
  • "Satisfied" by Lin-Manuel Miranda from Hamilton, 2015
  • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973
  • "Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe from The Archandroid, 2010
  • "Barracuda" by Heart from Little Queen, 1977
  • "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead from OK Computer, 1997
  • "Like a Prayer" by Madonna from Like a Prayer, 1989
  • "Think" by Aretha Franklin from the Blues Brothers soundtrack, 1980
  • "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal from Seal II, 1994
  • "Making Christmas" by Danny Elfman from The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993
  • "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton from Jolene, 1974, and as performed by Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack, 1992

------

YEAR ONE PLAYLISTS

You can find new playlists with these 20 songs on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/strong-songs-year-1/pl.u-V9D7gaGiJ7o0a

and Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5d9ym1sUymGoySMXOw3zbZ?si=knUCLdHHTQ2lTIQq-uXYmQ

OUTRO SOLOIST: All Of Them!

Thanks to all of the outro soloists we've featured over the past few months: BJ Cord, Galen Clark, Rob Reich, Dan Nervo, Sam Howard, and Steve Pardo. We'll feature plenty more great soloists in Year Two.

SOCIAL MEDIA ALERT

You can find Kirk on Twitter @kirkhamilton, and if you're interested in occasional music and Portland-related photos and videos, follow him on Instagram @kirk_hamilton. https://www.instagram.com/kirk_hamilton/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

In addition to the year-one playlists above, you can find bigger playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest of all thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon backers. Hundreds of people have supported the show since the Patreon launched over the summer, and you've made it possible for Strong Songs to be what it is. For Year Two, we're adding a smaller "Eighth-Note" tier for those of you who just want to kick in a little bit, since a few folks have asked for that.

Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

NOVEMBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann
Ryan Torvik

NOVEMBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Amanda Furlotti
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
David Stroud
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
Jennifer Bush
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kingy
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Molly
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tanner Morton
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Thanks everyone for listening - see you in 2020!

Nov 27, 2019
"I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton
58:58

It takes an extremely strong song to top the charts three separate times in three separate decades, but "I Will Always Love You" is just such a song.

Written and recorded (twice) by Dolly Parton and then re-recorded in show-stopping fashion by Whitney Houston, the ballad has morphed from a fond farewell to a former mentor, to a theatrical goodbye to a lover, to a soaring ode to the very notions of love and loss. We follow that journey from the beginning, with all the vocal tricks, dramatic line-readings, and epic key changes that were added along the way.

Band/Artist: Dolly Parton & Whitney Houston

Albums: Jolene (1974), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), and The Bodyguard soundtrack (1992)

Composed by: Dolly Parton

Listen/Buy (Jolene): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

Listen/Buy (TBLWIT): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

Listen/Buy (The Bodyguard): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO DISCUSSED/FEATURED:

  • The sensational new WNYC podcast Dolly Parton's America
  • "The Last Thing On My Mind" by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner
  • "Applejack" by Dolly Parton from New Harvest...First Gathering, 1977
  • "Let It Go" from Frozen performed by Idina Menzel

------

OUTRO SOLOIST: Dan Nervo

Mr. Dan Nervo has the tiller for this episode's outro solo. Dan plays guitar all around the San Francisco Bay Area in bands like Neon Velvet, and also teaches private guitar lessons. Hit him up if you want to get really good at guitar: https://www.facebook.com/DanNervoGuitarLessons/

ONE 'GRAM AT A TIME

If you're interested in occasional music and Portland-related photos and videos, follow Kirk on Instagram @kirk_hamilton. https://www.instagram.com/kirk_hamilton/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest of thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons. If you want to support Kirk making the show, do so here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

NOVEMBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS (Thank you!!)

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann
Ryan Torvik

NOVEMBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Amanda Furlotti
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
David Stroud
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
Jennifer Bush
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kingy
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Molly
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tanner Morton
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Nov 13, 2019
"Making Christmas" from The Nightmare Before Christmas
50:48

When the full moon starts to climb, we'll all sing out... it's time to talk about the best stop-motion animated Halloween/Christmas movie musical ever made! Hee hee hee hee heeee!

Tim Burton and Danny Elfman's maniacal miniature-musical The Nightmare Before Christmas was unusual when it came out in 1993 and, despite the fact that it went on to became a beloved Disney classic, is still unusual today. The centerpiece ensemble song "Making Christmas," during which the well-meaning but hopeless denizens of Halloween Town attempt to craft their own kind of creepy Christmas, is a crucial turning point for the film, both narratively and musically.

In this episode, Kirk takes a closer look at what makes "Making Christmas" tick, from its densely interwoven character motifs to its ever-shifting orchestration to its earth-shaking contrabass woodwinds.

Band/Artist: Danny Elfman and the Halloween Town Cast

Album: The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, 1993

Composed by: Danny Elfman

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

  • Various other songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, 1993
  • "The Simpsons Theme" by Danny Elfman, 1989
  • "Dead Man's Party" and "Weird Science" by Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo from Dead Man's Party, 1985
  • "Dies Irae" performed by the monks of the Abbey of Notre Dame
  • "Theme from The Shining" by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, 1980
  • "The Carol of the Bells" by Mykola Leontovych, 1914, with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky, as conducted by John Williams on the soundtrack from Home Alone

------

Update 10/31: After I published this episode on the 30th, several listeners wrote in to tell me about the Dies Irae, a 13th century Gregorian death chant that also shares the first four notes of the "Making Christmas" motif and has turned up in a TON of movies besides. I wasn't familiar with the Dies Irae (I know!), so I've updated the episode to include a mention of it. You'll have to redownload the episode if you want to hear that version. You can also watch a great Vox explainer video about the Dies Irae here: https://www.vox.com/videos/2019/9/16/20868789/creepy-melody-movies-catholic-chant-lion-king-shining - Kirk

------

NEW MUSIC VIDEO!

It's a multi-instrumental arrangement of the theme from the classic  adventure game The Secret of Monkey Island, featuring both pennywhistle and normal whistle, among other instruments: https://youtu.be/zf7VQiu1MGo 

To catch the next one, subscribe to Kirk's YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/kirkhamiltonmusic

------

OUTRO SOLOIST: Steve Pardo

This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Steve Pardo. Steve and Kirk met when they were both jazz saxophone students at the University of Miami; Steve currently lives and performs around the Nashville, TN area. He's a producer, composer, and does work in the world of video games, having spent several years at Harmonix, where he helped make music games like Rock Band and Dance Central. You can find out more at his website: https://www.stevepardo.com/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

Thanks as always to everyone who supports Strong Songs on Patreon. If you want to support Kirk making this podcast, find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

OCTOBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann

OCTOBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
Dominik Schmitt
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Oct 30, 2019
"Kiss From a Rose" by Seal
52:40

There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say... especially if that man is named Kirk, and the thing he's telling you about is Seal's "Kiss From a Rose."

Kirk goes back to the 90s for a close look at Seal's Grammy-winning, Batman-adjacent power ballad and finds a song that's much more interesting than he even remembered. It's an indulgent world of thick counterpoint, long phrases, harp flourishes, and oboe solos, with some of the richest vocal arranging this side of a chamber choir.

Band/Artist: Seal

Album: Seal II, 1994 and the Batman Forever soundtrack, 1995

Composed by: Seal

Produced by: Trevor Horn

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

OUTRO SOLOIST: Sam Howard

This episode's outro soloist is bassist Sam Howard. Sam lives in Nashville, TN, where he performs and tours with all kinds of artists, most recently hitting the road with the wonderful singer/guitar-shredder Molly Tuttle. Sam played all the way through the Strong Songs outro, so keep an ear out for his playing mixed under the horns on the way out. You can find out what Sam's up to at his website, https://samhowardmusic.com.

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest of thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons. The show is drawing ever-nearer to its next goal, which will mean a bonus episode all about music terminology. If you want to support the show, do so here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

OCTOBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann

OCTOBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
Dominik Schmitt
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Oct 16, 2019
Listener Q&A: Fiddle Battles and Bad Sax
55:48

Kirk opens the Strong Songs mailbag to tackle your questions about demonic fiddle playing, lousy sax solos, Led Zeppelin counting, fake-out intros, reverb, children's music, and more.

REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

  • "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band from Million Mile Reflections, 1979
  • "The Eternal Triangle" by Sonny Stitt from Sonny Side Up, 1959
  • "The Jones Girl" by the Five Satins, 1956
  • "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, 1977
  • "Hot For The Mountain" and "Never Too Late" by Natalie Prass from The Future and the Past, 2018
  • "Destination" by Nickel Creek from A Dotted Line, 2014
  • "My Doorbell" by the White Stripes from Get Behind Me Satan, 2005
  • "It's All Over Now" by the Rolling Stones, 1964
  • "For The Love of Money" by the O'Jays, 1974
  • "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin from Led Zeppelin IV, 1971
  • "Gumboots" by Paul Simon from Graceland, 1986
  • "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks, 1964
  • "Baby Beluga" by Raffi from Baby Beluga, 1980
  • "Bananaphone" by Raffi from Bananaphone, 1994
  • "Here Comes the Sun" by George Harrison from Abbey Road, 1969
  • "Freddie Freeloader" by Miles Davis from Kind of Blue, 1959
  • "Searching" by Hanne Hukkelberg from Little Things, 2005

OTHER LINKS

OUTRO SOLOIST: Rob Reich

This episode's outro soloist is the wonderful bay area pianist/accordionist Rob Reich. Rob performs all over the place with a bunch of different groups, and is a total pleasure to see play. He's got a bunch of albums you can check out and contributes to an array of interesting projects (Live silent-film scores! Circus music!) and experiments. Find more at his website, http://www.robreich.com/.

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

A huge thank-you as always to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons! The show is nearing its next goal, which will mean a bonus episode all about music terminology. If you want to support the show, here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

OCTOBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Merlin Mann

OCTOBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alex Singer
Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Baker
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Brooke Wilford
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
Dominik Schmitt
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
SP
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Oct 02, 2019
Secrets of a Great Band Director
55:17

In this Patreon-funded special episode, Kirk sits down with his former high school band director Janis Stockhouse to talk about her life as a music educator.

Janis started teaching at North high school in Bloomington, Indiana, in the early 1980s. It was a time when "jazz education" as a concept was still a relatively new thing. She retired 38 years later, having grown the North band program into a well-known Midwest institution, winning countless awards at festivals around the world and regularly turning out graduates who would go on to become professional musicians, as well as many others who would simply have a lifelong love of music.

On this episode she tells the story of starting out at North and developing the program, along with her thoughts on how to get students to practice, which composers she prefers for student groups, women in jazz, funding for the arts, and some good old-fashioned album recommendations.

REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

Janis's 2004 book Jazzwomen: Conversations With Twenty-One Musicians, which she co-wrote with Wayne Enstice - there are used copies on Amazon, and you should really track down a copy and read it

The late great jazz legend David Baker, whose NYT obituary captured at least some of his legacy: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/arts/music/david-baker-who-helped-bring-jazz-studies-into-the-academy-dies-at-84.html

MUSIC ON THIS EPISODE:

  • "IU Swing Machine" by David Baker as played by the 2016 IU Celebration Big Band
  • "Don't Get Sassy" by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band
  • "Hang Gliding" by Maria Schneider from Alegresse
  • "Bright Eyes" as played by the Bill Holman big band
  • "Take the 'A' Train" by Billy Strayhorn as performed by the Duke Ellington orchestra
  • "Vol. 6: All 'Bird' - Now's The Time" Play-A-Long by Jamey Aebersold (featuring Kenny Barron and Ron Carter(!!))
  • "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" by Abbey Lincoln from Abbey Is Blue, 1959
  • "Song Patrol" by Jane Ira Bloom from Early Americans, 2016
  • "Lingala" by the SF Jazz Collective from their 2005 self-titled album
  • "So What" and "Flamenco Sketches" by Miles Davis from Kind of Blue, 1959
  • "My Favorite Things" as performed by John Coltrane on My Favorite Things, 1966
  • "Mercy Mercy Mercy" by Josef Zawinul as performed by the Cannonball Adderley quintet on Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, 1966

OUTRO SOLOIST: BJ CORD

This episode's outro soloist is BJ Cord, a fellow Bloomington North graduate and fantastic trumpet player based in Portland. BJ works at Monette trumpets making some of the most beautiful horns in the world, and is a regular presence on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monettetrumpets

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

This episode was made possible entirely because of the show's Patreon patrons, so a huge thank you to all of them! The show is nearing its next goal, which will mean another bonus episode like this one, so if you want to support the show, here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

SEPTEMBER 2019 WHOLE NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Sara Walsh

SEPTEMBER 2019 HALF NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
Dominik Schmitt
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Sep 25, 2019
"Think" by Aretha Franklin
50:50

Let's go back, let's go back, let's go way on back to that time Aretha Franklin recorded one of her best songs.

On this episode, Kirk dives into two different versions of Franklin's classic tune "Think." First it's the laid back groove and roomy mix of the 1968 original, then it's time to fast-forward 12 years for the juiced-up arrangement she recorded with the Blues Brothers band in 1980.

It's a story of how different production techniques, arrangements, and tempos can lead to two very different—but equally excellent—versions of the same song. We've done Dancing Queen, we've covered the band Queen, so it feels like it's past time for the Queen of Soul. 

NOTE: This episode is best enjoyed along with four fried chickens and a Coke.

Band/Artist: Aretha Franklin

Album: Aretha Now, 1968 and The Blues Brothers: Original Soundtrack, 1980

Composed by: Aretha Franklin and Teddy White

Listen/Buy (Original): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

Listen/Buy (Blues Brothers): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED/DISCUSSED:

OUTRO SOLOIST: Galen Clark

This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Galen Clark. Galen plays keyboard and organ and acts as bandleader for the soul jazz group Trio Subtonic; you can find playing regularly around Portland, Oregon and occasionally on tour. Find more information at their website, https://www.triosubtonic.net.

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

Many, many thanks to all of Strong Songs's patrons! A patron-funded bonus episode should be finished for next week, so look forward to that.

If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

SEPTEMBER 2019 WHOLE NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Sara Walsh

SEPTEMBER 2019 HALF NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
Dominik Schmitt
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

 

Sep 18, 2019
"Like a Prayer" by Madonna
44:51

Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone... except for everyone listening to this episode, because we're traveling together through doubt and deliverance with Madonna's "Like a Prayer."

Kirk takes a look at the high-contrast drama of the megastar's 1989 megahit, with its cathedral-like verses, bus-driving guitar rhythms, bouncy basslines, and perfectly placed Latin percussion flourishes. The music video got a lot of attention back in the day, but there's plenty in the song itself to celebrate, from Prince's mystery guitar to Madonna's vulnerable vocals to the joyful power of the Andraé Crouch Choir.

Band/Artist: Madonna

Album: Like a Prayer, 1989

Composed by: Madonna and Patrick Leonard

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED/DISCUSSED:

  • "Open Your Heart To Me" by Madonna from True Blue, 1986
  • "Like a Prayer" as covered by the cast of Glee
  • The music video for "Like a Prayer": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA983t3Rdzs
  • Three excellent music documentaries: "Muscle Shoals," "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," and "20 Feet From Stardom." (Seriously, watch all three!)

OUTRO SOLOIST: Steve Pardo

This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Steve Pardo. Steve and Kirk met when they were both jazz saxophone students at the University of Miami; Steve currently lives and performs around the Nashville, TN area. He's a producer, composer, and does work in the world of video games, having spent several years at Harmonix, where he helped make music games like Rock Band and Dance Central. You can find out more at his website: https://www.stevepardo.com/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

A huge thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs—your support is making it possible to make this show as good as it can be! Stay tuned for a bonus episode in the next few weeks, made possible entirely by our Patrons.

If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

SEPTEMBER 2019 WHOLE NOTE PATRONS

andrew walters
CALEB ROTACH
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Jared Norris
Mark Schechter
Sara Walsh

SEPTEMBER 2019 HALF NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Chas Lednicky
Chris Brown
Cyrus N. White
Dominik Schmitt
Earl Lozada
Eero Wahlstedt
Elliot Jay O'Neill
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
Jules Bailey
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kate Albury
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Matt Gaskell
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Miriam Juskowicz
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
samuel gardner
Shane DeLeon
Shaun Wiese
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Sep 04, 2019
Listener Q&A: Nirvana, P!nk, Jethro Tull, Radiohead
49:19

Kirk opens up the Strong Songs mailbag to answer your questions about Marty McFly's musical instructions, Ian Anderson's flute style, Kurt Cobain's guitar tone, how to count songs by P!nk and Radiohead, and what to do if you play an "unsexy" instrument.

REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

  • Back to the Future, a 1985 movie that you've probably seen
  • "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, 1958
  • "Walk Me Home" by P!nk
  • "Where the Boys Are" performed by Connie Francis, 1960
  • "Come as You Are" by Nirvana from Nevermind, 1991
  • "Cross-Eyed Mary" by Jethro Tull from Aqualung, 1971
  • "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits from Brothers in Arms, 1985
  • "Pyramid Song" by Radiohead from Amnesiac, 2001

PYRAMID SONG COUNTING BREAKDOWN:

Keyboard (eighth notes):
[(3 3 4 3 3) + (3 3 4 3 3)] x 2 = 64 eighth notes, aka 32 beats

Drums (quarter notes):
[(3 2 3) + (3 2 3)] x 2 = 32 quarter notes, aka 32 beats

Kirk also made this ludicrous infographic: https://twitter.com/kirkhamilton/status/1164239460604641280

Other links:

The Wikipedia entry for the Mere-Exposure Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mere-exposure_effect

OUTRO SOLOIST: Dan Nervo

No new outro soloist this episode - we're re-sharing a guitar solo by the fantastic Dan Nervo. Dan plays guitar all around the San Francisco Bay Area in bands like Neon Velvet, and also teaches private guitar lessons. Hit him up if you want to get really good at guitar: https://www.facebook.com/DanNervoGuitarLessons/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest possible thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs—your support is making it much easier to dedicate the time that the show deserves!

If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

AUGUST 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

Caleb Rotach
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Sara Walsh

AUGUST 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Chas Lednicky
Earl Lozada
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeff Dixon
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O’Keefe
joujou
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Nick Clements
Ravy Vajravelu
Richard Toller
Shane DeLeon
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Aug 21, 2019
Strong TV Songs: Animated Edition
01:10:20

It's time for something a little different, as Kirk takes a look at the theme songs from some of the most beloved animated TV shows of all time.

This super-sized episode focuses on five different pieces of music, each of which is the theme for a different animated show. It's a ton of music in a variety of styles, full of frantic key shifts, earwormy melodies, bodacious drum fills, and a surprising number of saxophone solos.

The songs, in order:

  • "The Simpsons Theme" by Danny Elfman, 1989
  • "Duck Tales" by Mark Mueller, 1987
  • "Rescue Rangers" by Mark Mueller, 1989
  • "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" from Neon Genesis Evangelion, by Hidetoshi Satō, Neko Oikawa, and Toshiyuki Omori, 1995
  • "Tank!" from Cowboy Bebop, by Yoko Kanno, 1998

ALSO FEATURED:

  • "Maria" from West Side Story's 2009 Broadway cast recording, by Leonard Bernstein
  • The Batman: The Animated Series theme by Danny Elfman
  • "The Disney Afternoon Theme" and "Monkey In Your Tank" performed by The Disney Afternoon Studio Chorus
  • "A Cruel Angel's Thesis: Bike Horn Cover" by Alex Small-Butera on YouTube
  • "Front Burner" arranged by Sammy Nestico for the Count Basie big band
  • "Cat Blues" and "Sax Quartet" from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, both by Yoko Kanno

OUTRO SOLOIST: Rob Reich

This episode's outro soloist is the fantastic bay area pianist/accordionist Rob Reich. Rob performs all over the place with a bunch of different groups, and is a total pleasure to see play. He's got a bunch of albums you can check out and contributes to an array of interesting projects (Live silent-film scores! Circus music!) and experiments. Find more at his website, http://www.robreich.com/.

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The biggest possible thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs—your support is making it much easier to dedicate the time that the show deserves!

If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

AUGUST 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

Caleb Rotach
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Glenn
Sara Walsh

AUGUST 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Bill Thornton
Brett Douville
Brian Amoebas
Chas Lednicky
Earl Lozada
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeff Dixon
Jeffrey Olson
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O’Keefe
joujou
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Nick Clements
Ravy Vajravelu
Richard Toller
Shane DeLeon
Tim
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Aug 07, 2019
"Paranoid Android" by Radiohead
55:12

Brace for a pressurized descent, as Kirk braves the undercurrents of Radiohead's alt-rock masterpiece "Paranoid Android."

It's a structurally distinct, sonically adventurous, harmonically varied, and unexpectedly Bohemian Rhapsodyesque journey into the human psyche as Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and the rest of their not-so-merry band plumb the depths of 90s alienation.

Band/Artist: Radiohead

Album: OK Computer, 1997

Composed by: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood, Philip Selway

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
  • "Fitter Happier" from OK Computer
  • "Hyper Music" by Muse

(This episode's audio was edited to correct some flanger/phaser confusion, thanks to listener Oblong Thong for sharing this cool catalogue of Greenwood's guitar effects: https://thekingofgear.com/jonny/effects)

OUTRO SOLOIST: Galen Clark

This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Galen Clark. Galen plays keyboard and organ and acts as bandleader for the soul jazz group Trio Subtonic; you can find playing regularly around Portland, Oregon and occasionally on tour. Find more information at their website, https://www.triosubtonic.net.

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

STRONG PLAYLISTS

You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

As always, a massive thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs- your support makes it possible to make the show what it is!

If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

Caleb Rotach
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Sara Walsh

HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Chas Lednicky
Earl Lozada
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeff Dixon
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
Shane DeLeon
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

Jul 24, 2019
"Barracuda" by Heart
47:24

It's time for the hardest rocking song ever written about sea life, as Kirk takes a deep dive into Heart's 1977 body-shaker "Barracuda."

A deceptively complex song written around a deceptively straightforward riff, "Barracuda" opens the door for a discussion of the particulars of guitar tone, stompbox effects, the long history of the "galloping groove," why Ann Wilson's vocals rock as hard as they do, and a brief tribute to her sister Nancy's killer guitar chops.

Band/Artist: Heart

Album: Little Queen, 1977

Composed by: Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Roger Fisher, Michael DeRosier

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

  • "Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • "Make a Mistake with Me" by Brad Paisley
  • "November Rain" by Guns 'n Roses feat. Slash
  • "This Flight Tonight" as performed by Nazareth
  • "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin
  • "William Tell Overture" by Gioachino Rossini
  • "Crazy on You" by Heart
  • "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin

A cool interview with Roger Fisher about creating his Barracuda guitar tone, as well as that "Alien Attack" sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcQik5m0t9Q

A Wall Street Journal interview with the Wilsons about the process of writing the song: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rage-behind-hearts-barracuda-11557331740

OUTRO SOLOIST: Dan Nervo

This episode's outro soloist is the fantastic Dan Nervo. Dan plays guitar all around the San Francisco Bay Area in bands like Neon Velvet, and also teaches private guitar lessons. Hit him up if you want to get really good at guitar: https://www.facebook.com/DanNervoGuitarLessons/

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

Join the club over at the Strong Songs Patreon and help make this show as good as it can be. We're still working toward 250 backers, at which point Kirk will do a bonus interview episode with an interesting musician or educator.

Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

Caleb Rotach
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Sara Walsh

HALF-NOTE PATRONS

Alexander Polson
Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Chas Lednicky
Earl Lozada
Emily Williams
FlSHBONES
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeff Dixon
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O'Keefe
joujou
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Max Schechter
Melanie Stivers
Michael Blackwell
Mueller
Nate from Kalamazoo
Nicholas Schechter
Richard Toller
Shane DeLeon
Tom Clewer
Tom Lauer

A huge thank you to all of Strong Songs' patrons - your support makes it possible to make the show what it is!

Jul 10, 2019
"Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe
54:46

Whether you're high or low, you got to tip on the tightrope... and Kirk's got to tip right into a Strong Songs analysis of "Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe.

It's time for some thump, some pop, and some sizzle, along with some clever rap phrasing, phrygian harmonies, surprise ukulele, and the funkiest horn section in Metropolis.

Band/Artist: Janelle Monáe

Album: The ArchAndroid, 2010

Composed by: Janelle Monáe, Nathaniel Irvin III, Charles Joseph II, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

Several other songs from The ArchAndroid; "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder from Natural Wonder Live; re-created beats from Strong Songs episodes on Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

For more on the lore behind Monáe's Metropolis suite, read this great summary by Charles Pulliam-Moore at io9: https://io9.gizmodo.com/from-metropolis-to-dirty-computer-a-guide-to-janelle-m-1825580195

OUTRO SOLOIST: BJ CORD

This episode's outro soloist is BJ Cord, a fantastic trumpet player based in Portland by way of Chicago. BJ works at Monette trumpets making some of the most beautiful horns in the world, and is a regular presence on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monettetrumpets

THE STRONG SONGS THEME!

You can listen to a (basically) final mix of the Strong Songs Theme Song on Kirk's Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/kirkhamilton/strong-songs-theme-song

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

Join the club over at the Strong Songs Patreon and help make this show as good as it can be. We're well on our way to 250 backers, at which point Kirk will do a bonus interview episode with an interesting musician or educator.

Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

A huge thank you to all of the show's backers for June, in particular those who've signed up for the Half- and Whole-Note tiers.

JUNE WHOLE-NOTE BACKERS:

Caleb Rotach
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Sara Walsh

HALF-NOTE BACKERS:

Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Chas Lednicky
Earl Lozada
Emily Williams
Fishbones
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeff Dixon
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O’Keefe
joujou
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Max Schechter
Michael Blackwell
Shane DeLeon
Tom Lauer

Thanks, too, to everyone who has signed up in the last couple weeks.

Jun 26, 2019
"Tiny Dancer" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John
46:42

Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote so many great songs over the years that it was impossible to pick a single one for Strong Songs. So, why not do two?

Kirk dives into a pair of classics by the storied songwriting duo, talking about Elton's chameleon-like voice, his love of pedal tones and embrace of the circle of fourths, the fascinating relationship between lyricist and songwriter, and what it means for a song to sound "piano-y." 

Both songs by: Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin

Album 1: Madman Across the Water, 1971

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

Album 2: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

"I'm Still Standing," "Your Song," and "Grey Seal," all by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. "I Want Love" by John/Taupin, as performed in the 2019 movie Rocketman.

NEW THEME MUSIC!

Strong Songs has a new theme song! It'll evolve a bit over the next few episodes as Kirk adds a couple more musicians to the mix, so that should be fun. Hope you dig it.

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

The new theme music was a result of the Strong Songs Patreon hitting its first goal of 150 backers. It's juuuuust about to break the next goal of 200, too. At 250, Kirk will do a bonus interview episode with an interesting musician or educator.

Find out how you can support the creation of this show over at the Strong Songs Patreon: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

A huge thank you to all of the show's backers this first month, in particular those who've signed up for the Half- and Whole-Note tiers.

WHOLE-NOTE BACKERS:

Caleb Rotach
Chad Barnard
Dan Apczynski
Dave Florey
Sara Walsh

HALF-NOTE BACKERS:

Andre Bremer
Andrew Lee
Arjun Sharma
Chas Lednicky
Earl Lozada
Emily Williams
Fishbones
Forrest Chang
Jaehoon Jeong
James Johnson
Jasmine Fellows
Jeff Dixon
John and Sharon Stenglein
Jon O’Keefe
joujou
Justin Liew
Justin McElroy
Kevin Morrell
Kevin Pennyfeather
Kyle Simons
Max Schechter
Michael Blackwell
Shane DeLeon
Tom Lauer

Thanks, everyone. You're making it possible to put in the extra time and work to make episodes like this one shine.

Jun 12, 2019
Listener Q&A: Hamilton, Hozier, Mariah, Modes
58:11

Mailbag May returns for round two, as Kirk continues catching up on listener questions.

NEW THEME MUSIC INBOUND!

Strong Songs passed its first goal of 150 backers on Patreon! That means Kirk will write all-new theme music for the show. Keep an ear out for that sometime in June, most likely. A huge thank you to everyone who's signed up to support the show so far - we've also got some new goals, which you can check out over on the page: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

MAILBAG MAY, PART 2

The Strong Songs mailbag continues to overflow. This week we've got some follow-ups on Hamilton as well as questions about Mariah's whistle register, vocal multiphonics, rhythmic misdirection, the lydian mode, and the differences between a sequencer, a sampler, and a synthesizer. 

REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

Various pieces from Hamilton, composed by Strong Songs celebrity endorser Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015

The graphic novel Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, 2009

"Counting Stars" by OneRepublic from Native, 2013

"The Third Eye" by the Pillows from My Foot, 2006

"The Simpsons Theme" by Danny Elfman, 1989

"Something" by Snarky Puppy feat. Lalah Hathaway from Family Dinner Vol 1, 2013

"Emotions" as performed by Mariah Carey on Emotions, 1991

"Movement" by Hozier, 2019

"Show Me The Way" by Peter Frampton from Frampton, 1975

"Nut Bush City Limits" by Ike and Tina Turner, 1973

"Shake Your Rump" by the Beastie Boys from Paul's Boutique, 1989

"Without You" by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, as performed by Harry Nilsson, 1971

"White Winter Hymnal" as performed by Fleet Foxes, 2008

"Fugue 24" by Anathallo from Sparrows, 2002

"God Only Knows" as performed by the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, 1966

"Baba O'Riley" by Pete Townshend and The Who from Who's Next, 1971

"Memories" by Thutmose from the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse soundtrack, 2018 

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NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

May 29, 2019
Listener Q&A: Tool, Game of Thrones, More Cowbell
42:29

It's time for Mailbag May, a long-running (aka brand new) Strong Songs tradition where Kirk spends the month of May catching up on listener questions.

NEW PATREON GOAL!

A huge thank you to everyone who has signed up to back the show so far on Patreon! You are all beautiful. If Strong Songs can hit its first goal of 150 backers, Kirk will write new theme music for the show. Head over there to learn more: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

MAILBAG MAY, PART 1

The Strong Songs mailbag overfloweth, and Kirk's got enough material recorded for two Q&A episodes. For this first part, we've got questions about chords, Tool, fire extinguishers, perfect pitch, Avengers and Game of Thrones music, the popularity of the flute, earworms, drum solos, and the inherent humor of the cowbell.

REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

"Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra

"Lateralus" by Tool (apparently it's actually pronounced lah-ter-allis)

An entertaining video compilation of "The Lick": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krDxhnaKD7Q

"Turkey in the Straw," American traditional

Kirk's Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kirkhamilton

"The Avengers" by Alan Silvestri

"Happy Birthday" by the Hill Sisters

"Moondance" by Van Morrison

"Juice" by Lizzo from her 2019 album Cuz I Love You

The Saturday Night Live "More Cowbell" sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVsQLlk-T0s

"The Night King" and "Game of Thrones" by Ramin Djawadi from Game of Thrones

"Pacific Rim" by Ramin Djawadi from Pacific Rim

"Sight of You" by Sigrid from her 2019 album Sucker Punch

"Wipe Out" by the Surfaris, 1963

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NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

May 15, 2019
Five Albums That Shaped Me
21:55

Strong Songs now has a Patreon! Learn more about how you can support the show here: https://patreon.com/strongsongs.

Kirk gets his Patreon pitch out of the way up front, then lists five albums that have shaped him as a musician over the years, talking a little bit about why each one is great. There could've been like a hundred different albums on this episode, but hey, let's start with five.

Those albums are:

--

Frank Zappa, The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life, 1991

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

The Cardigans, First Band on the Moon, 1996

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

Stan Getz, Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio, 1958

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

Spacehog, The Chinese Album, 1998

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

Maria Schneider, Allégresse, 2000

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | SpotifyMaria Schneider's Website

————————————

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

May 08, 2019
"Satisfied" from Hamilton
44:30

A toast to the groom! To the bride! To knowing you'll always regret the sacrifice you made for your sister!

NOW ON PATREON

Strong Songs now has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

NEVER BEEN SATISFIED

Kirk takes an overdue dive into Lin-Manuel Miranda's epic Broadway musical Hamilton, focusing on Renée Elise Goldsberry's first act showstopper, "Satisfied."

Regret tinges an otherwise joyous day as Angelica Schuyler remembers the night she met Alexander Hamilton, fell in love with him, and quickly realized they could never be together. It's a heady mix of complex rhyme schemes, powerhouse vocals, and musical character motifs so densely interwoven that it's hard to keep track of them all.

Artist: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Album: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), 2015

Composed by: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

Tracks from The Hamilton Instrumentals, 2017

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

May 01, 2019
"Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra
35:07

Today's forecast calls for blue skies, and today's Strong Songs calls for an in-depth analysis of Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky."

NOW ON PATREON

Strong Songs now has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

BLUE SKIES

It's time to welcome all our pretty faces to the human race, thanks to ELO's most enduring concert-rock classic. Kirk goes for a sunny stroll on a beautiful musical day full of layered vocals, fire extinguisher drumming, time-tested chords, Les Paul solos, vocoders, and... unexpected saxophone interludes?

Band/Artist: Electric Light Orchestra

Album: Out Of The Blue, 1977

Composed by: Jeff Lynne

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

"Yesterday" by Paul McCartney from Help!, 1965

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

"Confirmation" by Charlie Parker, 1946, included on In Person

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

Apr 17, 2019
"Moanin'" by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
42:46

Dust off your head charts and brush up your best licks, cause it's time to wade into the warm, welcoming waters of jazz.

NOW ON PATREON

Strong Songs now has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

MOANIN'

This episode's Strong Song is Bobby Timmons' gospel-tinged "Moanin'," from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' 1959 album of the same name. Kirk zooms out a bit more than usual to talk about jazz small-group arranging, how a great solo is constructed, how jazz song-form works, and how (hopefully) to have a better appreciation for what's going on on a given jazz recording, even if you don't play. He also talks about anime.

Band/Artist: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Album: Moanin', 1959 (recorded in 1958)

Composed by: Bobby Timmons

Personnel: Lee Morgan, trumpet; Benny Golson, tenor sax; Bobby Timmons, piano; Jymie Merritt, bass; Art Blakey, drums

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

"Freddie Freeloader" by Miles Davis from Kind of Blue, 1959

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

"Giant Steps" by John Coltrane from Giant Steps, 1960

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

"I Wish" by Stevie Wonder from Songs in the Key of Life, 1976

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

("I Wish" was also featured on a 2018 episode of Strong Songs)

--

"Jordu" by Duke Jordan from Clifford Brown and Max Roach, 1954

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

"Cherokee" by Ray Noble as performed by Clifford Brown on Study in Brown, 1955

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

--

"Tank!" by Yoko Kanno from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack

--

The wonderful anime Kids on the Slope, streamable on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

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NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST!

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

Apr 03, 2019
Listener Q&A: Syncopation, Subdivision, and Crying Babies
44:35

The Strong Songs mailbag is overflowing, so it's time to dive in and answer some listener questions.

NOW ON PATREON

Strong Songs now has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

LISTENER Q&A

Kirk digs into creative subdivision, syncopated melodies, major 9th chords, famous drum fills, chiptunes, "bad" singing that's actually good, jazz chords, Indian drum languages, and how to be a better music listener.

SHOW NOTES/LINKS

————————————

"The Four Chords" as performed by The Axis of Awesome on YouTube

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A cool breakdown of the "Amen Break" drum fill

————————————

"Puttin' on the Ritz" by Irving Berlin, performed by Ella Fitzgerald

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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"First Tube" by Phish from Farmhouse, 2000

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" by Anne Bredon, recorded by Led Zeppelin on their self-titled debut, 1969

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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"Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd from their amazingly titled album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd), 1974

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

"Just a Friend" by Biz Markie from The Biz Never Sleeps, 1989

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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"Liquid Dance" by AR Rahman, Palakkad Sriram and Madhumitha from the Slumdog Millionare soundtrack, 2008

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

A cool demonstration of Konnakol performed live by Umamahesh, Umashankar, and Selvaganesh

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"Prom Night" by Anamanaguchi, 2014

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Spectra" by Chipzel from Spectra, 2013

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Strike the Earth!" by Jake Kaufman from the Shovel Knight soundtrack, 1989

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

 ————————————

"Mt Saint Michel + Saint Michael's Mount" by Aphex Twin from Drukqs, 2001

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

———————————— 

"Well You Needn't" by Thelonious Monk from Misterioso (Live), 1965

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST!

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

Mar 21, 2019
"Let It Go" from Frozen
51:11

What happens when you put a straight-up power ballad in the middle of a Disney movie? "Let it Go" happens, that's what.

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

LET IT GO

On this episode, Kirk climbs to the top of a snowy peak and summons all his magical powers to figure out why Elsa of Arendelle's self-coronation song rocks as hard as it does, and what it says about the evolution of Disney musical numbers over the past 30 years.

Band/Artist: Idina Menzel

Album: Frozen Original Soundtrack, 2013

Composed by: Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey from Escape, 1981

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Part of Your World" by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman from The Little Mermaid, 1989

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"A Whole New World" by Alan Menken and Tim Rice from Aladdin, 1992

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"When Will My Life Begin?" by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater from Tangled, 2010

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Defying Gravity" by Stephen Schwartz from Wicked, 2003

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"How Far I'll Go" by Lin-Manuel Miranda from Moana, 2016

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

 

Mar 06, 2019
"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen
49:50

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Well, either way, this is definitely an episode of Strong Songs about Queen's genre-blending rock saga "Bohemian Rhapsody."

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

MAMA, JUST KILLED A MAN

Kirk dives into Freddie Mercury's operatic opus and learns a lot about vocal technique, piano motifs, harmonic easter eggs, studio production, Strategic Brian May Deployment™, and all the ways doubling a track can make your voice sound cool in the studio.

Band/Artist: Queen

Album: A Night At The Opera, 1975

Composed by: Freddie Mercury

Produced by: Roy Thomas Baker

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

"Don't Stop Me Now" by Freddie Mercury from Jazz, 1978

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"We Will Rock You" by Brian May from News of the World, 1977

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Somebody to Love" by Freddie Mercury from A Day at the Races, 1976

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Bohemian Rhapsody" a cappella cover by Pentatonix from PTX Vol. IV: Classics

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST!

Sign up for Kirk's new mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

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SPOTIFY PLAYLIST!

You can now follow a Spotify playlist with all the songs from this show, as well as everything featured as one of Kirk's music picks on his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen.

 

 

Feb 20, 2019
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA
38:08

It's time to get lost in the bittersweet beats of ABBA's 1976 hit "Dancing Queen."

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

YOU CAN DANCE, YOU CAN JIVE

On this longer-than-usual episode, Kirk tries to tease out some of the things that make this song so iconic and enduring, from its lush arrangement to its clever harmonies, repeating melodic motifs, and maximalist audio production.

Band/Artist: ABBA

Album: Arrival, 1976

Composed by: Benny Anderson, Björn Ulvaeus, and Stig Anderson

Produced by: Stig Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

 

 

Feb 06, 2019
Listener Q&A: The Beatles, Brubeck, Bond and Beyond
48:46

It's time for an extra-long episode as Kirk answers your questions about Phil Collins drum solos, musical Wilhelm screams, odd time signatures, Beatles instrumentation, drop-tuned guitars, Bond music, and much more.

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

SHOW NOTES/LINKS

————————————

"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins from Face Value, 1981

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

Jennifer Hudson sings "The Star Spangled Banner" by Frances Scott Key and John Stafford Smith at Super Bowl XLIII, 2009

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A YouTube compilation of the Wilhelm Scream

An excellent Vox video on the history of the "Orchestra Hit" sample

"When I Think of You" by Janet Jackson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis from Control, 1986

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"In My Life" by Lennon–McCartney from Rubber Soul, 1965

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"I Will Follow You Into The Dark" by Ben Gibbard from Plans, 2006

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

A cool NPR article about Paul Tanner's Tannerin, developed as a more playable derivation of Leon Theremin's original Theremin. 

"Good Vibrations" by Brian Wilson and Mike Love from a 1966 Beach Boys LP Single

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

"Blue Rondo a la Turk" by Dave Brubeck from Time Out, 1959

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" by Lennon-McCartney from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Money" by Roger Waters from The Dark Side Of The Moon, 1973

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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"The Wayby Tony Scalzo from All The Pain Money Can Buy, 1998

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire" by Josh Homme and Mario Lalli from Songs for the Deaf, 2002

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

————————————

"Mind Games" by John Lennon from Mind Games, 1973

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

A nifty "Doctor Mix" YouTube video demonstrating the Mellotron 

————————————

"Theme from Dr. No" by Monty Norman, arranged by John Barry from Dr. No, 1962

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Skyfall" by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth from Skyfall, 2012

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Manners Maketh Man" by Henry Jackman and Matthew Margeson (I failed to co-credit Margeson on the show) from Kingsman: The Secret Service, 2015

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify 

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"Permission to Come Aboard" by Rupert Gregson-Williams from Aquaman, 2018

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Wonder Woman Theme" by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL performed by Tina Guo, released as a single in 2017

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify 

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"Gimme Shelter" by Jagger/Richards from Let It Bleed, 1969

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

 

Jan 23, 2019
"Thriller" by Michael Jackson
29:34

Darkness falls across the land, and it's the right time for Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

IT'S CLOSE TO MIDNIGHT

Kirk picks apart Rod Temperton's dance floor classic in all its groovy, corny, sound effect-y glory.

Band/Artist: Michael Jackson

Album: Thriller, 1982

Composed by: Rod Temperton, produced by Quincy Jones

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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A NOTE FROM KIRK:

It’s been a couple months since I produced this episode, and just a few days since I watched the first part of “Leaving Neverland,” a devastating new HBO documentary in which two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, detail their alleged childhood sexual abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson. It’s an intense and difficult documentary to watch, but I recommend that everyone listening to this episode do so. Jackson’s estate denies it all, but watching people on camera relaying such painful memories, in such excruciating detail, is both wrenching and convincing.

It’s impossible to separate an amazing song like “Thriller” from the man who sang it. I still think Thriller is a great song and admire the many people involved in making it, but hearing Robson and Safechuck’s accounts, on top of the similar stories I and the culture at large brushed aside or shrugged our shoulders at when they first surfaced many years ago, has certainly changed the way I hear Jackson’s voice. I’m leaving this episode as is, but I wanted to add this note, as well as to link to this New York Times editorial on Jackson’s legacy by Wesley Morris, which says so much, so well.

~KH
3/6/2019

Jan 09, 2019
"I Wish" by Stevie Wonder
27:29

Ever wish you could just be a kid again? Stevie does.

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

THE JOY THE DAY WOULD BRING

Kirk breaks out the bass and digs into what makes Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" swing like it does, then looks back to some earlier Wonder tunes to guess at why his funkiest stuff tended to be in E-flat.

Band/Artist: Stevie Wonder

Album: Songs in the Key of Life, 1976

Composed by: Stevie Wonder

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

------

ALSO FEATURED:

"Superstition" by Stevie Wonder, from Talking Book, 1972

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder, from Innervisions, 1973

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

"Wild Wild West" by Will Smith, Moe Dewese, Rob Fusari, and Stevie Wonder, from Willennium, 1999

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

Classic Albums: Songs in the Key of Life: Amazon

Dec 26, 2018
"Single Ladies" by Beyoncé
26:22

On this episode, Kirk dives into one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

UP IN THE CLUB

Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" is arguably the defining song of the last decade, but it's far from your average pop tune. With its unusual tensions and unstoppable groove, it defies safe harmony and resolution, and its composers were more than happy to flip the beat and leave their audience searching for the downbeat.

Band/Artist: Beyoncé

Album: I Am... Sasha Fierce, 2008

Composed by: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Christopher Stewart, Terius Nash, Thaddis Harrell 

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

 

Dec 12, 2018
"You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon
17:51

This week, Kirk breaks down one of his favorite songs from one of his favorite albums.

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

IF YOU'LL BE MY BODYGUARD

Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al" was a single from his incredible 1986 album Graceland, and its music video introduced a generation to the wonders of goofy lip-synching and fretless bass solos. It's a harmonically simple tune with a cleverly dense arrangement, and brilliantly uses musical layering.

Band/Artist:  Paul Simon

Album: Graceland, 1986

Composed by: Paul Simon

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

Nov 28, 2018
"Africa" by Toto
21:55

On the first episode of Strong Songs, Kirk breaks down Toto's hit song "Africa," a single so good that it still lights up the Internet today.

Band/Artist: Toto

Album: Toto IV, 1982

Composed by: David Paich and Jeff Porcaro

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

STRONG SONGS ON PATREON

Strong Songs has a Patreon! If you liked this episode (or, you know, any of them), we hope you'll consider supporting the show. Learn more here: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

Nov 18, 2018