Strong Songs

By Kirk Hamilton

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Category: Music

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Kellie
 Jan 4, 2019
amazing. if you're a music fan this is for you!

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
"Dancing Queen" by ABBA
38:08

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

SHOW NOTES/LINKS

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

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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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

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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

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"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

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

Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

A nifty "Doctor Mix" YouTube video demonstrating the Mellotron 

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"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." 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

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

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

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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.

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.

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

Nov 18, 2018