All posts filed under: Strange Music

Winter Song

Sarah Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s subdued duet Winter Song has become a staple for melancholy Christmas episodes on TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, and the Vampire Diaries. For me, it’s references to changing seasons and its quiet arrangement is perfect listening for the winter solstice tomorrow.

The Marfa Tapes (sans UFOs)

When I think of Marfa, Texas, I think of the Marfa Lights, and all of the associated paranormal sightings. But it’s also where Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall recorded their collaborative album The Marfa Tapes. My favorite song off the album is Ghosts. I think Miranda Lambert’s vocals are gorgeous, and it’s the perfect song to listen to while I morn the final weeks of Fall.

The Apprehension Engine

If you ever wondered how some of the hair raising sounds in your favorite horror movie are made, they may have been created with this instrument. The Apprehension Engine was created by film composer Mark Korven and musician Tony Duggan-Smith in order to create all of the spooky sounds they wanted to hear in movies without relying on a limited pool of digital samples. Listening to the instrument in person is described as being especially unsettling. Brad Wheeler with the Globe and Mail noted during a demonstration by Kroven that “As Korven manipulates the thing, the room’s temperature drops about 10 degrees and the composer’s tiny dog retreats to an upstairs closet.” If you were interested in owning one of these nightmare sound machines, the base cost is a mere 10,000.00. Not in your Halloween budget? Then enjoy some of the videos below, and check out some of the movies this instrument has been featured in, like The Witch and Cube.

You Don’t Own Me

You Don’t Own Me was originally recorded by Leslie Gore in 1963 when she was only 17 years old. At the time, the defiant song inspired young women, and is seen as one of the early influences of the Women’s Liberation Movement.  There have been several successful covers of the song, most recently by SayGrace in 2015, who gives the song a modern swagger. Interestingly, SayGrace’s version is produced by Quincy Jones, who also produced Leslie Gore’s version. 

Bjork’s Black Lake

In 2015, The Museum of Modern Art staged a retrospective of Bjork’s work. The exhibition included costumes, props, instruments, and images from Bjork’s music video, along with playing the some of the videos to make it a multimedia tribute to her work. One of the video’s featured was this 10 minute epic for her song Black Lake, off her 2015 album Vulnicura.

Still at The Lakes with Taylor Swift

Like many, I spent much of 2020 and 2021 listening to Taylor Swift’s back to back albums Folklore and Evermore. My hands done favorite song from the two releases is The Lakes, Swift’s ode to melodrama, poets, and escapism. It’s the bonus track for Evermore. One of the commenters on the lyric video below noted, “Sis, this is not the album of the year. This is the album of my life.” I could not agree more.

Building a Mystery

Sarah McLachlan may be best remembered for founding the all female summer festival tour Lilith Fair, but when I hear her song building a mystery, I always think of fall. Building a Mystery started to gain massive popularity and relentless radio play in the beginning of September when it debuted 1997. it’s video has a very shadowy, chilly feel to it as well, featuring lots of smokey mist and curtains blowing in breezes. The song also has the distinction of being the first song ever to be played by an iPod. Steve Jobs selected the track during a keynote address introducing the new technology on October 23, 2001.

Billy Joe Armstrong’s Ordinary World

When Billy Joe Armstrong made his debut in the leading role for a movie in 2016’s Ordinary World, the film was less then well received. The accompanying soundtrack however, included a poignant song by Armstrong that had many convinced that he could have a second career as a folk singer. Sharing the same title as the film, Ordinary World was also included as the closing track on Greenday’s Revolution Radio. In 2017 they re-recorded the song with Miranda Lambert for the band’s greatest hits album.

JPOLND’s The End

When Jessica Vaugn realized her new song The End had been featured in a pivotal scene in Netflix’s Bridgerton, she was thrilled. Ironically, although it is featured in a sweeping romance, it’s not a love song. Recorded under her alias JPOLND, the song is actually about a toxic relationship. According to Vaugh, “The ideal is that if I’m going down, so are you… There is something intoxicating about love and lust being doomed.”