Saturday, 24 April 2010
Killer Opening Songs (I Feel the Earth Move)
Comfort music is like comfort food: a simple, familiar dish better served when you return home after some time away. Or as in Killer Opening Songs's case, after three weeks (volcanic ash cloud included). And amongst the melodies that could be included in K.O.S.'s canon there are a few you might recognise and probably even use to induce that feeling of well-being and satisfaction. Macy Gray's debut album 'On How Life Is' comes to mind straight away. And so does Fiona Apple's 'When the Pawn' (the full title is 'When the Pawn Hits the Conflict He Thinks Like a King', but let's not get picky). In Spanish, Killer Opening Songs plumps for the music of Joaquin Sabina ('Fisica y Quimica'), whereas the Algerian singer Souad Massi fills up K.O.S.'s heart with warm and nostalgic tunes ('Deb').
Yet, when discussing comfort music, space should be made to include one of the more flavourful albums ever made: 'Tapestry' by US singer, songwriter and pianist Carole King.
Whereas most records will contain at least one weak track or filler (sometimes two or three depending on the length), 'Tapestry' is one of those rare musical outings where each song is a standalone hit. No wonder it spent fifteen consecutive weeks at number one in the US (according to wiki) and six years in the charts. The album combines King's wide vocal spectrum with stellar musical arrangement. From racy melodies, like for instance the Killer Opening Song, 'I Feel the Earth Move' to mellow ballads, like 'You've Got a Friend', this is a pop record where the artist's creative vision calls the shots.
The Murderous Introductory Track is a good example. 'I Feel the Earth Move' mixes upbeat piano rhythm (Carol's), energetic vocals (her again), wild guitar chords (Danny Kootch) and a good partnership between Joel O'Brien and Charles Larkey on drums and electric bass respectively. The latter two remain on the sidelines so as not to overshadow piano and guitar, but they still make their presence felt. The other element that makes this track as enjoyable as a plate of steak with rice and black beans is the way the piano comes in between each phrase at the beginning to accentuate the rhythm: 'I feel the earth (piano) move (piano) under my feet/I feel the sky tum-b-ling down - tum-b-ling down...' The image it presents to me is polished harshness, a raw track, but a cheerful one, too.
When K.O.S. first heard this album he was taken aback by the contrast between the sense of placidity and domesticity conveyed by the cover - Carole King sitting barefoot by the window, enveloped in a shadow of blue hues, kitty cat nearby, curtains open and letting the sunlight in - and the bold tone of the Killer Opening Song. But with the passing of time and after listening to it many times he realised that both album cover and content are intricately linked. They provide that ultimate feeling of homecoming and heart-filling: it is comfort music and you're invited to tuck in.
Next Post: 'Feminism: Has It Gone Wrong', to be published on Tuesday 27th April at 11:59pm (GMT)