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.

Copyright 2010

Next Post: 'Feminism: Has It Gone Wrong', to be published on Tuesday 27th April at 11:59pm (GMT)


  1. Well, yes, I'm home, safe and sound. And would you believe it? This post was meant to come out last Thursday gone, but as soon as my flight got delayed and the whole volcanic ash cloud shebang started I put all my posts on hold. It turned out to be a welcome side-effect, though. No sooner had I put my suitcases down today than I hit 'play' on the stereo and the sound of this comforting record came out. Similar to how we devour pizza, straight from the freezer and into the oven. Comfort food when one is finally home. And I am.

    Thanks to everyone who paid me a visit during my absence. I will be doing a blog round tonight.

    Greetings from London.

  2. Glad you're back safely :)

    I absolutely love Tapestry. The whole album, but particularly the title track - which is such a deep one.

  3. So glad to hear you're back safe and sound, despite the volcanic ash fiasco. It had me worried about several friends who were traveling.

    I love thise killer song posts because you've reminded me of so many songs I love and haven't listened to in ages. I've been listening to Glory Box all week!


  4. Lovely to have you back, Cuban, and this is one of my all time favourite albums. You're right some music is just like comfort food, this is the kind of music my mother and me could share, just like my favourite dishes.

  5. That was a wonderful post, with great tracks. The best part is that you could actually understand the lyrics and relate to/like them, which is more than at least I can say about most of the hits these days.

    Hope you enjoyed the unexpected extra time in KL, instead of having to keep an eye on the news for air clearance!

    Looking forward to your Tuesday's post! :)

  6. One of the delights of visiting your blog is being exposed to your wonderfully eclectic musical tastes. Thanks for renewing my friendship with Carole King and Tapestry.

  7. Comfort music indeed. I hear Carol King's Tapestry and I'm eighteen years old again, first year university and all the headiness of the music that accompanies this place, this time, this joyous evocation of life. Thanks for reminding me, Cuban.

  8. One of my very, very favourites! And welcome home.

  9. Many thanks for your kind comments.

    After playing 'Tapestry' yesterday I remembered the last time I felt so comfy, so at ease. It was in Scotland, in 2001, the only time I've ever visited it. We were staying with another brother in law of mine and his partner. They had just bought this massive two-storey stone house where you had to light a fire to keep warm. It was early evening and my brother in law's girlfriend was cooking an earthy and delicious Indian recipe. I played this album and suddenly the smell of the aromatic spices, the atmosphere of congeniality and affection and the accompanying music brought a deep sense of calm and reassurance. Include the stunning landscape of Oban, western Scotland and the view from our house and I felt home, I really did.

    In a moment of pure synchronicity, as I did my blog round last night the song playing on the stereo was 'Home Again'. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  10. The thing about Carole King is the integrity she's always had..her music is really her's. "I feel The Earth"..sings itself in my head , somehow places me way back in my own scenario..King is so rare..first 2 notes and I know what follows..has put her music forever in my life!!
    Thank you...and welcome back!!

  11. Cuban, it's good to see you in your natural place. And it's good to know you made it safely home. And a great post this is to start things off from London, once again. Carole King is a natural, and she's just profound. Music with no frills is quite the best, especially when one is just returning home from a while away...

    I hope you're enjoying a lovely Sunday, Cuban!


  12. Welcome back, Cubano! Does that mean you spent some extra days in Malaysia?

    I love Carole King.

  13. Welcome home!

    It's funny, if someone asked me for my list of favourite albums, "Tapestry" would not be in it, and yet all the tracks are so familiar, and in truth, so good. It is an exceptional work, and "I Feel the Earth Move" probably my favourite. Comfort music indeed.

  14. I love her... what an amazing voice!!! have a great week!

  15. What a relief that you are back home! I thought you'd chosen this song in response to the volcano. It is amazing how nature can still stop the modern world.

    Tapestry takes me back to summer camp in Vermont. The camp was run by Bob Seger's brother so there were lots of folk songs around the campfire.

    I just got back from hiking in the mountains. More on Wednesday. I hope you share some of your exotic vacation too.



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