#OnRepeat: Brett Eldredge’s “The Long Way”

This week I’ve had Brett Eldredge’s “The Long Way” #OnRepeat. I recently heard this guy sing to his dog in an Instagram post, and after looking up his music and his voice, have been hooked ever since.

Brett Eldredge is a singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and record producer from Paris, Illinois. He got his start co-writing songs with Country singers like Gary Allen, and was releasing singles by the beginning of 2010, debuting his studio album Bring You Back in August of 2013. Some of his most well-known songs are “Mean to Me,” “Lose My Mind,” and “Drunk on Your Love.”

“The Long Way” is a song written by Brett Eldredge from his self-titled 2017 album with lyrics that are told from the point of view of a person who wants to learn everything about the town where their loved one grew up so they can find out more about that person. I have never really been a big fan of country, but Brett’s voice has a full-bodied, rich and deep timbre that you don’t hear very often with country singers. This song’s lyrics caught my attention because of the genuine interest the narrator has to learn everything about their significant other; both the good and the bad, because it makes them fall in love with the other all the more. Brett’s voice brings a depth to the song that you wouldn’t get with another singer because of the clear evidence of both country, pop, and crooner-style jazz in his performance style.

Take a listen below:

 

What do you guys think? Do you have a favorite country song? Leave a comment below!

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#OnRepeat: Keala Settle’s “This is Me (from The Greatest Showman)”

This week, I’ve had “This is Me” sung by Keala Settle from musical, The Greatest Showman. I must admit that I haven’t seen the actual movie yet, however, after hearing this song along with the rest of the music from the movie musical, I definitely plan on seeing this movie as soon as I can get my hands on it.

The Greatest Showman is a musical based on the story of P.T. Barnum’s life, the creation of his Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the performers who starred in his show. I have been a huge fan of Hugh Jackman since his performance in the film adaptation of Les Miserables, but I was even more impressed with this musical soundtrack because of the pure physicality of the performers for this musical; especially Keala Settle.

Keala Settle is a singer, actor and performer from Hawaii, who has an extensive theatrical career with several awards and nominations. Her voice is a perfect blend of R&B, Pop, Gospel, Soul and Blues influences, both powerful and subtle at the same time. “This Is Me” is an inspirational song told from the perspective of someone who grew up ashamed of themselves, but finally realizing that, despite what others say or think, you need to embrace who you are no matter what. Her vocal inflections and melodic and stylistic phrasing mirror the angst, desperation, defiance, and inner-strength depicted in the lyrics of the song, “This Is Me.” I’m not sure why I haven’t come across Keala’s music or performances before, but I will definitely be on the look out for her music in the future.

Take a listen below:

What do you think? Do you have another favorite song from The Greatest Showman? Leave a comment below!

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#OnRepeat: The Cranberries’ “Linger”

This week, I’ve had The Cranberries’ “Linger” #OnRepeat. This past week the lead singer of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan, passed away, so I’ve been listening to a lot of their music. This song was one of my favorites from my childhood.

The Cranberries were a rock band from Limerick, Ireland that formed in 1989. O’Riordan joined as the lead singer two years later, and after the release of their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, they gained international recognition. Even though The Cranberries are considered an alternative rock band, their music blends influences of Punk, Irish Folk, Pop Rock and Indie-Pop music. Some of their most well-Known songs are “Zombie,” “Dreams,” “Promises,” and “Ridiculous Thoughts.”

The song “Linger” was written and released in 1993 for their debut album. Interestingly enough, the song lyrics were originally written by The Cranberries’ first lead singer, Niall Quinn, but when Niall left and O’Riordan joined the band, she wrote her own set of lyrics for the song, writing the lyrics with a theme of regret, first love and first kiss. Dolores’ voice is sombre yet almost wails in some points of the song’s melody, emphasizing the confusion, desperation, and melancholic-like feeling you get when you first fall in love. The country and Irish Folk style of singing can be heard in the stylistic choices that O’Riordan choses while singing; these bring an air of grit and wistfulness to the song as well.

Take a listen below:

 

Do you have a favorite song by The Cranberries? Leave a comment below!

 

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#OnRepeat: Stevie Wonder’s “Some Day at Christmas

This week, I’ve had Stevie Wonder’s “Someday at Christmas” #OnRepeat. I saw an a cappella group perform this song at Disneyland California Adventure for their Festival of Holidays and the melody has been stuck in my head ever since.

I know I’ve written about Stevie Wonder before, but those who haven’t read that or who haven’t come across his music, Stevie Wonder is a blind singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from Michigan. He is famous for his recordings he did with Motown, which include “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “Superstition,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” and “Overjoyed.”

“Someday at Christmas” was written and recorded in 1967 by Stevie Wonder for his Christmas album, and is a song whose lyrics talk about the hope for peace, joy and freedom in the future during the holiday season. Stevie Wonder’s wide vocal range and great improvisational skills exemplify the hope and warmth the exudes from the lyrics of the song. The melody is simple and memorable, like a lullaby, making you sing this song long after it has stopped playing.

Take a listen below:

What is your favorite holiday song?

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#OnRepeat: Jennifer Hudson’s “Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight”

Have you ever heard a song that you not only can’t stop listening to, but also can’t stop singing? That’s what it’s been like with this week’s #OnRepeat song “Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight” by Jennifer Hudson.

Jennifer Hudson is a singer, songwriter, and actress from Chicago, Illinois who got her start on the American Idol reality show. Although she didn’t win, she went on to star as Effie White in the film adaptation of the musical, Dreamgirls, which helped catapult her career with Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and awards. Her powerful voice and show-stopping performance style has earned her several Grammy awards. Some of her most well-known songs include “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” “Spotlight,” and “If This Isn’t Love.”

“Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight” is a song by the Beatles that was part of a six-part medley for their album, Abbey Road, in 1969. The song is written almost in lullaby-like form, and although the lyrics are somewhat vague, one can surmise that the song is sung from the point of view of a friend or loved one comforting another. Jennifer Hudson’s wide range and powerful voice are showcased in the song’s climactic melody; her deep, expressive voice mirrors the deep love, nurturing nature and understanding that can be found in the lyrics of “Golden Slumbers.” This song has quickly become a favorite of mine. Take a listen below:

 

The Beatles’ version is below for reference:

 

 

Which version do you like more? Is there an artist or group that you can’t stop listening to? Leave comment below!

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#OnRepeat: Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell On You”

This week is the week leading up to Halloween and, therefore, Nina Simone’s “I Put a Spell On You” has been #OnRepeat, especially because Bette Midler kills her version of this song in the movie Hocus Pocus (a movie I watch every year during this time).

Nina Simone was a songwriter, pianist, arranger, singer and an activist from North Carolina who was known as a Jazz vocalist, but implemented Gospel, R&B, Blues, Jazz, and Pop music with elements of Classical music. She recorded more than 40 albums and her improvisational technique, musical arranging, stage presence and socially conscious performances made her one of the most influential singers of her time. Some of her most well-known songs are “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” “Feeling Good,” “Sinner Man,” and “I Loves You, Porgy.”

“I Put A Spell On You” was originally written by the singer and actor, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956 with a different theme, but–in true Nina Simone fashion–Simone changed around the words and musical arrangement, transforming it into a song about someone madly in love with someone else despite how they mistreat them. Her vocal licks, musical phrasing and her performance of the words made this one of her most well-known songs (it is definitely my favorite). The desperation, angst, and stubbornness conveyed in the lyrics is magnified by Simone’s powerful, deep voice, her use of long straight tones, and intermittent scatting.

Take a listen below:

Here is Bette Midler’s version of this song for reference:

Although I love Simone’s version, I cannot deny that both vocalists perform amazing versions of this classic song, both bringing their own unique interpretation of the lyrics and music.

What do you think? Which version do you like? Leave a comment below!

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#OnRepeat: The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody”

This week, I’ve had The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” #OnRepeat. This is one of my top favorite songs of all time and will always have a special place in my heart because I grew up watching the movie, Ghost, which this song was featured in.

The Righteous Brothers are a duo group from Santa Ana, California that formed in the early 1960s, starting out performing with the five-member group, The Paramours. During their recording career as a duo, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield’s vocal performing style earned the name “blue-eyed soul.” Some of their most well-known songs were “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Ebb Tide,” “Soul and Inspiration,” and “Rock and Roll Heaven.”

The song, “Unchained Melody,” whose music was written by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret in 1955 for a movie called Unchained. The song’s lyrics tell about someone who has been missing and pining after the person they love for what seems like forever. The vocal lead for the song was performed by Bobby Hatfield, and their version of this song became the most well-known version of the song to date. Hatfield’s tenor range is showcased with his use of projection and breath control, creating a a wide spectrum of vocal dynamics. Hunger, desperation, and longing are perfectly portrayed by Hatfield’s (at times) wail-like tones, creating an almost heart-breaking feel within the song.

Take a listen below:

What do you think? Are there any other songs or singers you can’t get enough of?

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#OnRepeat: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons “Sherry”

This week, I’ve had Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “Sherry” #OnRepeat. Even though the song is considered in the Rock genre, it grooves ridiculously well.

Frankie Valli is a singer from Newark, New Jersey known for being the lead singer of the American Pop Rock band, the Four Seasons. The group (originally known as The Four Lovers) were internationally successful in the 1960s and 1970s and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Some of their most well-known songs are “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.”

“Sherry” was written by Bob Gaudio in 1968, and was the group’s first number one hit. The song is written from the view point of a guy who wants to go out with a girl, but she has to ask permission from her parents. Even though the song is somewhat dated (people don’t really ask nor care about whether or not their parents are comfortable with them dating any longer), the subtle desperation found in the lyrics is clearly shown in Frankie Valli’s croon-like wailing voice. His voice reminds me a lot of the Beach Boys, who were pretty popular around this same time and too-wop singers from the 1950s. This, combined with the rhythm arrangement for the song makes for a grooving pop song that easily gets stuck in your head.

Listen below:

Do you guys have any songs or groups you can’t stop listening to? Leave a comment below!

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#OnRepeat: Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”

This week, I’ve had Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” #OnRepeat. Not only is the melody catchy, but every time I hear this song, I find myself wanting a piña colada drink (interestingly enough, I heard he doesn’t like that type of cocktail, but it was the first drink that popped up in his mind when he was writing the song).

Rupert Holmes (born David Goldstein) is a singer-songwriter, playwright, and author originally from England, who moved at a young age to Nanuet, New York. He gained recognition from his playing and songwriting with the bands, The CuffLinks and The Buoys, later collaborating with singers like Barbara Streisand and Judy Collins. He earned several Tony Awards for his 1985 musical, Drood, creating a television series in the 1990s, and even publishing several books. Some of his most well-known songs are “Timothy,” “Him,” “Answering Machine,” and “You Got It All.”

“Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” was written and recorded by Rupert Holmes for his album, Partners in Crime in 1979. The lyrics talk about a man who is bored with his marriage and reads a newspaper ad to meet a woman who likes piña coladas. The song has an interesting twist at the end: the man meets the mysterious woman at a bar only to find out it was his current partner. The song’s lyrics, set in story form, are sung in a “sing-songy” style. This approach works to Holmes’ advantage since the melody and arrangement cause the listener to remember not only the melody, but the words as well. Holmes’ voice, which is a mixture of Elton John and The Beach Boys, brings a light-hearted feel to the already pop-like song. Listen below:

Are there any songs or singers you can’t stop listening to? Leave a comment below!

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#OnRepeat: Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”

This week, I’ve had “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion #OnRepeat. I know, I know, but I watched Titanic this week and it’s such a great song.

Celine Dion is a singer from Quebec, Canada who started as a teen pop star recording albums in French with her manager, and later husband, René Angélil. She gained international success and recognition as pop artist with the release of her first album in English, titled Unison, in 1990. Dion’s virtuosic three-octave range and her commanding stage presence have earned her five Grammy Awards, recognition as the best selling Canadian Artist, and caused her show to at the Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas to be the most successful residency show of all time. Some of her most well-known songs are “Because You Loved Me,” “The Prayer,” “That’s the Way It Is,” and “Tell Him.”

“My Heart Will Go On” was a song whose music was written by James Horner and lyrics were written by Will Jennings in 1997 for the film, Titanic. The lyrics are written from a retrospective point of view: a person who looks back on a point in their life where they were deeply in love with someone, but realized they had to move on, despite their feelings. Interestingly, Celine Dion didn’t want to record this song at first since she had just finished recording another film score for Beauty and the Beast. I am so glad she was convinced otherwise. The song perfectly displays her unique use of vocal technique and lyrical interpretation that would become the iconic “Pop Diva Sound.” Her vocal range, skill in terms of projection and her interpretation of the words has made “My Heart Will Go On” one of the most popular songs of the 1990s. Although many now might roll their eyes when hearing this song (only because it was played almost everywhere you went the year the movie was released), there is no doubt that this song is a Celine Dion classic, becoming synonymous with not only the movie, Titanic, but with Celine Dion herself.

Take a listen below:

What do you think? Are there any other Celine Dion songs you can’t stop listening to?

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