#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: 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: Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”

This week, I’ve had Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” #OnRepeat. I was actually reminded of this song while watching the Marvel superhero show, The Defenders, on Netflix this past week during one of the last episodes.

The band, Nirvana, is a Grunge-Alternative Rock band from Aberdeen, Washington that was formed by guitarist, Kurt Cobain, and bassist, Krist Novoselic, in the late 1980s. Although the band had a short run (disbanding after Cobain’s death in 1994), they sold over 20 million records and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. Some of their most well-known songs are “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “In Bloom,” and “Love Buzz.”

“Where Did You Sleep Last Night (In The Pines)” is a traditional Folk song that was made popular by the Folk and Blues musician, Leadbelly, during the 1940s. The meaning behind the lyrics has been disputed for some time (and varies depending on the version and musician performing it), but the overall themes have to do with love, death, and loneliness. Kurt Cobain earned a lot of recognition for his acoustic interpretation of this song during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performance in 1993. Cobain’s raspy, higher-pitched rock-style voice captures the desperation, grit, and bleak loneliness that is painted in the lyrics of the song. Nirvana’s darker take on “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” introduced the song to a new generation of fans that still listen to and discuss the musical implications of this version more than a decade later.

Take a listen below:

 

Below is Leadbelly’s version of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” for reference:

 

What do you think of Nirvana’s version? Is it a proper continuation of this song’s legacy?

 

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#OnRepeat: Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son”

This week, I’ve had Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son” #OnRepeat. Since I’m a huge fan of music from the 1960s and 1970s , this singer and song were bound to end up one of these posts eventually.

Cat Stevens (born Steven Demetre Georgiou, now Yusuf Islam) is a singer, songwriter, and guitar player from the Marylebone area of London, England. Several of his albums have topped the international billboard charts for weeks at a time and he was inducted into the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. His music is a blend of Folk, Country, Pop, Rock, and later in his career, Islamic music influences. Some of his most well-known songs are “Moonshadow,” “Peace Train,” “The First Cut is the Deepest,” and “Wild World.”

“Father and Son” was written and recorded by Cat Stevens for his 1970 album, Tea for the Tillerman. The song tells about a conversation between a father and a son, the misunderstandings that arise between older and younger generations, and the need to come to terms with personal life decisions. Stevens uses the lower part of his register for the words spoken by the father and the higher part of his register to represent the son speaking. Stevens’ lyric writing is simple, but poignant, and though there is not much use of vibrato in his voice, Stevens’ portrayal of the message brings out a bittersweet depth and desperation in this song that causes you to pause and listen. And maybe even potentially cry when no one is looking.

Take a listen below:

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

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#OnRepeat: The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

This week, I’ve had The Beach Boy’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” #OnRepeat. This song has been a favorite of mine for awhile, but I’ve been playing it a lot lately because of the weather and the upbeat nature of the song.

The Beach Boys are a rock group from Hawthorne, California that formed in 1961. Their use of vocal harmony, different musical arrangement techniques, and surf and beach lyrics made them an influential and popular band during the 1960s and 70s. Their music is a blend of 1950s-style Rock’N’Roll, Pop, Jazz, and Psychedelic music, creating a unique sound that was surprisingly more complex than much of the rock music that was being created at the time. Some of the most well-known songs are “Good Vibrations,” “California Girls,” “I Get Around,” and “Don’t Worry Baby.”

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was written and recorded in 1966 for the album, Pet Sounds, using Classical music influences and instruments that weren’t typically associated with American Pop music, like the accordion. The lyrics describe a young couple who want to be together, but can’t because of their age. Even though the words evoke feelings of lament and longing, the music is bright and upbeat; and the singers’ vocal harmonies and catchy melody make this song easy to get stuck in your head.

Take a listen below:

 

 

Is there a singer or group that you can’t stop listening to? Leave a comment below!

 

 

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