Monday, January 12, 2009

Songwriting Pairs

Patrick Swanson points out an interesting "separated at birth pair" here. At this moment, we surely could use an album of Songs of War & Love by the guy from Minneapolis to go along with the Eighth Book of Madrigals. I don't know much pop music, but I do know what I like, and that which I like sometimes pairs usefully with other music. Sometime ago, I noted a cafe conversation in which someone made a similarly surprising but electric pairing between Hugo Wolf and Roy Orbison, both songwriters with astonishing through-compositional ambitions. Another pairing on these pages was between the song cycles of Robert Schumann and the albums of Randy Newman, collections which are far from similar in lyrical topics, let alone style, but certainly close to one another in their ability to summon up place, atmosphere, and ambiguity.

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