Category Archives: What I’ve been listening to this week…

What I’ve been listening to this week…

The other day, my wife convinced me to watch Dragonheart with her. I’ll admit to you what I admitted to her at the time – I was fairly knackered that day and half expected to fall asleep within minutes of the film starting.

But that was not to be the case.

I had seen Dragonheart only once before in my life when I was very young, and yet, despite my tiredness, I found myself absolutely captivated by it and managed to stay awake for the entire film. And it wasn’t particularly due to the story, which – whilst reasonable – felt very similar to almost every other fantasy/medieval film that has been produced in the last few decades. It was due to the brilliant score composed by Randy Edelman.

That being the case, it will come as little surprise to you that I chose the main theme of Dragonheart for my What I’ve been listening to this week… segment. The swooping score is so majestic and captivating that I find it hard to imagine that it would fail to elicit an emotional response from anyone listening to it. Furthermore, I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that this same score has been repeatedly used for many movie trailers ever since.

As a piece of music, it is simply awesome.

Enjoy.

 

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What I’ve been listening to this week…

The coverage of Formula One, in the UK at least, is introduced by an awesome piece of music – a brilliant bass line with a distinctive rock overtone. In fact, as I’ve been walking around over the past few years, I frequently hear people humming that bass line as they go about their daily lives.

But what a lot of people don’t realise is that this little clip of music comes from a much larger song created by the brilliant band, Fleetwood Mac.

This song, The Chain, is what I’ve been listening to this week. I find it quite compelling as a song – it’s essentially a mixture of various rejected cut offs of different Fleetwood Mac songs that allow it to go from a folky, country-like song to a harder rock ballad. Rumour has it that the band weren’t even all present for the recording of it – that’s how different all the sections and instruments are – and it is one of the few Fleetwood Mac songs where the entire band is credited with its writing.

The whole song is great to listen to but, without a doubt, the fun comes in the last minute or so.

Enjoy.

What I’ve been listening to this week…

This week, I was driving down the motorway (well, my wife was driving – I was enjoying it) when a song came on the radio that I hadn’t heard in years. In fact, when I was younger, I used to listen to this song fairly regularly and yet I never really appreciated the lyrics until quite recently.

For me it was about the sound – but the whole song is nothing short of awesome.

Bat Out of Hell from Meatloaf’s 1977 album (Bat Out of Hell) is a masterpiece of rock music. The album version is a ten-minute long epic rock fest that takes on a journey following a motorcyclist from a gritty, violence-ridden city street, who goes for a ride – speeding as fast as he can along the highway. But the song ends in tragedy as the motorcyclist mis-judges the corner of the road, crashes and dies whilst he watches his own heart beating through his chest.

Quite a morbid theme for a song – and yet it is pulled off with great skill and technical mastery. Everything about the song, from the representation of his beating heart from the bass guitar to the roaring of the guitar echoing the revving of the motorbike, is perfectly pieced together to create a song that is not only epic but toe-tappingly brilliant.

I’m not going to pretend that I am even capable of writing when I have this song playing in the background – it is far too distracting for that. But it is very rare that you find  a song that deals with something so horrific and tragic and yet is still a thoroughly enjoyable song…

And this is one of those rare occasions.

Now it’s your turn.

What do you make of Bat Out of Hell? Does it get your toes tapping? Or do you find it all a little bit too tragic?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

And, as always, if you like what you’ve read and heard (and I would hope if you’ve read this far that you did), press that like button at the bottom of the post. Or, if you’re not a blogger, share it on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you can think of.

Don’t agree with me? Didn’t like the post? Leave a comment down below and let me know why. Anyone can comment so don’t be shy.

And if you have a suggestion for something I might like to listen to next week? Leave your suggestion below.

What I’ve been listening to this week…

Sometimes when you are working, you have those moments when you just want to listen to something a little bit silly. That was the position I found myself in this week and the primary reason why Dr Hook have made it into this edition of What I’ve been listening to this week…

I first started listening to Dr Hook many many years ago (largely thanks to my sister) and always enjoyed the music at a young age. Although, as I got older I began to realise that the lyrics were not as innocent as my younger self had supposed, which made their work even more intriguing for me.

Specialising in novelty songs, acoustic ballads and disco-influenced rock, Dr Hook produced some seminal stuff over their time. You can quite easily have it on in the background whilst your working or you can sit back and appreciate the tongue-and-cheek lyrics that poke fun at other love songs and assumptions about musicans.

I’ve chosen one of their earlier singles – The Cover of the Rolling Stone – a song that pokes fun at the idea that a musician has ‘made it’ if they get pictured for Rolling Stone magazine. As a mick take, it is a classic…

Enjoy

 

Now it’s your turn.

What do you make of Dr Hook? Funny and entertaining? Or is does it go that little bit too far?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

And, as always, if you like what you’ve read and heard (and I would hope if you’ve read this far that you did), press that like button at the bottom of the post. Or, if you’re not a blogger, share it on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you can think of.

Don’t agree with me? Didn’t like the post? Leave a comment down below and let me know why. Anyone can comment so don’t be shy.

And if you have a suggestion for something I might like to listen to next week? Leave your suggestion below.

 

What I’ve been listening to this week…

A few years ago, I wrote the music for a youth theatre production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. During my research for the score, I decided to work thematically and settled on using gypsy-swing music as the inspiration for any songs I wrote for the banished Duke Senior.

It was during that time that I first began to listen to the works of Django Reinhardt and I have been a fan ever since. His particular brand of jazz and the intricacies of his guitar playing are so easy to listen to and serve as fantastic background music when writing – particularly when tackling slightly more upbeat moments in a story.

There are so many pieces to chose from, but I’m going to have to go with one his more popular songs – the toe-tapping and insatiably catchy, Minor Swing.

Enjoy.

 

Now it’s your turn.

What do you think of Reinhardt’s music? Does it have you tapping your toes or shaking your head in despair? Classic jazz or an abomination?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

And, as always, if you like what you’ve read and heard (and I would hope if you’ve read this far that you did), press that like button at the bottom of the post. Or, if you’re not a blogger, share it on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you can think of.

Don’t agree with me? Didn’t like the post? Leave a comment down below and let me know why. Anyone can comment so don’t be shy.

And if you have a suggestion for something I might like to listen to next week? Leave your suggestion below.

Tap those toes…

What I’ve been listening to this week…

A few days ago, I published a post reviewing H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. In that post, I made mention of a musical version of the story and I’ve been playing it ever since.

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds is a phenomenal piece of music. Originally composed in 1978, the pounding music switches between epic and apocalyptic march movements to softer, almost pastoral, songs. It truly is an inspiring piece of music to listen to, regardless of whether you are listening to the original recordings or the 2012 tour version.

The mixture of rock band and string orchestra really helps convey the feeling of a clash of cultures and identity and the regular repetitions of the main theme have allowed me to sink into a secure rhythm as I continue my own work. And the soft voices of Richard Burton and Liam Neeson (depending on which version you’re listening to) tell the story with such passion and authority that you can’t help but be drawn in.

Inspirational and epic – if you haven’t listened to this before, now is as good a time as any.

You won’t regret it.

What I’ve been listening to this week…

This week (well, month really) has been a little bit different.

A week ago I finished the long process of moving out of my old house into my new flat (very exciting, big whoop and all that). Now the part of that process that I dislike the most, and I’m sure you’ll agree, is the cleaning up afterwards. Oh yes, you can have fun building furniture and placing ‘Home-Tetris’ in your new place but, when push comes to shove, there will invariably be that moment when you have to wander back to the old place to do the final hoovering and dusting and all that other stuff that you really don’t want to do when you’re going through the excitement of moving home…

Which is where my choice of What I’ve been listening to this week comes from.

Rather than sticking on a random playlist of upbeat songs to get me through the arduousness of cleaning the house, I elected for something a little different – even by my standards.

By chance, I discovered that BBC Iplayer Radio was broadcasting a dramatised version of Charles Dickens’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood and was interested enough to put it on.

Divided into five parts, BBC’s 1990 production of the story (or at least the version completed by Leon Garfield) is a remarkable listen. I had never paid much attention to the story – being that it was Dickens’ last story and that he never even managed to complete it – and didn’t imagine that I would become so engrossed in it. But, as I worked my way through the cleaning work, I found myself listening to all five hours of the programme and was so taken by it that I have now endeavoured to read the book itself.

With some great acting from Ian Holm as John Jasper and Mark Payton as Edwin Drood, this telling of the story had me gripped from start to finish and is well worth a mention in my What I’ve been listening to this week segment.

For those of you who can get BBC Iplayer Radio, here is the link but – be warned – the first episode is only available for another day or two so you may need to move quickly before it’s gone.