Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Strings Attached - Rock'n'Roll With Strings

10 great pop and rock tunes, guitars and string sections in perfect harmony (sort of).


1) The Ramones - "Baby I Love You"
Kings the warp speed guitar punk slow it right down and get in a string orchestra to beef up the hollowness that would pertain otherwise.

2) Portishead - "Glory Box"
this one actually makes sense since Portishead's music was always suggestive of soundtracks for as yet unwritten movies and this works perfectly.

3) Rolling Stones - "As Tears Goes By"
The Stones had a few songs with lush classical accompaniment. I think it was more acceptable in the 60s when rock and roll was still trying to throw off the shackles of the establishment such as the BBC, when every entertainment programme seemed to employ a backing orchestra. Well it's all just music right?

4) Einsturzende Neubauten" - "Armenia"
I'm not sure if this counts because I don't think they ever played with an orchestra but simply took the tape of an Armenian folk song and um did their deconstructionist musical thing over the top of it. But this is my blog, my chart, my rules and they're one of my all time favourite bands!

5) Goldfrapp - "Clowns"
There's no doubt that a string section add textured lushness to what would otherwise be a very brittle song indeed.

6) Led Zeppelin - "Kashmir"
Bloated bombastic rock epic saved by classical strings. Actually that's not quite fair since the Arab tonal textures make it interesting enough.

7) Aerosmith - "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing"
See this is the problem with adding orchestras to hard rock bands, they believe it makes them all serious and respectable. Whatever happened to those who were enjoined to "Walk This Way?". In this song they're invited to sit down and take the weight off...

8) Massive Attack - "Unfinished Sympathy"
While heavy metal and punk bands glom on some strings either to lend credibility that they are making 'classic' music, or in an ironic fashion, Trip-Hop bands like Massive & Portishead who were mixing and weaving together different types of sounds in their tonal landscapes which meant that the strings sounded more organic and embedded into the ensemble. As in here. Boring video though.

9) The Verve - "The Drugs Don't Work"
The Verve's two biggest hits, this and "Bittersweet Symphony" both employed string sections. I can't even name any of their other songs, don't know if that says anything?

10) REM - "Everybody Hurts"
Lush, lush, lush and now not a description of Peter Buck allegedly in a plane...

Bonus Track - Lou Reed "Perfect Day
Perfect symbiosis, nothing more needs to be said. RIP Lou

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