Hoping to reclaim more regular posting this month! I'll ease into it with this week's playlist...
I've been reveling in my love of the piano and my envy of those who can play it well. So here's a salute to some songs that show it at its best.
"I Love the Piano" - Judy Garland: This is an Irving Berlin vaudeville standard that lyrically and musically celebrates the eponymous instrument. The cover I'm referring to appears in the movie, Easter Parade, and Judy seriously belts it out. Really fun to sing along with- stands the test of time, as well, in the sense that it's as fun and toe-tapping as it was when it was 'modern music.'
"Tiny Dancer" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" - Elton John: EJ is my favorite pianist in rock music. These songs have amazing and unexpected lyrics and ones that, even if they seems a little foreign at times in the story they are telling, manage to be relatable on a fundamental level. I also like the slightly dreamy, theatrical quality in his work. Plus, definitely belters. You can count that I will be crooning along with this on a road trip.
"I'll Stand By You" - The Pretenders: An unexpected song if you are familiar with the rest of this band's catalogue. However, this is a song where the piano adds a raw undertone of sincerity and emotion that supports and elevates the already stellar lyrical content. This is a song of unswerving devotion, the kind we all hope for. I've always thought this would make a good wedding song, because it's basically saying, When the shit goes down, you're going to be okay because you won't be alone- I'm not going anywhere. I also love the way that the piano strikes the notes so crisply in the hook.
"Let It Be" - The Beatles: I unashamedly air-piano/air-organ to this song. One theme I'm noticing in thinking about why I like these piano ballads is that the instrument is taking superb lyrics to the next level. Definitely true of this song. The organ also makes the whole thing seem almost like a hymn, which underscores the message of the song. Not sure if I philosophically agree with that message, but it is poignant and sincere.
"You Picked Me" - A Fine Frenzy: Here's a slightly more traditional ballad with a twist. The piano in this case rollicks along with the words (I feel like I'm driving down the road on a sunny day, for some reason, when this music comes on) and paints a jubilant picture of what falling in love feels like. It's also a novel and sweet metaphor of the beloved reveling the adoration of the lover.