Sunday, June 28, 2020

Weekend Diversion: Songs stuck in my head

There are always songs that we hear and, whether we actually like them or not, they get stuck in our heads—not earworms, necessarily, but songs we connect with for some reason or other. The song might be an earworm, but what makes it stick with us might be the lyrics, the arrangement of the music, the vocals, or even the video, as has so often happened with me. This week’s songs are examples of that, the latter in particular.

The song up top is “Love Someone” by Danish pop and soul band Lukas Graham. The lead singer is Lukas Forchhammer, whose Irish father’s surname was Graham. Forschhammer co-wrote the song.

I first saw the video for this song when it was new in 2018, and fairly often after that. In fact, it’s still played often on the music video channel I watch. I liked it back in the day, and I identified with it, but that took on a whole new, far greater intensity after Nigel died, because of the lyrics. The chorus goes:
'Cause when you love someone
You open up your heart
When you love someone
You make room
If you love someone
And you're not afraid to lose 'em
You probably never loved someone like I do
You probably never loved someone like I do
True enough, that. These days the final bridge also especially resonates with me:
All my life
I thought it'd be hard to find
The one, 'til I found you
And I find it bittersweet
'Cause you gave me something to lose
That, in a nutshell, is how I felt about my relationship with Nigel. In fact, it still is. That’s probably why I still like it, but nowadays it usually makes me cry.

If I ever heard the song on the radio, it was very rarely. And it wasn’t exactly a chart-topper. It hit 20 in Australia (2x Platinum), 80 in Canada, 27 in New Zealand (Gold), in the UK, it apparently didn’t chart, but was certified Silver, anyway. It also hit 70 in the USA’s Billboard “Hot 100” (Platinum). Clearly it sold well, despite not charting all that high.

The next song is completely different – “Sunday Best” by American pop-fusion band, Surfaces:

The video was originally released in July of 2019, but it became a hit in early 2020 when the song was released in March 2020, which is about the time I first saw the video on the music video channel. When I first saw the video, I had a bit of a “WTF?!” moment, that wasn’t helped when I went to their website and read:
our music exists to spread love and positivity across the world. for those hurting, for those lost, we want every song to be a pathway that can lead anyone to brighter days. we often write our songs in ways that can better relate to the listener, so that they can be serviced by the stories and emotions we hope to capture with our words. [missing capital letters in the original]
Okay, then. The thing is, I went to their website originally because I was trying to figure out if they were for real or having us all on with their feel-good, sunshiney popness. Truth is, I still don’t really know, but I don’t care. The song is upbeat, both the music and the positive lyrics. I eventually came to like it, after it was well and truly stuck in my head, anyway.

The song went to Number 10 in Australia (Platinum), Number 8 in Canada, Number 9 in New Zealand (Gold), 36 in the UK, and 19 in the USA (Gold).

Next up, a video that definitely made me go “WTF?!”: “To Die For” by English singer/songwriter Sam Smith, who I’ve shared several times before.

The song and video were released in February of this year, which means I saw it a lot during lockdown. To put it mildly, it is—unusual. The song opens with a sample from the 2001 film Donnie Darko, which relates to the song, but I have absolutely no idea what the singing mannequin head thing is all about. Smith opened a pop-up wig shop in London named after the song about the time it was released. Which doesn’t clarify anything, of course. Still, I liked the song as I have most of Smith’s other songs, but the video definitely gave me pause.

The song hit Number 15 in Australia (Gold), 56 in Canada (Gold), 34 in New Zealand, 18 in the UK (Silver), and 46 in the USA.

Finally, this week a very different song, and one of the most successful I’ve ever shared: “Blinding Lights” by Canadian singer/songwriter The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye).

What I liked about the song was the 1980s vibe that permeates the song, sometimes blatantly, other times less so. I really liked the sound of the song, except for the part where the whole song slows down, like a tape recorder with dying batteries, which was a "WTF?" moment for me, actually. I think that part of the song is silly and adds nothing to the song, though in the video it at least makes some sense.

In any case, the song went to Number One in 32 countries in the world, including all the countries I usually write about: Australia (5x Platinum), Canada (5x Platinum), New Zealand (2x Platinum), UK (2x Platinum), and the USA (Platinum). Rather popular, then.

And that’s it for this week. A real mixed bag of songs by a little UN of artists. All the songs got stuck in my head for a variety of reasons, but they all ultimately got stuck there because of their videos. I’m okay with that.

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