Something I love: When really talented musicians take pop songs that are, for all intents and purposes, disposable and put them in the category of: “If It Sounded Like This the First Time I’d Have Been in Love with This Song”.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was a theme song of 2012. It was on every radio station and though I can’t be sure, I’m willing to bet that the video of her seductively washing her car to get that dude’s attention – while ‘that dude’ was eyeing her band mate – was all over the half hour or so that MTv plays music videos. Surprisingly enough, even I have a silly, happy memory of watching my friend sing this song at the top of her lungs while she, another friend, and I drove to get ice cream after being at the beach all day. I mean, I guess that’s the point of songs like “Call Me Maybe”: silly fun, saccharine sweet. That being said, after a solid summer’s worth of ear-beating, thanks to pop radio stations lack of catalog, any song can wear thin. Unless someone comes along and revamps it. And that is exactly what Ben Howard did.
Ben Howard has a unique sound. His voice is husky and soft and the lyrics off his album, Every Kingdom, are pleasantly simple, yet poignant. I’m a sucker for finger-picked acoustic guitar sounds and the album boasts quite a bit of that. Overall, the sound of his music is melodically calming.
Somehow Howard managed to take this bubblegum pop song, complete with grrrrlpower growl before the chorus starts and end of verse coquette whine, and turn it into a piece of music with depth, emotion, and a damn cello. Yes, a cello. The incredible shift in the song’s tone and vocal performance gives the lyrics meaning, maybe even longing, that seemed to be largely missing from the original. Carly, you missed the boat sweetheart. No hard feelings.
Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Listen to it and let him convince you.
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