Archive for January, 2012


List #13: Songs Made Awesome by Female Guest Artists

24 January, 2012

Hey, blog! What’s up? How are you doing these days? What? I never write? But I call and… No? It has to be writing? People don’t really do that in this day and age, but okay, I guess I can mail off a letter or two and… OHHHHHH that’s what you mean. Now I get it.

Now that that’s out of the way, to the list! Some of these songs I’ve written about before, because, well, let’s face it — even after three years of no writing I really still listen to all of the same music. Nevertheless, this is a list of songs (some good, some better, some awesome) that are made even better by a female voice added to the main singer. I find it interesting that, while coming up with these, I only discovered a very few that were the other way around — female singers joined by male guests. But perhaps that has something to do with what kind of music I listen to. I’m not sure. I could have sworn I had more of these, when I noticed them playing on my iPod, or when they popped into my head at work (oh right, I have a job now, and an apartment, and such), but this is all that remains at press time. I might add more. Might.

For the record, most of these youtube videos are just the first ones that popped up when I searched for the songs. I make no promises about the quality of the audio, or the content of the video.

  • Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know (with Kimbra)

I contemplated starting all these videos at the point at which the woman came in, but I decided it was better to start at the beginning to get the full effect. This song I only heard about relatively recently, when a friend posted the video on Facebook, but given the 46 million views it has, I think I’m coming in a little late in the game. Nevertheless, I do like this song a whole lot, but what really makes it is around 2:30 when the guest, Kimbra, starts her little bit. It’s just another verse in the song, but the tune is changed enough to make it counter the normal one perfectly, and, in my opinion, she just has a little more edge and feeling in her voice than he does. I love the end bit when she gets louder and more passionate, and then keeps singing on the descending scale when he comes back in.

  • The Postal Service – Nothing Better (with Jen Wood)

Now I like “Such Great Heights” as much as the next ex-angsty teen who watched Garden State as soon as it came out, but I think the real gem on that album is this song. I do state that I don’t listen to lyrics, so this song could very well be horrible (I think it’s about breaking up? Just like the last one…), but I like the tune. And, the moment where Jen Wood comes in with “I feel I must interject here” (about 1:30), into a song you assume is directed to the generic “you” but it turns out that she’s RIGHT THERE, is perfect. The song realizes its one-sided nature, and someone has to be there to tell the other side of the story. And it’s a duet from then on! Nice.

  • Eminem – Love the Way You Lie (with Rihanna)

Not sure how much I need to say about this one. Rihanna starts it off with her great little riff, and, really, that makes me like the song. Out of this album, I heard this song first, and my first thought was: “Oh, maybe I actually like Eminem now!” (Because I didn’t before, really.) But no, I listened to the rest of it and was unenthused. But this song… I don’t know. I hate using the word “beautiful” because I feel like it tends to be cheesy, and it seems odd to use it (hipster mindset) for a song with 425 million views and something so mainstream and overplayed (and not to mention a song about abusive relationships…), but that’s the first thought that comes to my mind about Rihanna’s section of this song. Eminem’s rap just sort of floats by me, in a not unpleasant way, but I just wait for the next chorus. I feel that it’s a given that people know/like this song, but I just want to put my opinion out there, and the fact that I think it’s Rihanna that makes it work. (Though Megan Fox playing with fire doesn’t hurt, either.)

  • Thom Yorke – This Mess We’re In (with PJ Harvey)

This doesn’t quite have a guest singer. It’s more of a duet, but I think it still fits in with the rest of these songs. I don’t know where I got it, I just noticed it at one point on my iPod, and loved it. There’s not too much I really have to say about this, just that it’s a great song, and it’s no small thanks to PJ Harvey’s voice. Check out 2:45 when she just speaks the words he’s singing. It’s awesome.

  • Meatloaf – Paradise By the Dashboard Light (with Ellen Foley)

This (along with the previous song) is something I’m sure I’ve written about before, because I love them and they are some of my most-played songs. It’s probably Meatloaf’s most epic song (which is saying a lot), a 9-minute extravanganza including an extended play-by-play baseball sex metaphor, wishes for armageddon, and a great addition by a female guest singer. Now, she jumps in a little earlier for the choruses, but her vital contribution starts at 4:30. Just like in Nothing Better above, she kind of pops in out of nowhere, rebutting what was just happening in the song (the baseball player was just about to slide home. Heh.) And then of course her part syncs up with what Meatloaf sings afterwards and it’s all counterpoint and awesomeness. As a final note, although this has little to do with her, the conceit of this song is hilarious to me, that he says he’ll love her until the end of time, but as soon as he does, he regrets it. However, instead of going back on his word, “[he’ll] never break [his] promise, or forget [his] vow, but… [he’s] praying for the end of time, so [he] can end his time with [her].” Man, brackets suck.

  • The Prince of Egypt – Deliver Us (with Ofra Haza)

This doesn’t quite fit in either, since she’s not exactly a guest, but again, I think the idea behind it is sound. This is the opening number to the Dreamworks (NOT Disney) picture The Prince of Egypt, a big choral piece which is awesome on its own, but the best part comes at around 2:10, when Ofra Haza comes in and, after a brief verse, does a descant over the main melody, and it’s, well, awesome. I’ve always wanted it to continue past that one time, but it doesn’t. Alas. Then she continues on to the rest of the song, in the slower bit, which is fine, I guess. But that moment is great.

Now, I had a few more I was going to add on here, but this list is getting a little long. So, I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll try to write more in the future, at least once a month if not every week! We’ll see how that goes. Welcome back to reading, everyone!