Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6/15/10 - Songs of the Summer #3-4: "Jingle Jangle Jingle" and "You'll Never Know"

The Master List: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-songs-of-the-summer-1940-2010

Top song of 1942: "Jingle Jangle Jingle" by Kay Keiser.

"Yippee Yay/There'll be no wedding today!" That's quite an opening line. "Jingle Jangle Jingle" is another up-tempo swing song, and the lyrical conceit is well-done: the title onomatopoeia is the sound of the narrator's spurs as he rides along, a free and easy single man. The Western iconography is an interesting touch, especially paired with the sophisticated big-band touches and smooth vocal delivery. The song starts all-vocally, with the declaration of independence happening over a bed of melancholy backing vocals. Then the percussion kicks in for the first verse, followed by the big-band horn solo in the middle.

The next section is where the song takes a fun twist, as a lead female vocal joins and echoes the male lead, providing ironic counterpoint to the narrator's assertions of independence. Either the narrator is less independent than he asserts, or else the female perspective is added as a counterweight voice of equal independence, an interestingly ambiguous twist on what starts out a simple declaration of independence.

Top Song of 1943: "You'll Never Know" by Dick Haymes

For the second time in the '40s period, we've got a ballad. The song itself is pretty unremarkable - smooth crooning delivery of standard pop sentiments ("You went away and my heart went with you"). It's nice enough, and Dick Haymes has a velvety smooth voice, for sure, but it doesn't really stand out.

What does stand out about this song is that the backing is all a cappella, with a bevy of background vocalists building out instrumental tracks. It's a different feel from the "a capella" widely mocked and practiced on college campuses - again, there's no approximation of rhythm in the backing vocalists musical lines, which tends to be the most annoying part of modern a cappella (think of that dude with the low voice going 'bomp, bomp, bomp ba-bomp bomp'). Instead, the a capella backing in this song seems more akin to a string section - long melodic lines strung together to harmonize with the lead vocal.

Apparently, the musicians were on strike, which is why there are no instruments. Beware the day that the samplers all go on strike these days - we might be subject to a whole lot of a cappella all over again.

1 comment:

ariyele said...

"think of that dude with the low voice going 'bomp, bomp, bomp ba-bomp bomp"

how about not?