For our Valentine’s Day special, each member of the Song Talk Radio team brought a favourite love song too woo our listeners. All the songs were very different, and we each had a different take on what makes a good love song:
Bruce appreciates authentic, honest expressions of love
Neel likes it when there’s a nuanced message
Vanessa looks for a specific emotional response in the listener
Etain likes sincere and from the heart love songs that you can dance to
Phil likes honesty and originality in his “happy” love songs, and
favourite twitter follower of the show, Sharon (@SharonRose2012), said “Love songs should make you remember what it’s like to be in love.”
We also talked out:
writing songs from a gay perspective
modern songwriting melodies
ska music vs. reggae
verse / refrain / B section song structure
Putting a twist on the default “I love you” message
Listen to the whole show:
Check out the love songs we love to love:
Here’s the team’s top picks, and even some great love songs that didn’t make it to show!
Bruce’s pick for the show was a song written by a gay songwriter:
And Bruce’s runner-up pick, a classic love song:
Etain’s pick for the show was a quirky and cheeky 80’s song:
Neel’s pick was an earnest and upbeat, catchy love song with a twist:
and Neel’s second choice (not featured on the show) was a quirky duet about loving in the biggest way possible:
Phil chose the first song he ever heard when he realized “that’s a great song”:
Phil also considered a beautiful new wave song for the show:
Vanessa brought a gorgeous, folky ballad by Jewel:
She also considered a collaboration song by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
And our twitter followers contributed to the conversation with their favourites:
Kirk Felix arrived at our little studio with a whole band; bass, violin (fiddle), and cajon. As we did our sound check the Song Talk crew all savoured the gentle, soothing and heart-warming sounds of a folk ensemble. Patrick Ballantyne sat in for Neel Modi who was on assignment. In addition to two very authentic folk songs (Dusty Roads and Whispering Peace), we talked about:
Born in England, raised in The Netherlands, Paul Vos shared two of his songs with us at Song Talk Radio.
The first was “Lost Along the Way” a song about finding love when you least expect it. Listen for the awesome 80’s background vocals on the chorus! The second tune, “Heaven in My Hands” had us all dancing to its funky beat and tasty guitar licks. It also sparked a lively discussion on the merits and possible pitfalls of repetition in a song. Over the course of the program we also talked about:
writing songs with only a bass line or a beat
How some lyrics sound like something else when they’re heard (like “re-find it”)
How long should a pre-chorus be?
How a song can benefit from a bridge, a breakdown, or an instrumental interlude
Whether a singer’s vocal style should change dramatically during a song
Piper Hayes is a New York born singer/songwriter currently living on the outskirts of Hamilton, Ontario – home to a burgeoning arts scene. Piper started writing her own songs because she couldn’t play other people’s songs on her guitar. On this fast-paced and informative show, she sang “You’re Gone” and “Honey” and we talked about:
musical theatre training and the singer/songwriter
With 10 albums over a 20-year career, Canadian singer/songwriter/guitarist Jacob Moon dropped into the studio to share a wealth of helpful tips and clear insights. “Live a Little” is a truly exceptional tune, a perfect marriage of lyrics, melody, theme and variation. “Is That All You Got” is a gutsy rocker that looks at calamity with defiance and a “bring it on” attitude. The hour just flew by as we discussed –
For our latest theme show, we take a look at some of our favorite Protest Songs and try to figure out what makes an effective one. We looked at River Runs Red by Midnight Oil, Eve of Destruction by P.F. Sloan, and Phil talks about how his band The Parkdale Hookers, went about writing their punk-anthem Multi-Media Word and talked about how not to date a protest song.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Stuff we talked about:
Pathetic Fallacy: The phrase pathetic fallacy is a literary term for the attributing of human emotion and conduct to all aspects within nature. It is a kind of personification that is found in poetic writing when, for example, clouds seem sullen, when leaves dance, or when rocks seem indifferent
Objective correlative: a literary term referring to a symbolic article used to provide explicit, rather than implicit, access to traditionally inexplicable concepts as emotion or color.
Jeff Greenway returned to the Song Talk Radio studio to share his thoughts on song writing. His approach to writing is through a feeling, not a theory. This was amply demonstrated in the two songs he shared with us. The first, Cavalry, evoked the sadness and confusion you feel when a relationship just isn’t working any more. No one is coming to save the day and there’s nowhere to hide. The second tune, I Need describes the two opposing sides of possible reconciliation. Notice the lyric shift from “don’t come home” to “please come home”. We discussed:
The ever lovely and talented (and what a voice!) Janice Ho, Song Talk Radio’s very own tweeting songbird, talked about two early collaborations she worked on and what to look out for when collaborating. Download the lyrics for the show.
We talked about:
Muse Songwriters forum – a great online community to meet other lyricists and songwriters and collaborate on songs
From the moment Blair Packham started to speak, we knew we were in for some great lessons from a master songwriter and experienced teacher. If You Were Mine featured a great bridge and instrumental break. In Her Dreams started out as a story of a woman in a call centre and moved to a daughter caring for an ailing mother. In our wide-ranging conversation we also touched on the following:
who are you writing for?
does the song connect emotionally with the listener?
collaboration is good
ask for feedback and use it
write from your creativity
the new singer-songwriter accent (Shawn Mendes song Stitches for example)