Powerful Music In Unexpected Places

Over the last several months there has been something happening in the background of this blog. On what I thought was something of a whim I shared a piece of music that I really enjoyed. I commented in the post that I had always enjoyed music, but expressing my musical preferences always seemed like dangerous ground socially. I just figured there was no need to offer up information about oneself that would be judged. There was something liberating about that post and I have since begun sharing more music and in most cases explaining the significance of the music to my life. This process has created something of an awakening inside me relative to the power of music as a media of emotion. As I have explored this I have uncovered some powerful music that has moved me. Much of what I have discovered is pretty popular stuff, and by admitting that I have never heard it I am basically revealing that I do in fact live under a rock. The thing is I discovered a couple of these songs in a way that separated me from their original sound, and it is that which I hope to share here.

My wife and watch very little television, the TV in our house mostly exists for weekend movie rentals, information, football watching, and to get the occasional Law & Order fix. A couple weeks back my wife and I decided to snap the TV on after the boy went to bed. It last been on to watch Sunday Night Football and when it came on it was tuned to NBC. The Voice was on and the following rendition of Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” was just getting underway. I had never heard the song, but found this shortened version to be wonderfully performed and powerful emotionally. The next day I went looking for the original version and found this sort of funky electro folk tune that I liked, but lacked the emotional punch of what I heard the night before. I listened to several versions some live some recorded. Some were better than others, but if you know and like the song you should really here this version as it really is fantastic.

After discovering this performance I will admit that when the show is on we have tuned in. We haven’t followed it closely and I usually have my computer in my lap and just look up to take in the performances. I was generally unimpressed with what I had heard after the “lights” performance until I heard this. In this clip two singers each sing a minute or so of a song of their choice, but I have edited out the first girl. The second performer had chosen The Fray’s “You Found Me”. I have alluded to my spiritual confusion in this blog before with my desire to write a post on the topic, and my confusion has been highlighted in the musical postings of “Hallelujah” and “Beer With Jesus”. This woman’s rendition of the song gave me chills and made my eyes water. Maybe it just caught me at the right moment, but I felt this was an amazing and powerful performance.

On a final note, and at the risk of making folks scratch their heads and wonder where I have truly been, I will also tell you that I had not heard Adele sing until about two weeks ago. I had heard of her, but they don’t play her on the music stations I frequent and I had simply not heard her sing. In looking up some of the music in this post her stuff came up in the related video side bars. There was a live version of her “Set Fire To The Rain” performed at the Royal Albert Hall so a gave it a listen. This was the first thing I ever heard her sing and I was shocked. I don’t really relate too heavily to the song lyrics, but the emotional power of her voice is hard to deny. If you let yourself you can feel her sing as much as you hear her. I was also taken by the effortlessness of her sound. It appears as if she just opens her mouth and this beautiful music happens. This is in stark contrast to someone like Ellie Goulding performing “Lights” live which can be almost painful to watch. If you haven’t heard this here it is. It is really not to be missed. Happy listening.

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4 thoughts on “Powerful Music In Unexpected Places

  1. My girls and I watch The Voice! It’s the only reality show we watch. My oldest thinks Adam Levine is “hawt”. I must say…I’m surprised you haven’t heard Adele before now. She’s a musical talent to be reckoned with. Both her albums–19 and 21–are amazing. And, if you’re a 007 fan? She wrote the new theme song for it: “Skyfall”. It’s an instant classic. I own the soundtrack with every Bond theme song…I have a thing for Shirley Bassey’s vocal stylings, and Tom Jones’ Welsh voice. His “Thunderball” is fantastic. Regardless of his “ladies’ man” persona, the dude could sing! Without further ado….Adele….

    • I was a little embarrassed to admit I had not heard Adele. I just really love powerful music, and while I figured most of the world had already heard her I felt compelled to share. She is amazing. I also found that interpretation of You Found Me to be really moving. I would like to here her sing the entire thing, not just the minute and a half you get on TV.

  2. Well…I suppose with the whole Adele phenom, it’s easy to just roll one’s eyes and walk on by. Sometimes everyone hops on a train that really is headed nowhere. But, in this case? You won’t be disappointed. She has incredibly powerful music. Have you heard “Chasing Pavements”? She was a relative unknown until she sang on Saturday Night Live to promote the release of her album “19” which she wrote when she was 19 years-old. I was listening to her before then because I LOVED her songs. She’s got this very powerful but cheeky side that comes through particularly on “Cold Shoulder”. And, if you have not heard “21”‘s “Rolling in The Deep” which was the first release off that album, do listen. What did you think of “Skyfall”? And, I like powerful music, too. Do you know Florence + the Machine? She’s an amazing vocalist, and, while I don’t like all her songs, this song is quite amazing. The lyrics in particular.

    • Rolling in the Deep was the second song I pulled up after hearing that live version of Set Fire to the Rain. It is true what you say about band wagons. These days there is always the next best thing, but her voice is timeless. I had heard of Florence and the Machine, but this was the first song I had listened to and I agree the lyrics are powerful.

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