Episodes

  • Strong Songs is one year old! In honor of that anniversary, Kirk takes a look back on the year that was, sharing musical highlights from each of the show's 20 single-song episodes.

    SCHEDULING NOTE: Strong Songs will be off in December, and will return for Year Two on January 8, 2020. If you're a patron over on Patreon, that means you won't be charged for the month of December.

    That also makes December a great month catch up on episodes you may have missed, share the show with your friends, listen to Year One playlists, and enjoy a hopefully very musical holiday season.

    SONGS DISCUSSED:

    "Africa" by Toto from Toto IV, 1982 "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon from Graceland, 1986 "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" by Beyoncé from I Am... Sasha Fierce, 2008 "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder from Songs in the Key Of Life, 1976 "Thriller" by Michael Jackson from Thriller, 1982 "Dancing Queen" by ABBA from Arrival, 1976 "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen from A Night At The Opera, 1975 "Let It Go" from Frozen, 2013 "Moanin'" by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers from Moanin', 1959 "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra from Out Of The Blue, 1977 "Satisfied" by Lin-Manuel Miranda from Hamilton, 2015 "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973 "Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe from The Archandroid, 2010 "Barracuda" by Heart from Little Queen, 1977 "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead from OK Computer, 1997 "Like a Prayer" by Madonna from Like a Prayer, 1989 "Think" by Aretha Franklin from the Blues Brothers soundtrack, 1980 "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal from Seal II, 1994 "Making Christmas" by Danny Elfman from The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 "I Will Always Love You" by Dolly Parton from Jolene, 1974, and as performed by Whitney Houston on The Bodyguard soundtrack, 1992

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    YEAR ONE PLAYLISTS

    You can find new playlists with these 20 songs on Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/strong-songs-year-1/pl.u-V9D7gaGiJ7o0a

    and Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5d9ym1sUymGoySMXOw3zbZ?si=knUCLdHHTQ2lTIQq-uXYmQ

    OUTRO SOLOIST: All Of Them!

    Thanks to all of the outro soloists we've featured over the past few months: BJ Cord, Galen Clark, Rob Reich, Dan Nervo, Sam Howard, and Steve Pardo. We'll feature plenty more great soloists in Year Two.

    SOCIAL MEDIA ALERT

    You can find Kirk on Twitter @kirkhamilton, and if you're interested in occasional music and Portland-related photos and videos, follow him on Instagram @kirk_hamilton. https://www.instagram.com/kirk_hamilton/

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    In addition to the year-one playlists above, you can find bigger playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    The biggest of all thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon backers. Hundreds of people have supported the show since the Patreon launched over the summer, and you've made it possible for Strong Songs to be what it is. For Year Two, we're adding a smaller "Eighth-Note" tier for those of you who just want to kick in a little bit, since a few folks have asked for that.

    Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    NOVEMBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Merlin Mann
    Ryan Torvik

    NOVEMBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alex Singer
    Alexander Polson
    Amanda Furlotti
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Baker
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Brooke Wilford
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    David Stroud
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    Jennifer Bush
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kingy
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Molly
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    SP
    Tanner Morton
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

    Thanks everyone for listening - see you in 2020!

  • It takes an extremely strong song to top the charts three separate times in three separate decades, but "I Will Always Love You" is just such a song.

    Written and recorded (twice) by Dolly Parton and then re-recorded in show-stopping fashion by Whitney Houston, the ballad has morphed from a fond farewell to a former mentor, to a theatrical goodbye to a lover, to a soaring ode to the very notions of love and loss. We follow that journey from the beginning, with all the vocal tricks, dramatic line-readings, and epic key changes that were added along the way.

    Band/Artist: Dolly Parton & Whitney Houston

    Albums: Jolene (1974), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), and The Bodyguard soundtrack (1992)

    Composed by: Dolly Parton

    Listen/Buy (Jolene): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    Listen/Buy (TBLWIT): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    Listen/Buy (The Bodyguard): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO DISCUSSED/FEATURED:

    The sensational new WNYC podcast Dolly Parton's America "The Last Thing On My Mind" by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner "Applejack" by Dolly Parton from New Harvest...First Gathering, 1977 "Let It Go" from Frozen performed by Idina Menzel

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    OUTRO SOLOIST: Dan Nervo

    Mr. Dan Nervo has the tiller for this episode's outro solo. Dan plays guitar all around the San Francisco Bay Area in bands like Neon Velvet, and also teaches private guitar lessons. Hit him up if you want to get really good at guitar: https://www.facebook.com/DanNervoGuitarLessons/

    ONE 'GRAM AT A TIME

    If you're interested in occasional music and Portland-related photos and videos, follow Kirk on Instagram @kirk_hamilton. https://www.instagram.com/kirk_hamilton/

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    The biggest of thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons. If you want to support Kirk making the show, do so here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    NOVEMBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS (Thank you!!)

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Merlin Mann
    Ryan Torvik

    NOVEMBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alex Singer
    Alexander Polson
    Amanda Furlotti
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Baker
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Brooke Wilford
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    David Stroud
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    Jennifer Bush
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kingy
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Molly
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    SP
    Tanner Morton
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

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  • When the full moon starts to climb, we'll all sing out... it's time to talk about the best stop-motion animated Halloween/Christmas movie musical ever made! Hee hee hee hee heeee!

    Tim Burton and Danny Elfman's maniacal miniature-musical The Nightmare Before Christmas was unusual when it came out in 1993 and, despite the fact that it went on to became a beloved Disney classic, is still unusual today. The centerpiece ensemble song "Making Christmas," during which the well-meaning but hopeless denizens of Halloween Town attempt to craft their own kind of creepy Christmas, is a crucial turning point for the film, both narratively and musically.

    In this episode, Kirk takes a closer look at what makes "Making Christmas" tick, from its densely interwoven character motifs to its ever-shifting orchestration to its earth-shaking contrabass woodwinds.

    Band/Artist: Danny Elfman and the Halloween Town Cast

    Album: The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, 1993

    Composed by: Danny Elfman

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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    ALSO FEATURED:

    Various other songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, 1993 "The Simpsons Theme" by Danny Elfman, 1989 "Dead Man's Party" and "Weird Science" by Danny Elfman/Oingo Boingo from Dead Man's Party, 1985 "Dies Irae" performed by the monks of the Abbey of Notre Dame "Theme from The Shining" by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, 1980 "The Carol of the Bells" by Mykola Leontovych, 1914, with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky, as conducted by John Williams on the soundtrack from Home Alone

    ------

    Update 10/31: After I published this episode on the 30th, several listeners wrote in to tell me about the Dies Irae, a 13th century Gregorian death chant that also shares the first four notes of the "Making Christmas" motif and has turned up in a TON of movies besides. I wasn't familiar with the Dies Irae (I know!), so I've updated the episode to include a mention of it. You'll have to redownload the episode if you want to hear that version. You can also watch a great Vox explainer video about the Dies Irae here: https://www.vox.com/videos/2019/9/16/20868789/creepy-melody-movies-catholic-chant-lion-king-shining - Kirk

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    NEW MUSIC VIDEO!

    It's a multi-instrumental arrangement of the theme from the classic adventure game The Secret of Monkey Island, featuring both pennywhistle and normal whistle, among other instruments: https://youtu.be/zf7VQiu1MGo

    To catch the next one, subscribe to Kirk's YouTube channel: https://youtube.com/kirkhamiltonmusic

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    OUTRO SOLOIST: Steve Pardo

    This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Steve Pardo. Steve and Kirk met when they were both jazz saxophone students at the University of Miami; Steve currently lives and performs around the Nashville, TN area. He's a producer, composer, and does work in the world of video games, having spent several years at Harmonix, where he helped make music games like Rock Band and Dance Central. You can find out more at his website: https://www.stevepardo.com/

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    Thanks as always to everyone who supports Strong Songs on Patreon. If you want to support Kirk making this podcast, find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    OCTOBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Merlin Mann

    OCTOBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alex Singer
    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Baker
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Brooke Wilford
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    Dominik Schmitt
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    SP
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say... especially if that man is named Kirk, and the thing he's telling you about is Seal's "Kiss From a Rose."

    Kirk goes back to the 90s for a close look at Seal's Grammy-winning, Batman-adjacent power ballad and finds a song that's much more interesting than he even remembered. It's an indulgent world of thick counterpoint, long phrases, harp flourishes, and oboe solos, with some of the richest vocal arranging this side of a chamber choir.

    Band/Artist: Seal

    Album: Seal II, 1994 and the Batman Forever soundtrack, 1995

    Composed by: Seal

    Produced by: Trevor Horn

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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    OUTRO SOLOIST: Sam Howard

    This episode's outro soloist is bassist Sam Howard. Sam lives in Nashville, TN, where he performs and tours with all kinds of artists, most recently hitting the road with the wonderful singer/guitar-shredder Molly Tuttle. Sam played all the way through the Strong Songs outro, so keep an ear out for his playing mixed under the horns on the way out. You can find out what Sam's up to at his website, https://samhowardmusic.com.

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    The biggest of thank-yous to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons. The show is drawing ever-nearer to its next goal, which will mean a bonus episode all about music terminology. If you want to support the show, do so here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    OCTOBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Merlin Mann

    OCTOBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alex Singer
    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Baker
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Brooke Wilford
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    Dominik Schmitt
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    SP
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • Kirk opens the Strong Songs mailbag to tackle your questions about demonic fiddle playing, lousy sax solos, Led Zeppelin counting, fake-out intros, reverb, children's music, and more.

    REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

    "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by the Charlie Daniels Band from Million Mile Reflections, 1979 "The Eternal Triangle" by Sonny Stitt from Sonny Side Up, 1959 "The Jones Girl" by the Five Satins, 1956 "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, 1977 "Hot For The Mountain" and "Never Too Late" by Natalie Prass from The Future and the Past, 2018 "Destination" by Nickel Creek from A Dotted Line, 2014 "My Doorbell" by the White Stripes from Get Behind Me Satan, 2005 "It's All Over Now" by the Rolling Stones, 1964 "For The Love of Money" by the O'Jays, 1974 "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin from Led Zeppelin IV, 1971 "Gumboots" by Paul Simon from Graceland, 1986 "You Really Got Me" by the Kinks, 1964 "Baby Beluga" by Raffi from Baby Beluga, 1980 "Bananaphone" by Raffi from Bananaphone, 1994 "Here Comes the Sun" by George Harrison from Abbey Road, 1969 "Freddie Freeloader" by Miles Davis from Kind of Blue, 1959 "Searching" by Hanne Hukkelberg from Little Things, 2005

    OTHER LINKS

    Gal Gracen's original Tweet about the Jones Girl sax solo: https://twitter.com/galgracen/status/1176740969988800513 A few studies about the effects of music on people in restaurants

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Rob Reich

    This episode's outro soloist is the wonderful bay area pianist/accordionist Rob Reich. Rob performs all over the place with a bunch of different groups, and is a total pleasure to see play. He's got a bunch of albums you can check out and contributes to an array of interesting projects (Live silent-film scores! Circus music!) and experiments. Find more at his website, http://www.robreich.com/.

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    A huge thank-you as always to all of Strong Songs's Patreon patrons! The show is nearing its next goal, which will mean a bonus episode all about music terminology. If you want to support the show, here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    OCTOBER 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Merlin Mann

    OCTOBER 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alex Singer
    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Baker
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Brooke Wilford
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    Dominik Schmitt
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    SP
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • In this Patreon-funded special episode, Kirk sits down with his former high school band director Janis Stockhouse to talk about her life as a music educator.

    Janis started teaching at North high school in Bloomington, Indiana, in the early 1980s. It was a time when "jazz education" as a concept was still a relatively new thing. She retired 38 years later, having grown the North band program into a well-known Midwest institution, winning countless awards at festivals around the world and regularly turning out graduates who would go on to become professional musicians, as well as many others who would simply have a lifelong love of music.

    On this episode she tells the story of starting out at North and developing the program, along with her thoughts on how to get students to practice, which composers she prefers for student groups, women in jazz, funding for the arts, and some good old-fashioned album recommendations.

    REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

    Janis's 2004 book Jazzwomen: Conversations With Twenty-One Musicians, which she co-wrote with Wayne Enstice - there are used copies on Amazon, and you should really track down a copy and read it

    The late great jazz legend David Baker, whose NYT obituary captured at least some of his legacy: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/arts/music/david-baker-who-helped-bring-jazz-studies-into-the-academy-dies-at-84.html

    MUSIC ON THIS EPISODE:

    "IU Swing Machine" by David Baker as played by the 2016 IU Celebration Big Band "Don't Get Sassy" by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis big band "Hang Gliding" by Maria Schneider from Alegresse "Bright Eyes" as played by the Bill Holman big band "Take the 'A' Train" by Billy Strayhorn as performed by the Duke Ellington orchestra "Vol. 6: All 'Bird' - Now's The Time" Play-A-Long by Jamey Aebersold (featuring Kenny Barron and Ron Carter(!!)) "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" by Abbey Lincoln from Abbey Is Blue, 1959 "Song Patrol" by Jane Ira Bloom from Early Americans, 2016 "Lingala" by the SF Jazz Collective from their 2005 self-titled album "So What" and "Flamenco Sketches" by Miles Davis from Kind of Blue, 1959 "My Favorite Things" as performed by John Coltrane on My Favorite Things, 1966 "Mercy Mercy Mercy" by Josef Zawinul as performed by the Cannonball Adderley quintet on Mercy, Mercy, Mercy, 1966

    OUTRO SOLOIST: BJ CORD

    This episode's outro soloist is BJ Cord, a fellow Bloomington North graduate and fantastic trumpet player based in Portland. BJ works at Monette trumpets making some of the most beautiful horns in the world, and is a regular presence on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monettetrumpets

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    This episode was made possible entirely because of the show's Patreon patrons, so a huge thank you to all of them! The show is nearing its next goal, which will mean another bonus episode like this one, so if you want to support the show, here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    SEPTEMBER 2019 WHOLE NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Sara Walsh

    SEPTEMBER 2019 HALF NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    Dominik Schmitt
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • Let's go back, let's go back, let's go way on back to that time Aretha Franklin recorded one of her best songs.

    On this episode, Kirk dives into two different versions of Franklin's classic tune "Think." First it's the laid back groove and roomy mix of the 1968 original, then it's time to fast-forward 12 years for the juiced-up arrangement she recorded with the Blues Brothers band in 1980.

    It's a story of how different production techniques, arrangements, and tempos can lead to two very different—but equally excellent—versions of the same song. We've done Dancing Queen, we've covered the band Queen, so it feels like it's past time for the Queen of Soul.

    NOTE: This episode is best enjoyed along with four fried chickens and a Coke.

    Band/Artist: Aretha Franklin

    Album: Aretha Now, 1968 and The Blues Brothers: Original Soundtrack, 1980

    Composed by: Aretha Franklin and Teddy White

    Listen/Buy (Original): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    Listen/Buy (Blues Brothers): Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO FEATURED/DISCUSSED:

    "Respect" by Otis Redding, performed by Aretha Franklin on I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, 1967 "She Didn't Cut Me Loose" by Curtis Selgado from Soul Shot, 2012 Wesley Morris's excellent 2018 NYT obituary: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/arts/music/respect-aretha-franklin-death.html Franklin's scene from The Blues Brothers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLbPv6yIvBU (you should really just watch the whole movie)

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Galen Clark

    This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Galen Clark. Galen plays keyboard and organ and acts as bandleader for the soul jazz group Trio Subtonic; you can find playing regularly around Portland, Oregon and occasionally on tour. Find more information at their website, https://www.triosubtonic.net.

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    Many, many thanks to all of Strong Songs's patrons! A patron-funded bonus episode should be finished for next week, so look forward to that.

    If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    SEPTEMBER 2019 WHOLE NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Sara Walsh

    SEPTEMBER 2019 HALF NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    Dominik Schmitt
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone... except for everyone listening to this episode, because we're traveling together through doubt and deliverance with Madonna's "Like a Prayer."

    Kirk takes a look at the high-contrast drama of the megastar's 1989 megahit, with its cathedral-like verses, bus-driving guitar rhythms, bouncy basslines, and perfectly placed Latin percussion flourishes. The music video got a lot of attention back in the day, but there's plenty in the song itself to celebrate, from Prince's mystery guitar to Madonna's vulnerable vocals to the joyful power of the Andraé Crouch Choir.

    Band/Artist: Madonna

    Album: Like a Prayer, 1989

    Composed by: Madonna and Patrick Leonard

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO FEATURED/DISCUSSED:

    "Open Your Heart To Me" by Madonna from True Blue, 1986 "Like a Prayer" as covered by the cast of Glee The music video for "Like a Prayer": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA983t3Rdzs Three excellent music documentaries: "Muscle Shoals," "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," and "20 Feet From Stardom." (Seriously, watch all three!)

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Steve Pardo

    This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Steve Pardo. Steve and Kirk met when they were both jazz saxophone students at the University of Miami; Steve currently lives and performs around the Nashville, TN area. He's a producer, composer, and does work in the world of video games, having spent several years at Harmonix, where he helped make music games like Rock Band and Dance Central. You can find out more at his website: https://www.stevepardo.com/

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    A huge thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs—your support is making it possible to make this show as good as it can be! Stay tuned for a bonus episode in the next few weeks, made possible entirely by our Patrons.

    If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    SEPTEMBER 2019 WHOLE NOTE PATRONS

    andrew walters
    CALEB ROTACH
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Jared Norris
    Mark Schechter
    Sara Walsh

    SEPTEMBER 2019 HALF NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Chas Lednicky
    Chris Brown
    Cyrus N. White
    Dominik Schmitt
    Earl Lozada
    Eero Wahlstedt
    Elliot Jay O'Neill
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Juan Carlos Montemayor Elosua
    Jules Bailey
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kate Albury
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Matt Gaskell
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Miriam Juskowicz
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    samuel gardner
    Shane DeLeon
    Shaun Wiese
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • Kirk opens up the Strong Songs mailbag to answer your questions about Marty McFly's musical instructions, Ian Anderson's flute style, Kurt Cobain's guitar tone, how to count songs by P!nk and Radiohead, and what to do if you play an "unsexy" instrument.

    REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

    Back to the Future, a 1985 movie that you've probably seen "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, 1958 "Walk Me Home" by P!nk "Where the Boys Are" performed by Connie Francis, 1960 "Come as You Are" by Nirvana from Nevermind, 1991 "Cross-Eyed Mary" by Jethro Tull from Aqualung, 1971 "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits from Brothers in Arms, 1985 "Pyramid Song" by Radiohead from Amnesiac, 2001

    PYRAMID SONG COUNTING BREAKDOWN:

    Keyboard (eighth notes):
    [(3 3 4 3 3) + (3 3 4 3 3)] x 2 = 64 eighth notes, aka 32 beats

    Drums (quarter notes):
    [(3 2 3) + (3 2 3)] x 2 = 32 quarter notes, aka 32 beats

    Kirk also made this ludicrous infographic: https://twitter.com/kirkhamilton/status/1164239460604641280

    Other links:

    The Wikipedia entry for the Mere-Exposure Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mere-exposure_effect

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Dan Nervo

    No new outro soloist this episode - we're re-sharing a guitar solo by the fantastic Dan Nervo. Dan plays guitar all around the San Francisco Bay Area in bands like Neon Velvet, and also teaches private guitar lessons. Hit him up if you want to get really good at guitar: https://www.facebook.com/DanNervoGuitarLessons/

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    The biggest possible thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs—your support is making it much easier to dedicate the time that the show deserves!

    If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    AUGUST 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    Caleb Rotach
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Sara Walsh

    AUGUST 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Chas Lednicky
    Earl Lozada
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeff Dixon
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O’Keefe
    joujou
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Nick Clements
    Ravy Vajravelu
    Richard Toller
    Shane DeLeon
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • It's time for something a little different, as Kirk takes a look at the theme songs from some of the most beloved animated TV shows of all time.

    This super-sized episode focuses on five different pieces of music, each of which is the theme for a different animated show. It's a ton of music in a variety of styles, full of frantic key shifts, earwormy melodies, bodacious drum fills, and a surprising number of saxophone solos.

    The songs, in order:

    "The Simpsons Theme" by Danny Elfman, 1989 "Duck Tales" by Mark Mueller, 1987 "Rescue Rangers" by Mark Mueller, 1989 "A Cruel Angel's Thesis" from Neon Genesis Evangelion, by Hidetoshi Satō, Neko Oikawa, and Toshiyuki Omori, 1995 "Tank!" from Cowboy Bebop, by Yoko Kanno, 1998

    ALSO FEATURED:

    "Maria" from West Side Story's 2009 Broadway cast recording, by Leonard Bernstein The Batman: The Animated Series theme by Danny Elfman "The Disney Afternoon Theme" and "Monkey In Your Tank" performed by The Disney Afternoon Studio Chorus "A Cruel Angel's Thesis: Bike Horn Cover" by Alex Small-Butera on YouTube "Front Burner" arranged by Sammy Nestico for the Count Basie big band "Cat Blues" and "Sax Quartet" from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, both by Yoko Kanno

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Rob Reich

    This episode's outro soloist is the fantastic bay area pianist/accordionist Rob Reich. Rob performs all over the place with a bunch of different groups, and is a total pleasure to see play. He's got a bunch of albums you can check out and contributes to an array of interesting projects (Live silent-film scores! Circus music!) and experiments. Find more at his website, http://www.robreich.com/.

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    The biggest possible thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs—your support is making it much easier to dedicate the time that the show deserves!

    If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Here's the link: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    AUGUST 2019 WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    Caleb Rotach
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Glenn
    Sara Walsh

    AUGUST 2019 HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Bill Thornton
    Brett Douville
    Brian Amoebas
    Chas Lednicky
    Earl Lozada
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeff Dixon
    Jeffrey Olson
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O’Keefe
    joujou
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Nick Clements
    Ravy Vajravelu
    Richard Toller
    Shane DeLeon
    Tim
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • Brace for a pressurized descent, as Kirk braves the undercurrents of Radiohead's alt-rock masterpiece "Paranoid Android."

    It's a structurally distinct, sonically adventurous, harmonically varied, and unexpectedly Bohemian Rhapsodyesque journey into the human psyche as Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and the rest of their not-so-merry band plumb the depths of 90s alienation.

    Band/Artist: Radiohead

    Album: OK Computer, 1997

    Composed by: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Colin Greenwood, Philip Selway

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO FEATURED:

    "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen "Fitter Happier" from OK Computer "Hyper Music" by Muse

    (This episode's audio was edited to correct some flanger/phaser confusion, thanks to listener Oblong Thong for sharing this cool catalogue of Greenwood's guitar effects: https://thekingofgear.com/jonny/effects)

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Galen Clark

    This episode's outro soloist is the one and only Galen Clark. Galen plays keyboard and organ and acts as bandleader for the soul jazz group Trio Subtonic; you can find playing regularly around Portland, Oregon and occasionally on tour. Find more information at their website, https://www.triosubtonic.net.

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    STRONG PLAYLISTS

    You can find playlists containing every Strong Song as well as all of Kirk's weekly music picks from his other podcast, Kotaku Splitscreen, on both Spotify and Apple Music.

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    As always, a massive thank-you to everyone who's signed up to become a patron of Strong Songs- your support makes it possible to make the show what it is!

    If you want to support the show, check out the Strong Songs Patreon. Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    Caleb Rotach
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Sara Walsh

    HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Chas Lednicky
    Earl Lozada
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeff Dixon
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    Shane DeLeon
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

  • It's time for the hardest rocking song ever written about sea life, as Kirk takes a deep dive into Heart's 1977 body-shaker "Barracuda."

    A deceptively complex song written around a deceptively straightforward riff, "Barracuda" opens the door for a discussion of the particulars of guitar tone, stompbox effects, the long history of the "galloping groove," why Ann Wilson's vocals rock as hard as they do, and a brief tribute to her sister Nancy's killer guitar chops.

    Band/Artist: Heart

    Album: Little Queen, 1977

    Composed by: Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Roger Fisher, Michael DeRosier

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO FEATURED:

    "Pride and Joy" by Stevie Ray Vaughan "Make a Mistake with Me" by Brad Paisley "November Rain" by Guns 'n Roses feat. Slash "This Flight Tonight" as performed by Nazareth "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin "William Tell Overture" by Gioachino Rossini "Crazy on You" by Heart "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin

    A cool interview with Roger Fisher about creating his Barracuda guitar tone, as well as that "Alien Attack" sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcQik5m0t9Q

    A Wall Street Journal interview with the Wilsons about the process of writing the song: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rage-behind-hearts-barracuda-11557331740

    OUTRO SOLOIST: Dan Nervo

    This episode's outro soloist is the fantastic Dan Nervo. Dan plays guitar all around the San Francisco Bay Area in bands like Neon Velvet, and also teaches private guitar lessons. Hit him up if you want to get really good at guitar: https://www.facebook.com/DanNervoGuitarLessons/

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    Join the club over at the Strong Songs Patreon and help make this show as good as it can be. We're still working toward 250 backers, at which point Kirk will do a bonus interview episode with an interesting musician or educator.

    Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    WHOLE-NOTE PATRONS

    Caleb Rotach
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Sara Walsh

    HALF-NOTE PATRONS

    Alexander Polson
    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Chas Lednicky
    Earl Lozada
    Emily Williams
    FlSHBONES
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeff Dixon
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O'Keefe
    joujou
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Max Schechter
    Melanie Stivers
    Michael Blackwell
    Mueller
    Nate from Kalamazoo
    Nicholas Schechter
    Richard Toller
    Shane DeLeon
    Tom Clewer
    Tom Lauer

    A huge thank you to all of Strong Songs' patrons - your support makes it possible to make the show what it is!

  • Whether you're high or low, you got to tip on the tightrope... and Kirk's got to tip right into a Strong Songs analysis of "Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe.

    It's time for some thump, some pop, and some sizzle, along with some clever rap phrasing, phrygian harmonies, surprise ukulele, and the funkiest horn section in Metropolis.

    Band/Artist: Janelle Monáe

    Album: The ArchAndroid, 2010

    Composed by: Janelle Monáe, Nathaniel Irvin III, Charles Joseph II, Antwan “Big Boi” Patton

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO FEATURED:

    Several other songs from The ArchAndroid; "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder from Natural Wonder Live; re-created beats from Strong Songs episodes on Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

    For more on the lore behind Monáe's Metropolis suite, read this great summary by Charles Pulliam-Moore at io9: https://io9.gizmodo.com/from-metropolis-to-dirty-computer-a-guide-to-janelle-m-1825580195

    OUTRO SOLOIST: BJ CORD

    This episode's outro soloist is BJ Cord, a fantastic trumpet player based in Portland by way of Chicago. BJ works at Monette trumpets making some of the most beautiful horns in the world, and is a regular presence on their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monettetrumpets

    THE STRONG SONGS THEME!

    You can listen to a (basically) final mix of the Strong Songs Theme Song on Kirk's Soundcloud here: https://soundcloud.com/kirkhamilton/strong-songs-theme-song

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    Join the club over at the Strong Songs Patreon and help make this show as good as it can be. We're well on our way to 250 backers, at which point Kirk will do a bonus interview episode with an interesting musician or educator.

    Find out more here: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    A huge thank you to all of the show's backers for June, in particular those who've signed up for the Half- and Whole-Note tiers.

    JUNE WHOLE-NOTE BACKERS:

    Caleb Rotach
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Sara Walsh

    HALF-NOTE BACKERS:

    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Chas Lednicky
    Earl Lozada
    Emily Williams
    Fishbones
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeff Dixon
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O’Keefe
    joujou
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Max Schechter
    Michael Blackwell
    Shane DeLeon
    Tom Lauer

    Thanks, too, to everyone who has signed up in the last couple weeks.

  • Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote so many great songs over the years that it was impossible to pick a single one for Strong Songs. So, why not do two?

    Kirk dives into a pair of classics by the storied songwriting duo, talking about Elton's chameleon-like voice, his love of pedal tones and embrace of the circle of fourths, the fascinating relationship between lyricist and songwriter, and what it means for a song to sound "piano-y."

    Both songs by: Elton John with lyrics by Bernie Taupin

    Album 1: Madman Across the Water, 1971

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    Album 2: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1973

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ------

    ALSO FEATURED:

    "I'm Still Standing," "Your Song," and "Grey Seal," all by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. "I Want Love" by John/Taupin, as performed in the 2019 movie Rocketman.

    NEW THEME MUSIC!

    Strong Songs has a new theme song! It'll evolve a bit over the next few episodes as Kirk adds a couple more musicians to the mix, so that should be fun. Hope you dig it.

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

    SUPPORT STRONG SONGS ON PATREON!

    The new theme music was a result of the Strong Songs Patreon hitting its first goal of 150 backers. It's juuuuust about to break the next goal of 200, too. At 250, Kirk will do a bonus interview episode with an interesting musician or educator.

    Find out how you can support the creation of this show over at the Strong Songs Patreon: https://Patreon.com/StrongSongs

    A huge thank you to all of the show's backers this first month, in particular those who've signed up for the Half- and Whole-Note tiers.

    WHOLE-NOTE BACKERS:

    Caleb Rotach
    Chad Barnard
    Dan Apczynski
    Dave Florey
    Sara Walsh

    HALF-NOTE BACKERS:

    Andre Bremer
    Andrew Lee
    Arjun Sharma
    Chas Lednicky
    Earl Lozada
    Emily Williams
    Fishbones
    Forrest Chang
    Jaehoon Jeong
    James Johnson
    Jasmine Fellows
    Jeff Dixon
    John and Sharon Stenglein
    Jon O’Keefe
    joujou
    Justin Liew
    Justin McElroy
    Kevin Morrell
    Kevin Pennyfeather
    Kyle Simons
    Max Schechter
    Michael Blackwell
    Shane DeLeon
    Tom Lauer

    Thanks, everyone. You're making it possible to put in the extra time and work to make episodes like this one shine.

  • Mailbag May returns for round two, as Kirk continues catching up on listener questions.

    NEW THEME MUSIC INBOUND!

    Strong Songs passed its first goal of 150 backers on Patreon! That means Kirk will write all-new theme music for the show. Keep an ear out for that sometime in June, most likely. A huge thank you to everyone who's signed up to support the show so far - we've also got some new goals, which you can check out over on the page: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

    MAILBAG MAY, PART 2

    The Strong Songs mailbag continues to overflow. This week we've got some follow-ups on Hamilton as well as questions about Mariah's whistle register, vocal multiphonics, rhythmic misdirection, the lydian mode, and the differences between a sequencer, a sampler, and a synthesizer.

    REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

    Various pieces from Hamilton, composed by Strong Songs celebrity endorser Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2015

    The graphic novel Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, 2009

    "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic from Native, 2013

    "The Third Eye" by the Pillows from My Foot, 2006

    "The Simpsons Theme" by Danny Elfman, 1989

    "Something" by Snarky Puppy feat. Lalah Hathaway from Family Dinner Vol 1, 2013

    "Emotions" as performed by Mariah Carey on Emotions, 1991

    "Movement" by Hozier, 2019

    "Show Me The Way" by Peter Frampton from Frampton, 1975

    "Nut Bush City Limits" by Ike and Tina Turner, 1973

    "Shake Your Rump" by the Beastie Boys from Paul's Boutique, 1989

    "Without You" by Pete Ham and Tom Evans, as performed by Harry Nilsson, 1971

    "White Winter Hymnal" as performed by Fleet Foxes, 2008

    "Fugue 24" by Anathallo from Sparrows, 2002

    "God Only Knows" as performed by the Beach Boys on Pet Sounds, 1966

    "Baba O'Riley" by Pete Townshend and The Who from Who's Next, 1971

    "Memories" by Thutmose from the Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse soundtrack, 2018

    ————————————

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

  • It's time for Mailbag May, a long-running (aka brand new) Strong Songs tradition where Kirk spends the month of May catching up on listener questions.

    NEW PATREON GOAL!

    A huge thank you to everyone who has signed up to back the show so far on Patreon! You are all beautiful. If Strong Songs can hit its first goal of 150 backers, Kirk will write new theme music for the show. Head over there to learn more: https://www.patreon.com/strongsongs

    MAILBAG MAY, PART 1

    The Strong Songs mailbag overfloweth, and Kirk's got enough material recorded for two Q&A episodes. For this first part, we've got questions about chords, Tool, fire extinguishers, perfect pitch, Avengers and Game of Thrones music, the popularity of the flute, earworms, drum solos, and the inherent humor of the cowbell.

    REFERENCED ON THIS EPISODE:

    "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra

    "Lateralus" by Tool (apparently it's actually pronounced lah-ter-allis)

    An entertaining video compilation of "The Lick": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krDxhnaKD7Q

    "Turkey in the Straw," American traditional

    Kirk's Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kirkhamilton

    "The Avengers" by Alan Silvestri

    "Happy Birthday" by the Hill Sisters

    "Moondance" by Van Morrison

    "Juice" by Lizzo from her 2019 album Cuz I Love You

    The Saturday Night Live "More Cowbell" sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVsQLlk-T0s

    "The Night King" and "Game of Thrones" by Ramin Djawadi from Game of Thrones

    "Pacific Rim" by Ramin Djawadi from Pacific Rim

    "Sight of You" by Sigrid from her 2019 album Sucker Punch

    "Wipe Out" by the Surfaris, 1963

    ————————————

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

  • Strong Songs now has a Patreon! Learn more about how you can support the show here: https://patreon.com/strongsongs.

    Kirk gets his Patreon pitch out of the way up front, then lists five albums that have shaped him as a musician over the years, talking a little bit about why each one is great. There could've been like a hundred different albums on this episode, but hey, let's start with five.

    Those albums are:

    --

    Frank Zappa, The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life, 1991

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    The Cardigans, First Band on the Moon, 1996

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    Stan Getz, Stan Getz and the Oscar Peterson Trio, 1958

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    Spacehog, The Chinese Album, 1998

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    Maria Schneider, Allégresse, 2000

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Spotify | Maria Schneider's Website

    ————————————

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

    Sign up for Kirk's mailing list to start getting monthly-ish newsletters with music recommendations, links, news, and extra thoughts on new Strong Songs episodes: https://tinyletter.com/KirkHamilton

  • A toast to the groom! To the bride! To knowing you'll always regret the sacrifice you made for your sister!

    NOW ON PATREON

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    NEVER BEEN SATISFIED

    Kirk takes an overdue dive into Lin-Manuel Miranda's epic Broadway musical Hamilton, focusing on Renée Elise Goldsberry's first act showstopper, "Satisfied."

    Regret tinges an otherwise joyous day as Angelica Schuyler remembers the night she met Alexander Hamilton, fell in love with him, and quickly realized they could never be together. It's a heady mix of complex rhyme schemes, powerhouse vocals, and musical character motifs so densely interwoven that it's hard to keep track of them all.

    Artist: Renée Elise Goldsberry, Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Album: Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), 2015

    Composed by: Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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    ALSO FEATURED:

    Tracks from The Hamilton Instrumentals, 2017

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ————————————

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST

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  • Today's forecast calls for blue skies, and today's Strong Songs calls for an in-depth analysis of Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky."

    NOW ON PATREON

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    BLUE SKIES

    It's time to welcome all our pretty faces to the human race, thanks to ELO's most enduring concert-rock classic. Kirk goes for a sunny stroll on a beautiful musical day full of layered vocals, fire extinguisher drumming, time-tested chords, Les Paul solos, vocoders, and... unexpected saxophone interludes?

    Band/Artist: Electric Light Orchestra

    Album: Out Of The Blue, 1977

    Composed by: Jeff Lynne

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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    ALSO FEATURED:

    "Yesterday" by Paul McCartney from Help!, 1965

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    --

    "Confirmation" by Charlie Parker, 1946, included on In Person

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ————————————

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  • Dust off your head charts and brush up your best licks, cause it's time to wade into the warm, welcoming waters of jazz.

    NOW ON PATREON

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    MOANIN'

    This episode's Strong Song is Bobby Timmons' gospel-tinged "Moanin'," from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' 1959 album of the same name. Kirk zooms out a bit more than usual to talk about jazz small-group arranging, how a great solo is constructed, how jazz song-form works, and how (hopefully) to have a better appreciation for what's going on on a given jazz recording, even if you don't play. He also talks about anime.

    Band/Artist: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

    Album: Moanin', 1959 (recorded in 1958)

    Composed by: Bobby Timmons

    Personnel: Lee Morgan, trumpet; Benny Golson, tenor sax; Bobby Timmons, piano; Jymie Merritt, bass; Art Blakey, drums

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

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    ALSO FEATURED:

    "Freddie Freeloader" by Miles Davis from Kind of Blue, 1959

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    "Giant Steps" by John Coltrane from Giant Steps, 1960

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder from Songs in the Key of Life, 1976

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    ("I Wish" was also featured on a 2018 episode of Strong Songs)

    --

    "Jordu" by Duke Jordan from Clifford Brown and Max Roach, 1954

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    "Cherokee" by Ray Noble as performed by Clifford Brown on Study in Brown, 1955

    Listen/Buy: Apple Music | Amazon | Spotify

    --

    "Tank!" by Yoko Kanno from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack

    --

    The wonderful anime Kids on the Slope, streamable on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

    ————————————

    NEWSLETTER/MAILING LIST!

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