Song of the Week – God Only Knows

The 'impossible orchestra'
The ‘impossible orchestra’

God Only Knows – BBC Music remake with various artists

I was a happy girl today when a friend sent me the link to the BBC’s recording of the Beach Boys hit God Only Knows. They’ve enlisted an all-star cast to perform the song and it’s accompanied with a beautiful performance from an 8o-piece orchestra. They’re calling it the ‘impossible orchestra’ but it’s anything but impossible, it’s magical.

This song is a legendary tune. The Beach Boys version has always been a real favourite of mine. I’ve always had an amazing emotional connection to it. As it played under Hugh Grant’s voiceover during the first scene of Love Actually I was certain it was the most magical film-soundtrack choice I’d ever heard.

Like any cover, it’s always risky to take on such a famous song, but with such an incredible selection of artists to perform it I don’t think it was possible for them to muck it up. This version of God Only Knows is easily one of the best compilations I’ve ever heard. Count yourself lucky it hasn’t come out sounding like one of those awful performances we see when all the X-Factor or Idol finalists sing together on tele. Instead it’s been put together wonderfully. It’s polished, the vocals are all impressive and follow on from each other well, the backing orchestra is unreal and the video that accompanies it on YouTube is creative genius.

My favourite cameos out of the 27 “ridiculously talented musicians from a wide range of genres” who sing in the song are:

Chris Martin – He can do no wrong in my eyes, his voice shines through and made me wish there was more from him in the song.

Lorde – Wohoo, this Kiwi can do no wrong! She sings with such sultry passion I love it.

Brian Wilson – The original writer of the song…need I say more? Of course he sings it best.

One Direction – I know it’s not traditional of a music blogger to say this, but I love these boys, how could you not!

Paloma Faith – This pop sheila is a rising star, she’s got a powerhouse voice I just can’t get enough of at the moment.

Check out the song and video here, it’ll make your day.

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Song of the Week – Collapse

VSC

Collapse – Vancouver Sleep Clinic

I was lucky enough last week to get two concerts in one. Vancouver Sleep Clinic opened for Angus and Julia Stone at the Civic in Auckland last week and absolutely blew me away.

No VSC isn’t a band, but is instead a genuis 17 year-old from Brisbane, Tim Bettinson. Taking inspiration from Bon Iver he has managed to create a contemporary electronica sound full of emotion, far more than one would expect from a teenager.

Collapse is the first track from his forthcoming debut EP Winter. It is hauntingly beautiful (especially when turned up really loud). Full of melancholy, the track is a slow and steady song brought together with the use of a synth, keyboard and fantastic drum beat. The tune is written in the classic electronica build-up style, it starts gently, crescendoes into a more vibrant chorus, takes it up a notch further with a  moody bridge, before subsiding into a more muted verse again.

Bettinson’s vocals are the star of the show, he sings in a beautiful Justin Vernon like falsetto, slurring his words much like the Bon Iver genius. That’s not to say he’s like Vernon in every way however, for a start you can actually understand what his lyrics mean, and they’re quite lovely!

“It’s so cold, I’ve come out
Where’s the all I have to show
The knowledge that I’ve never known
The garden that I failed to grow”

See what I mean? Once again, I’m still amazed a 17-year-old boy can write lyrics and music with such a mature quality.

He performs like he’s been doing it for years. In his set on Sunday Bettinson and band had the whole theatre enraptured, a hard ask for an opening act. He performed with a real confidence, played instruments like he was born to do nothing else, gelled with his bandmates impressively and sang gloriously. His music really came to life on stage and I was completely sold.

I think if you check him out, you will be too.