Secrets of the Pop Song: Ballad (1/3)

Secrets of the Pop Song: Breakthrough Single (2/3)

Secrets of the Pop Song pairs songwriter and record producer, Guy Chambers, with a singer and together they come up with a new song.  In 2 days.  I don’t know why programmes of this sort have to set an arbitrary time limit.  Perhaps to generate tension, but the device was unnecessary in the collaboration between Chambers and Rufus Wainwright in this first episode on the ballad.

Thoroughly absorbing television.  I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to pop music  – wouldn’t touch BBC Radios One and Two with a barge pole – but this was an eye (and ear) opener.  It’s fascinating to see the craft that goes into the making of a pop song, as well as the creative chemistry.  There are songs I do like, and this programme built on that pleasure to give me a greater appreciation of the ones I’ve willfully ignored.

I think Rufus Wainwright is brilliant.  A girlfriend in Seattle introduced me to his music a few years ago, when he was on tour.  A big part of the enjoyment is the operatic element, very much evident in the song, World War 3, which came out of the collaboration.  The programme included footage of Chambers and Wainwright introducing it at a club in Los Angeles, with Chambers as piano accompaniment.  It sounded terrific then, but frustratingly they didn’t broadcast the full studio recording, with all the added instrumentation.  Nor can I find anything about its release, despite the industry professionals saying how good it is.  Supposedly available for download on mp3, if you have the gadget.  I’m a bit of a Luddite – only just got my head around the concept of the DVD – and if there’s an mp3 player on my computer I haven’t found it yet.

But I can offer the YouTube video of the LA club gig where World War 3 was introduced.

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