► March Madness. You’ve heard the saying: In like a lion, out like lamb. For this Ides of March, we’re going in reverse: In like a lamb, out like a lion, with songs that gather steam as they go. Some feature a change-up in tempo; others highlight the gradual layering of vocals, instrumentation and harmony.
► A countdown:
8 • Captain • Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet ► The glory and wonder of the combined talent of this quartet cannot be quantified, and this song especially highlights the group’s individual and collective strengths.
7 • Starla • the Smashing Pumpkins ► You know it’s coming the whole song—the grungy break-out of dirty guitars and reverbed sound—but the first half of the song has this bottled-up atmospheric drive that balances out the unrestrained latter half of the song.
6 • Smoke on the Water • Deep Purple ► Fire in the sky.
5 • Bohemian Rhapsody • Queen ► This rock opera is just all over the place. But it does feature the swell in intensity requisite for this playlist. And, anyway, it’s just fun.
4 • Free Bird • Lynyrd Skynyrd ► What song is it you want to hear? It’s always this rock standard.
3 • Over the Hills and Far Away • Led Zeppelin ► This tune very clearly shows off the incoming of new harmonic layers. And I just love that.
2 • Hey Jude • The Beatles ► Take a sad song and make it better by listening to the way each instrument gradually works its way into the melody and builds the impact of this Beatles classic.
1 • American Pie • Don McLean ► Rock ballad of rock ballads, this iconic track picks it up then pulls it back with instrumentation that matches the song’s story arc. ■
► Bonus Track • Set Fire to the Third Bar • Snow Patrol featuring Martha Wainwright ► This track waxes and wanes until it comes full circle.
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unless otherwise noted * graphics, photographs, text © 2017 hilary hall
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