I’m totally going to put this one out there without too much thought. I was driving home and two of the following list came on shuffle and I decided I would tell you all my top seven uses of harmony/backing vocals. Odds are I’ve forgotten something crucial, but the internet’s such a transient place that I don’t suppose it will matter. Today’s top seven lists are tomorrow’s discarded clickbait. Not that this place is very good at being clickbait, but you know what I mean.
(By the way, I know seven is trendy and only for clickbait, and I was originally going to do five. But then it turned into six. And then seven. That’s the way it goes folks. Sometimes I’m accidentally trendy. But never accidentally clickbait. Or deliberately.)
Anyway, there’s not much I do that isn’t harmony/backing vocal ridden. With Roo’s Radio in particular we’re all about the vocal layers. So here’s my favourite harmony/backing vocal moments in history. As ever, in no particular order.
Ben Folds – Fred Jones, Part 2
This is a gorgeous song, whichever way you cut it, but when John McRae (from Cake, y’all) kicks in with his harmony I fall over. Metaphorically.
Radiohead – Black Star
Another beautiful song, with very few backing vocals actually (just the barely audible chorus one). Then in the 3rd verse the electric guitars depart leaving just bass, drums and vocals and out of nowhere this incredible harmony pops up and floors you. I realise this is another way of saying “I fall over”. And the harmony starts on the line “I keep falling over”. See how well I plan this shit?
Nitin Sawhney – Say Hello
Good grief I love this song. Honestly I just want to tumble into this song and float away. Then at the end you get the chorus with its multi part vocal AND this guy singing in Indian (?) comes in and then the song wins at everything.
Five Iron Frenzy – On Distant Shores
Dennis Culp is a harmony genius. If you need proof, listen to the chorus of On Distant Shores. I love this song anyway, but I have to loop the chorus (since it only happens the two times) as the backing vocal is so stunningly creative. Zoinks!
3dBs Down – (pretty much any of them)
Speaking of Zoinks, I couldn’t talk harmonies without mentioning the dBs. That I’m in a band with three lead singers is almost entirely down to them. And their arrangements are fantastic fun, very creative and so full of energy that I don’t want to fall over. I’m struggling to narrow this down, but let’s go for Quick Fix, Greatest Day or Fish Hook as prime examples. Well, if you’re going to push me, let’s go for the chorus after the solo in Fish Hook where the instruments cut out and all three vocals collide splendidly over a big fat pick scrape.
Poor Old Lu – Slow
I just love Aaron Sprinkle’s backing vocal part that comes in at the end here. So much so that I think I partly stole it for the end of Dream Again. Oops. That’s all I really have to say about that.
Imogen Heap – Hide & Seek
This song is basically all harmony. It’s lovely. My favourite part? “Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth”. Amazing.
Ok I’m all done. Did I get it wrong? Think I’m an idiot with an idiot coating? Got better suggestions? Better start a blog of your own because I turned off comments. Shazam!
Oh, also, I’m not linking you to youtube videos of these. I don’t have time. If you care, you know how search engines work. I’m a giver.