W.I.L.T. – Patrick Watson

“What I’m listening to” is a weekly series of music that reigns at the top of my personal playlist. Music that I think is cool and deserves a mention and some extra attention.
This week: Patrick Watson.

As you know by now, it’s not all piano-only tracks I’m listening to. It’s really just about the whole atmosphere, the songwriting skills, the production, the vocals, the arrangement etc. Good music, to my taste. Whether or not there has to be some form of main role for a type of keyboard in there really depends on the wise decision of the producer. Sometimes it isn’t necessary at all, or -dare I say it- even better to leave it out.

In this weeks beautiful “Big Bird in A Small Cage”, written by singer-songwriter/pop-pianist Patrick Watson however, that’s not the case since there is in fact a beautiful piano track, weaved through the maze of other awesome instrumental parts. Very subtle. Organic. Awesome.
Be sure to check out how Patrick handles our beloved instrument live too (second video). Magic. 

My good friend Maarten, a super talented bass-guitar player with whom I’ve played and performed in multiple bands, had already pointed me out to this song quite a while ago actually -like he tends to do often, point out good music to me-. Back then, since it wasn’t the only good “new” track of the night, it didn’t get any further than stranding on the “music to check out later note” in my phone to which I hadn’t really gotten until recently. I do remember however, that ever since the very first listen, that haunting finger-picked guitar intro -especially when getting to that third chord, wow what an awesome harmonic change!- I’ve felt this song was something special.

So last Thursday was “date-day” for me and my girl and after enjoying a beautiful, clear blue day in the “Hortus Botanicus” (we’re both suckers for beautiful nature, so I figured a city escape to some tropical plants and gardens might be a fun idea for a date. Indeed she liked it 🙂 as did I), obviously we had to watch a movie. Honestly, I don’t even remember the name of this film for it didn’t impress me a whole lot, however, when in one scene Harry Potter (not actually Harry Potter, but this dude that plays Harry Potter. The ACTUAL Harry Potter) sat on a roof contemplating his broken heart and this song started playing, I rose up and my attention was back.

Maybe because it was a nice pick of the director/movie scorer for the vibe of that particular scene, maybe because the song had already gotten to me on a first spin, I don’t know, but I had to put it directly into my playlist.

Apart from the before mentioned awesome harmonic change, introduced first by the piano + the finger picked guitar, what I particularly like about this song is both the fact of its “growth”, introduced quite quick by the second female vocal and transferring even to a whole choir singing a -yet again- haunting melody, and the fact that many of the musical themes “run over” the “regular” rhythmical boundaries of the measures.

I could do a real in-depth dive here into what happens where and why it’s so cool, but apart from it becoming a really long story, I also feel that it’s just best to take a real good listen or two (or twenty) and see if you agree and hear what I mean by what I’ve written above.

Also, a new thought that I had which I think it might be really cool is to start “analyzing” (don’t be afraid, nothing is wrong here, just give your opinion and describe what you hear and why you do or don’t like it) the song with all of us here in the comments, so we can form a musical analyzation with all of us together and talk about it.

This would both be a really good exercise for your ears -really listening in an ‘analytic’ way to the song; take note what it will do to your opinion of the song too-, and we’d probably get to totally different things when crowd-analyzing in a conversation like that! Isn’t that cool?

If you don’t feel like joining in the conversation for this particular song because it’s not your cup of tea, please take a look at other W.I.L.T. posts and share your thoughts on another one that you do like!

Also, as I always like to discover and be pointed to good muisc, please let us know What YOU’re Listening Too this week. You might inspire me for a new addition to my playlist or even a next post.

So I’d love for you to share in the comments:

  1. Do you or don’t you like this song? If yes, go to 2. If no, please pick another WILT post.
  2. What in particular is it that you like about it?
  3. What (an instrumental part, a change, a rhythm, an arrangement, a melody, whatever!) stands out to you, that you think others might miss?
  4. What are you listening to this week? (Name the top track on your playlist, or “favorite song of the moment”).

For now enjoy What I’m Listening Too this week: Patrick Watsons “Big Bird In A Small Cage”.

Cheers, Coen.

Original Version.

Awesome Live Version.

About Coen

Founder of Piano Couture, Piano Lingo and creator of the Hack the Piano method. Coen is a musician, reader, writer, web-designer, eater and traveler. Find him at CoenModder.com

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