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Friday, March 29, 2013

Modern Minsterls - Fairy Tales in Music

Every now and then, I'll be listening to a song and realize that it has fairy tale themes. Sometimes I'll know that going in, like with The Decemberists "Crane Wife" series of songs, but sometimes I'll already love the song and have learned the lyrics in that not-paying-attention way we do, and then it will hit me - they're playing with a fairy tale. And there are plenty out there that reference fairy tales through the title, even ones you'd never expect (like A Perfect Circle's "Sleeping Beauty" or Nightmare of You's "Thumbelina"...)

Below are some songs that play with fairy tales in a modern way. A few of these are in constant rotation in my iTunes playlists, and some just have pretteh videos

Florence + the Machine "Blinding" - I can't begin to tell you how much I adore Florence. For all the realsies. And loved this song long and hard before I ever stopped to actually listen, and realize that there's all kinds of fairy tale-ness going on in there. 

The Decemberists "The Crane Wife 1 & 2" - Ugh, this album - this album! I go through cycles where I just can't stop listening to it over and over and over and... and I'm in one of those cycles right now. (Thank you, The Office, for having a Shrute family "Sons & Daughters" sing-along. Brought this one back into the rotation.) The Decemberists often play with fairy tale and folklore themes, but I think their take on "The Crane Wife" (from the album of the same name) might be one of my favorite things, ever.  Perfectly told, feelingly sung, nicely folksy and atmospheric. 

The Decemberists "The Crane Wife 3" - See above. =D

Sara Bareilles "Fairytale" - This video is the darling-est.

Paramore "Brick by Boring Brick" - Fairy tales used to explore Paramore-y angst, in a cinematicly gorgeous video.

Keane "The Frog Prince" - Boys singing about fairy tales. =)

Do you have any favorite songs that use fairy tale or folklore themes? Leave me a comment, 'cause you know I want to know about them!

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  1. Sorta Fairy Tale by Tori Amos and White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.

  2. I actually dont know many but I do like Sara Bareilles - Fairytale

  3. I almost included Sorta Fairy Tale, Liz! =)

  4. LOVE The Crane Wife (and Colin Meloy's live album too.) I'll have to think some more about other fairytale-esque albums.

  5. Awesome post! My favorite line from the songs you shared: "I would have cut it myself if I knew men could climb hair." I laughed. :-D And The Decemberists are a particular addiction of mine. I have THE CRANE WIFE. I couldn't avoid buying it. There are just so many interesting stories in their songs. Also, they make lovely use of the accordion.

    As for fairy tale bands I can think of off the top of my head: Rasputina has a song called "Hunter's Kiss" that always made me feel like it was the tragic end to a fairy tale I'd never heard before. And Orion Rigel Dommisse just plain feels like a band built entirely of folklore. I can't explain it, but if you've ever heard their music, you'll totally get it.

  6. I got just about everything else The Decemberists had ever released on the strength of The Crane Wife. I have hardcore love for that album and their storytelling. I really need to pick up Colin Meloy's book, Wildwood, and see how he turns his skills to a full-length story like that.

    I have not even heard of Orion Rigel Dommisse, but will definitely have to check them out! =D

  7. If I recall correctly, Colin Meloy has an MFA in creative writing, and it totally shows. I didn't know he had a book out. I'll have to check it out.

  8. If I recall correctly, Colin Meloy has an MFA in creative writing, and it totally shows. I didn't know he had a book out. I'll have to check it out.

  9. He has a middle grade series, Jodi!

    And thank you, because I am now listening to Orion Rigel Dommisse on youtube, and they are violin heavy and I LOVE VIOLIN. The more gypsy-sounding, the better.

  10. Richard Thompson's "Uninhabited Man" has lots of Goldilocks references--"Who's been sleeping in my bed," etc.

  11. The Green Children! Aside from their videos using fairy tale themes and concepts (and being generally gorgeous), their song "Strange Encounters" literally tells the story of a fairy tale (or is a true story? hrmmmm). :)

  12. Oh, I'll definitely have to look up The Green Children, thanks, Beth!

    Also, how did I forget Tom Waits?

  13. This is an old post, but if you ever see this I would have a listen to Sandy Denny and also Fairport Convention. A lot of their music tells a fairy tale or has elements of one...

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