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Unmistakeable Song Writers

   Discussion: Unmistakeable Song Writers
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 17 years, 8 months ago
There are some songwriters whose style is so distinctive that you can recognize their work immediately. If it sounds like the songwriter is is either by him or her or by somebody deliberately trying to sound like them. Which songwriters do you think are in that class? Remember I'm talking about songwriting here, not singing style, arrangements, or harmonies. I'll nominate a few;
  • John Linnell from They Might Be Giants
  • Dave Cantor from Dave's True Story
  • Jill Sobule
A girl named Becca Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
Pardon my ignorance, please, but what counts as part of songwriting? Does instrumentation count and not harmonies? Or is it just lyrics and melody?
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
Generally instrumentation would be considered part of the arranging, not song writing. The same would go to the specific harmonies though of course the chords are part of the song.

When you hear a Nields song you know it is them immediately from the sound. If someone different performed it, it would not be instantly recognizable. on the other hand You'd know a Linnell song no matter who was performing it.

Now somebody who actually knows something can give the real answer.
Josh Woodward Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
I dunno, I'd count harmonies in with the core song. And sometimes instrumentation and arrangement, but mainly just for genres like hip-hop and electronica, where the arrangement sometimes is the song. But I'm guessing we're talking more about more traditional music here, so I'll chime in with Joanna Newsom. Even if you strip away the harp and the child-like voice, she definitely has an unmistakable style. Ditto the Decemberists; the lyrics alone would give them away. Nobody is writing anything remotely like they do.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
Well accept for Carbon Leaf. [hides]
Josh Woodward Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
Paul Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
Andy Lang
Rimbo · 17 years, 8 months ago
It's obvious that Bob's voice is unmistakable, but I would argue that his lyrics are pretty unique.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
I disagree. Dylan is THE greatest songwriter but look how many people were called the "New Dylan." His most distinctive songs are from the Other side to Blonde period. They are heavily influenced by Alan Ginsberg. Ginsberg actually wrote and performed some songs and if you heard someone else singing them you'd guess they were by Dylan.
Rimbo Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
Curse you and your wisdom!!!
K. D. Lurker · 17 years, 8 months ago
Jim Steinman, the man who made Meat Loaf...I remember making that relevation after seeing Streets of Fire.
Brian Dinsky · 17 years, 8 months ago
I hereby nominate Jian.

/me runs.
Will work for anime · 17 years, 8 months ago
Richard's vote is for Elvis Costello
I think U2 would fit in this catagory too.....and perhaps "the poet of New York" Lou Reed, but I'm not familiar with enough of his work to be certain.
Josh Woodward Back · 17 years, 8 months ago
I'd say that both Elvis and U2 are only unique if you count voices. And instrumentation; the Edge's delayed guitar sound is enough to give it away right there, and Elvis' early use of organs were fairly distinctive. Both are damn good songwriters, but covers of their songs tend to lack any sort of distinctiveness. Probably because both of them do such an amazing job of selling their own songs through their performances.
The Complete Mr Chaplin · 17 years, 8 months ago
Burt Bacharach has a very distinctive style, although it has been much copied, you can spot his songs a mile off.

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