lyrics

Michael, Ritah, Eugene, Stark, Neel, Phil, and Micah

Stark Naked and the Fleshtones: classic punk rock band

Stark Naked and Eugene Ripper of Stark Naked and the Fleshtones joined us to talk about their heyday in the early 80s as an awesome live band in Toronto.

We talked about:

  • how songs are shaped by band dynamics
  • working with the “right” producer
  • the punk music attitude
  • live vs. recorded music

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Neel, Ritah, Michael, and Phil

Songs without a chorus

This week we talked about songs which have no chorus. First, we had to be clear about what does make a chorus. Then we deep dove on three songs we think don’t have one. What do you think? Leave a comment with your pick for a song without a chorus.

We also talked about:

  • focussed listening to songs
  • our show about Songwriting Apps
  • our other theme shows about song structure, like Bridges and Pre-Choruses
  • the differences between a chorus and a refrain
  • maybe story or lyric-driven songs with lots of words don’t necessarily have a chorus
  • it’s a chorus if people can easily sing along
  • kitchen sink dramas

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Our selections

Download the lyrics:

Underwhelmed

Up the Junction

88 Lines About 44 Women

Gigging on trains with Sarah Hiltz

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Sarah Hiltz is a contemporary folk artist based in Toronto. Her current project has her researching the ways Canadians experience, express and suppress anger in modern society, especially women, and creating a song cycle in response.

Sarah’s last album, Beauty In The Blue, compiled songs and stories culled from her multiple journeys across Canada as a travelling musician on VIARail’s passenger train, “The Canadian”. Beauty in the Blue features lush, nuanced vocals and jazz-influenced songwriting.

Sarah has independently released three full-length albums and two EPs since 2009. Her work over the last decade as a talented singer-songwriter has landed her opening slots for Canadian icons Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Hynes, Top 3 placement in a nation-wide music competition (She’s The One), a Best Folk Album nomination (Toronto Independent Music Awards) and earned her an invitation to give a TEDx talk in 2014.

What we talked about:

Neel, Ritah, Robert, Michael, and Micah

Robert Cross: Leading With Lyrics

This week SongTalk welcomed Robert Cross to our studio.

Robert Cross was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He started playing guitar at 14, just so he could learn how to write songs. Cross is the singer and guitarist of the original rock band Satin, who released their first album Drop Dead Gorgeous in 2019. Cross has branched out into other musical genres as well, having written songs for other southern California acts such as the pop-punk band Aim for the Heart and Country-rock artist David Bucci.

We talked with Robert about:

  • starting a song with the title
  • writing in your car
  • making the most of your “orphans” – leftover song fragments
  • how to communicate your musical ideas to your backing band
  • how the sound of words can lead to creating melodies

https://twitter.com/Satin_band

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV9r0g5z7XBu2OrCqF7taJw

www.instagram.com/satin_sounds/

Neel, Michael, Matt, Vanessa, Phil, and Micah

Rocketman: The Elton John biopic movie review

The Song Talk Radio Team discussed the latest biopic about Elton John in the movie Rocketman. Composer and Second City writer Matthew Reid joined us.

We talked about:

  • The framing of the story around Elton John’s addiction and therapy
  • The depiction of Elton John as a musical child prodigy
  • Similarities and differences between Rocketman and the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which we reviewed in January
  • Taron Egerton, who played the role of Elton John
  • The friendship and collaboration between Elton John and lyricist Bernie Taupin (spoiler alert: this is the best thing about the movie)

Listen to the show:

Michael, Ritah, Robert, Phil, Micah, and Neel

Robert Ball: Giving Voice To The Personal

This week SongTalk welcomed Robert Ball to our studio.

A native Torontonian, Robert Ball is a multi-faceted singer who has traveled to and performed in over 60 countries around the world.
His sound has been described as soulful, jazzy, Neo-soul and he is a much in-demand session singer. Most recently he toured his EP “Need” & single “Breathe” throughout Toronto, New York and many PRIDE circuits including Brooklyn Pride, DC pride and Jamaica Pride. Also making appearances on CTV, CP24, Bold TV, Rogers Nighttime & Daytime on Rogers, Casa Loma “Soul in the City”, Friday Night Live at the ROM.
His new single ‘River (Into You)’ was released last fall and is available everywhere.

 

We talked with Robert about:

  • his sources of inspiration
  • breaking out of typical pop song structures
  • getting the most from producers in the studio
  • how to communicate your musical ideas to your backing band
  • how personal events can shape your songwriting

www.Instagram.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Facebook.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Twitter.com/RobertBallMusic
www.Youtube.com/RobertBallMusic

Vanessa, Micah, Neel, and Phil

Songwriting for Beginners

We talked tips and tricks for beginner songwriters. Our producer Vanessa and techie Micah also joined in the conversation. Some of the stuff we covered included:

  • Our Rocketman movie pre-screening contest
  • How Phil and Neel got started on songwriting, and the challenges they faced
  • Get yourself a decent guitar to start on (or a ukulele!)
  • Basic melody development
  • The benefits of collaboration
  • Writing from a title, or a poem
  • How to take apart your favourite songs
  • How practice makes perfect better
  • How to finish songs
  • Writing a bad first draft, because you won’t be awesome right away
  • Vanessa’s post about stuff she’s learned on the show
  • We won a spot on FeedSpot’s Top 20 Songwriting Podcasts!

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Phil, Michael, Pena, Neel, and Micah

Pena Hughes-John

Visiting from the United Kingdom, Pena Hughes-John joined us with two of her original songs. We talked about:

  • Steampunk as a culture, fashion statement, and musical style
  • Writing songs on the ukulele
  • How many chords is too many?
  • Collaborating with others
  • Writing a song from a writing prompt
  • Using time signature changes to introduce tension
  • Our show all about rhymes with Blair Packham
  • Using reverse vocals in your recordings

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Download the lyrics for:

Back row: Michael, Blair, Linda, Neel, and Phil. Front row: Ritah and Micah

This Is Spinal Tap: 35 Years Later

This week SongTalk Radio has a special episode celebrating the 35th anniversary of the classic film, “This Is Spinal Tap”. And joining us in our trip down memory lane is one of our favourite guests on the show Blair Packham. We talk about where and when we first encountered this classic cult comedy and how true it was to our own experiences in the music business (hint: very!)

On this episode, Neel, Phil, Michael and Blair talk about:

  • how the film was made
  • what has made the movie so popular many decades later
  • our favourite Spinal Tap moments
  • why this early mock-umentary was so influential
Phil, Michael, Patrick, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

Patrick Ballantyne: An album of longing

This week Song Talk welcomed Patrick Ballantyne back to our studio. Patrick is a veteran songwriter and musician who has worked with many top-selling artists such as The Trews, Meredith Shaw and Big Sugar.

On this episode, Patrick brought in a few songs from his upcoming new release so our Song Talk audience got to hear the premieres of two tracks – Vicious in Your Vanity and Beneath Your Skin.

We talked with Patrick about:

  • the origins of the songs on his new album
  • the difficulty of writing lyrics
  • his collaboration with Colin MacDonald from the Trews
  • how to organize songs for an album
  • the way lyrical inspiration changes as the songwriter ages
  • Patrick-Ballantyne-Lyrics
  • Patrick Ballantyne on WikiPedia