There’s something about a spoken word track that hits you in a way that you don’t expect. Their contrast of speech with melody is attention grabbing when one is expecting the two to compliment and flow with each other. That’s not to say spoken word tracks are not melodic, quite the opposite in fact, but maybe just not in unison with the accompanying music. Others choose to have no accompanying music at all, as the music is the inflections, pauses and emphases in the speech itself.
If you’ve never heard some good spoken word tracks here’s a few to get your head around-
Lenny Bruce – Psychopathia Sexualis
A spoken word track which defines itself in the first few seconds as “Poetry and Jazz”. Bruce regales us with a tragic love story between himself and a horse. Funny and clever, especially the line “My family hit the roof, when I bought a ring to fit her hoof”. The track is zany and the jazz works well to convey the mood as such.
BP Fallon – Fame #9
All roads in rock and roll lead to BP Fallon. Never a truer word spoken. In this spoken word track BP reflects on the fickleness and sometimes hollowness of what everyone thinks they desire “fame & fortune”. BP paints some brilliant pictures including “the memphis mafia falling all over each other” and that the King could still be alive today if someone had only told him “Elvis, I love you, you’re a bit fat. Have an apple.”
David Shrigley – The Jist
Featured as a B-side to the Flaming Lips “Late Night Tales” 45. Shrigley an exceptionally talented artist, sculptor and film director, talks to us about the “Jist” or the “essence of doing” accompanied by a repetitive groaning, with great lines like “it is not in the bane for blood, but in the quality of the bane” “it is not in the threshing machine, it is in how much your workers fear the threshing machine” and “it is not in the devil you know, it is in the devil you do not now”.
The Dead Weather – Old Mary
Another B-side featured on the Die by the Drop 45 from Third Man Records. Jack re-appropriates the words every catholic school boy was taught reciting “Old Mary, Full of Grief. Your heart stops within you. Scary are the fruits of your tomb and harsh are the terms of your sentence. Old Mary, sister of mine, mother to the world. Carry this burden now and until the moment of your last breath.” The track remains it’s sombre feeling with piano and acoustic guitar before descending into an organ and drum rock-out repeating the line “now and until the moment of your last breath”.
Baz Luhrman – Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen
A track that needs no introduction. A 7minutes of a man’s meaningful diatribe on life. Advice and truisms that we should all take on board. “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours”, “Keep old love letters, throw away old bank statements” and “Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good” are all perfect idioms to live your life by.