sing a song by someone else

Listening to sappy love songs is a great past time of mine. Hearing Boys II Men or Michael Bublé croon out romantic melodies can turn me to mush. I get that twitterpated feeling deep down and sometimes will even shed a tear. Come on, you know you do too.

Because I have a Bachelors of Music, I have been exposed to a lot of different kinds of musics and how they are constructed. Taking a simple love song that has been expertly crafted and deconstructing it to create a new take on the traditional sound is the hardest thing to do as a musician. When listening to covers of famous love songs, you almost have to listen to the song as if it’s new. Comparing it to the original is only going to distract from the beauty of the message and melody.

My favorite example of taking a simple and beautiful love song and giving it a new, modern sound is Ingrid Michaelson’s cover of Elvis Presley’s “Falling in Love With You”

Michaelson took an iconic love song for many couples and colored the score with modern melodic intricacies such as riffs and grace notes. The honesty and simplicity of her piano arrangement resonates with the soul.

Another way to beef up a song to make it stand out from the original is to eliminate all of the musical instruments and going a capella. With the hit show The Sing Off on NBC, vocal only groups are starting to make a comeback. Because there is a lack of instruments (other than the voice of course), the arrangements of these songs are always intricate and personal. Take this mashup of Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours” and the classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” performed by world famous a capella group Straight No Chaser.

Between the harmonies that give me goosebumps and the “strumming” of the “ukelele”, these voices are perfectly mastered to make anyone fall in love and want to dance.

What if playing a sappy and sentimental song isn’t your thing? What about a comedy piece? Everyone knows Adam Sandler in “The Wedding Singer”, but did you know that show was made into a musical? Yup and a pretty good one at that! Remember that scene where Sandler is on the plane and he serenades Drew Berrymore’s character with a heartfelt and quirky love song? Now just add harmonies and Berrymore’s character singing and you have an instant fun yet personal love song.

An honest telling of the little things that will make you fall in love with you partner over and over again. Growing old together is a beautiful thing no matter how unglamorous  it can be to be married.

Since we’re on the topic of musicals, I can’t help but not include an original song. Not original to me, but one that has a beautiful recording and an almost perfect score. Composer and lyricist Adam Guettle wrote a beautiful love story that takes place in Florence called “Light in the Piazza”. To me, “Love to Me” is perfect.

Yes, yes, that is Matthew Morrison (aka Mr. Shu to you Gleeks out there). He plays the part of Fabrizio, a young Italian boy who falls in love with a mentally damaged American girl, Clara. No matter her handicap, Fabrizio loves her and sees love in every aspect of her being. Swoon.

Whether you’re walking down the aisle or pretending to, these four songs are ones that fill me with love and joy. Share them with others and when it comes to finding “your song”, if you don’t have one, don’t worry. If you do, find the best version that you both love. If you have a DJ, make sure they have a recording of the version you love most. If you have a live band, ask specifically to hear them sing that song so you know its going to sound just the way you want it.

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