Tuesday, June 28, 2016

“You Can’t Help Who You Love” by Ruth Theodore – A Song Review

     Ruth Theodore is the modern day Melanie, who performed at the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969. Melanie (Melanie Safka-Schekeryk, now 69) wrote poetic lyrics for songs with a greater complexity that was readily apparent, and sang the songs with a child-like vulnerability. Melanie is probably best known for “Brand New Key,” a sexually charged song during a time when it was wise to mask sexual messages. An even better representation of Melanie’s insightful lyrics is “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma,” a song about the difficult relationships between artists and their recording labels.

     Ruth Theodore's recent release is “You Can’t Help Who You Love.” The song is a statement about a person’s lack of control over attraction to another. The changes of tempo are impactful in their ability to carry the emotion. For example, at the 4:02 mark, the instrumental support is nearly non-existent when the tempo slows and the lyrics paint their picture. 
     The Bandcamp site of "You Can’t Help Who You Love” identifies the contributors as Ruth Theodore (guitar, vocals), Todd Sickafoose (double bass), Mathias Kunzli (drums and percussion), Tony Glausi (trumpet), Mike Gamble (electric guitar), and Wayne Thompson, Jigh Ejakpovi and Neil Thurston (backing vocals). The site also states, “’You Can't Help Who You Love’ is the first single release from 'Cactacus,' the anticipated fourth record from British musician Ruth Theodore. Recorded in Oregon, USA with renowned producer Todd Sickafoose (Anais Mitchell/Ani Difranco)."

     “You Can’t Help Who You Love” by Ruth Theodore

     "What Have They Done To My Song, Ma" by Melanie (reverb enhanced)

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