Thursday, August 10, 2017

“Junk” by Vivienne Chi – A Song Review

     Our love for quirky percussion dates back to the introduction to the Flying Lizards’ cover of “Money.” The Flying Lizards used a “prepared piano” that included the London telephone book, an ashtray and other odd items resting on the piano strings. The piano took on aspects of the banjo. They also used a typewriter and a clattering snare (yes, a cluttered piano and a clattering drum).

     Near the start of the video for “Money,” a member of the Flying Lizards is shown using kitchen items (including a kettle) to provide the percussion. While it isn’t an accurate representative, it does provide a segue to “Junk” by Vivienne Chi. “Junk” does sound as if kitchen utensils were used. It’s both quirky and genius. It’s genius because the sound is first heard at the 0:46 mark, when Vivienne is asking what is hiding in your junkyard, a good place to find old kettles. And it’s genius because the sound of the kitchen kettles follows percussion that has the deep resonance of an orchestral kettle drum (aka timpani).

     A major difference between the two songs is that while “Money” uses spoken word vocalization, “Junk” is vocally lush, textured and varied. The lyrics are sometimes whispered and other times forcefully asserted. Vivienne explains that her song was inspired by a homeless person, who is always smiling and carrying herself well. “Junk” ponders who is free. “Maybe we’re missing something.

     Vivienne Chi has relocated to London after living in Bristol and in Spain.  
     "Junk” by Vivienne Chi – A Song Review


     “Money” by The Flying Lizards 

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