My Musical Taste – Gospel Beginnings

Mood Music: Closer – The Chainsmokers

It’s Beyday (again)! I’m way too hype to see Beyoncé again. She just puts on an amazing show every single time.

Since I am attending a concert tonight, I thought this would be a great day to launch a new series. I’ve had this idea that it would be interesting to look at what makes me tick musically and see if I can trace it back to any particular childhood experiences or memories.

So for those of you that are new here, I spent the majority of my childhood with just a few restrictions. Basically, I could only listen to Gospel music until I turned twelve. I also was involved in every activity the church offered for children except the step team.

Coordination isn’t really my thing.

Luckily, I grew up in the time where Kirk Franklin, John P. Kee, Kurt Carr, and Sounds of Blackness dominated 103.9 FM (The Light with Melissa Wade in the Water). I fell in love with the big choir sounds, tight harmonies, and increased use of production for gospel songs versus the more classic organ and drums.

Let’s start with this bop from my Junior Choir days. (This song was for tithes and offering.)

tam
This was my JAM! 

Big voices, uplifting message, jazzy synth riff. Just everything!

I want to focus on the section of the song where the choir splits in to the staggered call & response section. It is the best part of the song. It’s also a quick way for me to love a song. For a more low-key version of what I’m talking about, we turn to Plies.

plie
Twinsies!

The intro (Patient, Love, Kind, Love, Sweet, Love…) pulled me immediately when I first got this album. Then you get to the outro where the tenors and altos sing “to love” while the sopranos sing “Patient, patient, love” and it settles into a gorgeous chord. I live for that.

A huge part of the reason Craig David is my favorite artist of all time is because he loves using call and response as well as discordant voices that settle into gorgeous chords.

Let’s turn our attention back to the last video for today.


If you don’t love “Melodies From Heaven,” I’m not sure our friendship can last. It’s perfect. 

The vocal and synth explosion in the chorus after the low-key first verse. Yes.

And the part of the song that everyone loves.

Tenors: RAIN!

Sopranos: RAIIIIN DOWN ON MEEEEE!

Altos: LA-LA-LA-LA LET IT FAAAALL ON MEEEE!

pam

Then you throw in some modulation and I am in HEAVEN. I love key changes (There will definitely be an entire post about this.)

But between the three songs here, I think we have a solid basis for the posts to come. Gospel choirs (especially in the late 80’s and early 90’s) serve as the basis for much of the secular music I love.

The change in production based on more synthetic sounds reflects Gospel music’s tendency to adopt trends slightly after they have passed. My love of the synth in Gospel allows me to love a ton of 80’s music with similar production.

Modulation, call & response, and big vocals will be covered.

What do you all think? I’m excited for this series because I hope to uncover some more about myself through this process.

 

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