Latest News: Raging Strings

Raging Strings: Madonna vs. Britney Spears

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Thanks for everyone who voted! Congrats to Erika - you will be gifted a tune from VSQ!    [Welcome back to VSQ's series, "Raging Strings," where we highlight two rock songs which include strings, and ask you to vote for your favorite.] With more than 400 million records combined sold worldwide, there is no doubt that Madonna and Britney Spears are two household names when it comes to popular music. But they've both topped the music charts with some help from producers who knew the dynamics of a song could be heightened by at least one thing: strings. One of Madonna's biggest hits was "Take a Bow" off of the album Bedtime Stories. Co-produced with R&B singer-songwriter Babyface, it was her last number-one in theU.S. in the 1990s. The song’s story of being taken for granted by a lover is beautifully illustrated as a lush pop ballad, featuring Shakespearean references, Oriental pentatonics and poignant strings to give the lament a theatrical effect akin to Chinese and Japanese operas. Britney Spears, whose career took off in the late ‘90s, impressed pop critics in 2004 with “Toxic.” Headed by production duo Bloodshy & Avant, “Toxic” was the second single off In the Zone. Spears singled out the track as a potential hit because of its unusual but infectious combination of electropop and bhangra music, featuring shimmering, energetic Bollywood strings and a sample of “Tere Mere Beech Mein,” from the Hindi film Ek Duje ke Liye. Both songs implemented strings for a dramatic effect, but which one do you enjoy more? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Britney Spears, "Toxic"

Madonna, "Take a Bow"

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Raging Strings: Yellowcard vs. All American Rejects

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   .   [Welcome back to VSQ's series, "Raging Strings," where we highlight two rock songs which include strings, and ask you to vote for your favorite.] Anyone a fan of Yellowcard or The All-American Rejects? Both bands’ popularity surged in the early 2000s with their pop-rock anthems, and they’re still going strong today. Yellowcard released their album Southern Air this year, but who can forget their first big hit, “Ocean Avenue?” The single is a spirited tribute to their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. The band’s violinist Sean Mackin plays a big part in giving the song its effervescent texture, as his animated violin riffs highlight the upbeat melodies of this feel-good anthem. The All-American Rejects also released a new album this year, Kids in the Street.  Kids’ new-found simplicity is a big departure from past hits like 2002’s “The Last Song,” which features an extended breakdown of lush, distorted strings that keeps the record dancing between classical and rock. Strings are a big part of each of these songs, but which song do you enjoy more? Leave a comment below and let us know!  

Yellowcard, "Ocean Avenue"

 

The All-American Rejects, "The Last Song"

A fan of both bands? Check out our String Quartet to Yellowcard and check out VSQ's Strung Out, Vol. 10, which includes The All-American Rejects' "Gives You Hell:"

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Raging Strings: Vampire Weekend vs. Sufjan Stevens

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  [Welcome back to VSQ's  series, "Raging Strings," where we highlight two rock songs which include strings, and ask you to vote for your favorite.] When Vampire Weekend first broke out onto the music scene with their self-titled debut, critics praised the quartet for their refreshing take on rock music with afro-pop influences.  The New York City indie-pop band used a variety of instruments, including strings, and spawned hits like "A-Punk" and "Oxford Comma." Their song "M79," in particular uses strings in a buoyant manner. Sufjan Stevens, another favorite in the indie music scene, is known for his lush orchestrations about different locales. Although he never finished his 50 states project, songs like "Chicago" off of his "Illinois" album garnered much acclaim. As Stevens sings about the ups and downs of his life with lyrics like "All things go / I made a lot of mistakes," the strings soar and dive accordingly in the arrangement. Let us know which is your favorite by leaving a comment below!

Vampire Weekend, "M79"

Sufjan Stevens, "Chicago"

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Raging Strings: The Verve vs. Smashing Pumpkins

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[Welcome to a new series on the VSQ Blog called "Raging Strings." Each week, we'll highlight two pop and/or rock songs which include strings, and we'll ask you to vote for your favorite.] The Verve had their '90s hit with "Bittersweet Symphony" and one of many Smashing Pumpkins' hits during that era included "Tonight, Tonight." Strings are crucial to each song, but which song uses strings better? Let us know below and leave a comment telling us why you prefer one over the other.

The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"

Smashing Pumpkins, "Tonight, Tonight"

Did you side with Billy Corgan? Check out the VSQ's tribute to Smashing Pumpkins:

Available now at VSQ's online shop, iTunes and Amazon

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Raging Strings: The Beatles vs. Oasis

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[Welcome to the new weekly series on the VSQ Blog called "Raging Strings." Each week, we'll highlight two pop and/or rock songs which include strings, and we'll ask you to vote for your favorite.] It seems like people are split down the middle when it comes to being fans of The Beatles or Oasis, but no one can deny that both bands have written some of pop's greatest songs. Granted, the Beatles may have a larger catalog than Oasis, but they've both put out great arrangements that have included strings. Oasis prominently features strings (the London Philharmonic Orchestra, to be specific) in their song "Whatever," and the Beatles did a remarkable job incorporating strings within the famous "Eleanor Rigby." Take a listen to both songs below and let us know which one you prefer. Then tell us why by leaving a comment below.

Oasis, "Whatever"

The Beatles, "Eleanor Rigby"

If you're a fan of either band, check out these VSQ releases:

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