Sunday, May 14, 2017

Songs From Movies About Musicians/ Gold: Golden Slumbers/ The End

k d lang: Golden Slumbers/ The End


Are tap dancers musicians? Because, if they aren’t, making this a transition song from our Songs From Movies About Musicians theme is admittedly a stretch. The main character is a penguin from a group who are great singers, but he can not sing. Instead, his talent is tap dancing, and the movie is about him proving his value to a culture that initially rejects him. Themewise, it only makes matters worse when you know that the song Golden Slumbers/ The End was later used in a movie that definitely would fit both themes: last year’s Sing. There are two reasons why I didn’t want to use Jennifer Hudson’s version from that film: the movie and recording are too new; and k d lang’s version from Happy Feet is just so much better.

Golden Slumbers/ The End is a song that invites overblown bombastic treatments. It is all too tempting to give the song a big production, and have everything crescendo to a big finish. k d lang and producer T-Bone Burnette know better. They understand the power of subtlety here, and they know they have the singer to pull it off. So lang is backed here by piano and the percussion of Medeski, Martin, and Wood, plus very light orchestration and stand-up bass. Burnette trusts his singer to do the rest, and she does, beautifully.

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