Tunes on Tuesday: This House Is Empty Now

Why this tune?

I read recently that Burt Bacharach released his first new songs in 15 years, a collaboration with the Nashville writer/producer Daniel Tashian. That event reminded me of one of my favorite albums, his project with Elvis Costello, “Painted From Memory” from 1998. If you haven’t heard it yet, please check it out. It’s a superb collection of songs that I go back to often.

Dig this detail!

The song “This House Is Empty Now” includes one of my favorite examples of “prosody,” matching the melody and lyrics of a song to improve the emotional effect. Just reading the lyrics doesn’t do it justice, but I can’t sing it like Elvis Costello does. Listen for the melody on “Does the extinguished candle care,” a rising line that ends at “care,” the emotional peak of the song.

Oh, if I could just become forgetful 
When night seems endless 
Does the extinguished candle care 
About the darkness?

Check it out!

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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