Songs: Getting the Young Ones Involved

Hello all,

One new trend I’ve noticed in alt rock the past few years is the inclusion of many singers, particularly a group of youths, in a quality song. At first, I wasn’t in favor of it as I often am reminded of the gawd-awful songs I had to sing as a youngster in music class. Rather than listen it closely, I felt all of those crappy memories of singing about who knows what…(I can’t even remember, uh…Christmas elves or something probably) coming back to me and that made me quickly turn the radio dial. But despite my original prognosis, you CAN combine quality, alternative music with a group of young singers to make something pretty special. I notice it’s usually a group, almost never do you hear a solo youth artist. And that ‘s probably a good thing because I’ve seen that before and know what evil can come of that…


Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little…Okay, moving on, these next three songs help illustrate my point. The first is one that came out a few years ago. Maybe you’ve already heard it before, but if you haven’t (better yet, if you’re totally new to this artist), you’re in for a treat. The song is “Little Secrets” of off their album Manners. They utilize children doing backing vocals in many of their songs, most notably the popular track “The Reeling” or the more recent “Carried Away”

The song starts out sounding like a video game and has many other sounds throughout that sound like something you’d hear from your Super Nintendo. How the singer manages to sing as high as he does, I have no idea. I can’t imagine how he could do more than one or two shows a week with that style….which is a combination of high AND loud for most of the track. All that said, it is his voice and everything else unique that Passion Pit has done that has drawn my interest. “Little Secrets” features the young ones doing backing vocals during the chorus. They chant “higher and higher and higher.” What do they mean by it? I’m not sure, hopefully it’s something innocent like climbing higher and higher up the jungle gym. That’s probably wishful thinking; considering when I look at the lyrics, drugs appear to be what the singer is referring to. Many key words including the song’s title lead me to this conclusion. Maybe I’m wrong, though. Either way, it’s a hell of a catchy tune.

The next track here is from a group simply named Cults (not to be confused with THE Cult, who had a groovy tune called “She Sells Sanctuary” back in the 80’s). They are still relatively unknown and I, myself, haven’t heard anything from them since their debut self-titled album that was released in 2011. The album was a stellar effort and I implore you to listen to the opening track “Abducted.” That song is not the focus here, however. I’m somewhat cheating with this one as I do not believe Cults uses any vocalists other than the two band members Madeline Follin and Brad Oblivion. After you listen to a few of their songs, you’ll most likely agree with me that Madeline’s voice sounds a lot younger than she actually is. If you’ve never seen her singing, you might mistake her for a teenage girl or something. Maybe it’s just her style; many vocalists have singing voices that are vastly different than how they sound when they talk. Rush’s Geddy Lee is a good example of this (thanks Pavement). You combine it with the dubbing of her voice during the chorus to make it sound like a small ensemble performing, and you get that specific sound that is the reason I classified this song in this category.   “Oh My God” is the track I’m showcasing here. It’s somewhat unusual in that beat if very uplifting but the lyrics are not. Regardless of the mostly pessimistic message I get from the lyrics, I usually feel good after listening to this song.

Youngblood Hawke is a group that, how do you say…I don’t really like. I listened to a few of their songs and don’t really dig the overall mood of most of their productions. It seems a little too overblown and artificial sounding. Despite this, they have created a song I’ve come to like tremendously. I didn’t like it instantly, but after a few listens with the good headphones, I recognized it for what a great song it really is. The band features a lot of youngsters in it for multiple parts of the song. They’re mainly included in the chorus and the post-chorus “Whoa’s” (@2:16) that I think it the best part of the song overall.The lead singers voice isn’t strong in my opinion so it’s the kids vocals that make the song for me. The effort by the entire group is very solid overall and they wrap up the song very nicely with the final chorus sing little musical accompaniment. See what you think and leave your comments on one or all of the tracks…

Okay, from the top everyone. And this time, let’s try not sounding like a complete and utter disgrace.