Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sounding Feminine

I haven't been able to listen to very much music this week, but one song did manage to catch my ear. The song in question, "Just Say When" by Kate Micucci, was featured on the web series Anyone But Me (which is also very, very good, by the way!)

Kate seems to mostly be a variety act sort of musician (judging from youtube, at least!) - she sings songs to go along with a comic act, but "Just Say When" is a song of an altogether different sort:

(You can listen to "Just Say When" on Kate's myspace page)

We could be
Better than we were
If you could only see
I'm different than before
Best believe that I will never knock upon your door
But than... again, you just say when

A first, I thought, Isn't it a little sentimental? Isn't her singing rather weak? Isn't this song just a bit boring?

But after a few seconds, I didn't agree with any of those anymore!

"Just Say When" is, more than anything else, about uncertainty. And while many singers would sing such an emotional song with, well, strong emotion, Kate does the opposite. The dynamic level (loudness) stays nearly the same throughout the entire song. Her voice cracks on the high notes, and waivers on the low notes. It is soft, truthful, not overtly confident, slightly vulnerable. At the risk of invoking a stereotype, the song is exquisitely feminine.

And yet, she doesn't sound weak; doesn't sound helpless. She doesn't need someone to come along and clear up her uncertainty, make her feel safe. She's simply telling us how life is and how she feels:

I'll be fine
Two feet on the ground
But no one knows when no one is around

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