In my last post, I complained about the quality of many popular songs, arguing that many are aimed at teenagers – and increasingly written by people who have only the vaguest sense of how to write a melody and harmonize it. Here are two examples of very sensitive ballads which I came across recently. Though they were not composed very recently, they are not of the “Great American Songbook,” either.
The first is by the Canadian Leonard Cohen. I cannot speak to his other songs but this one, “Dance Me to the End of Love” was written in 1984 and is performed by Madeleine Peyroux who is about 40 years old. She is often identified as a jazz musician, but I think she has more of a folk feel. In the ideal world, in my opinion, she would be singing songs in the Mainstream Top 10 and not Katy Perry.
The second song, “Ne me quitte pas” was written in 1959 by the Dutch composer Jacques Brel and is performed here by Barbara Steisand in English and the original French.