True Track 18: “How Much a Dollar Cost” by Kendrick Lamar

Usually, people might think that rap music is related to violence, a life of excess, and self-boasting. However, Kendrick Lamar defies these stereotypes by making several songs related to positive social change, self-love, and real-life experiences that many people have faced. “How Much A Dollar Cost” was chosen by President Obama as his favorite song of 2015. In this song, Kendrick Lamar raps about his interaction with a homeless man. The instrumentation consists of a string section, which is rarely used in rap music, and makes it unique. The percussion used an off-beat rythmic pattern. The percussion instruments have a heavy amount of reverb, and accompanied with the piano chords,the music feels very laid-back, and waves over you. There are several artists who lent their voice to this track. The singers James Fauntleroy and Ronald Isley represent the voice of God. It’s a lot to take in at first, but help yourself and listen to it several times to truly appreciate the genius here.

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True Track 17 : “The Sound of Music” performed by Lady Gaga

The lilting voice of Julie Andrews in the film “Sound of Music” has been a fond childhood memory for many people. This classic film is so popular in America that it is a tradition to watch the movie during the holiday season. In this cover performed at the Oscar awards, Lady Gaga, a singer known for her popular dance music, revealed a smoother and elegant side of her voice. She performs a mash-up of several popular tracks in the movie. Lady Gaga showed the world her versatility through her exceptional execution of this track. And that never fails to amaze me.

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True Track 16: “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong

This track is one of the few pieces I’ve heard that has an optimism about the future, a future with something to look forward to. Louis Armstrong is a well-known musician, who started as a trumpeter, and made some great music with his raspy,deep voice. The song uses jazz chord progressions, trumpets, and soul-stirring strings that enhance the impact of the lyrics . The beauty of this song is that it has succeeded in standing the test of time, and still gives people hope. And that is truly the mark of a great song.

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True Track 15: “Here comes the Sun” by The Beatles

The original song was written by George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the Beatles in 1969, and released on the album Abbey Road. Indian tablas were used to add a mystical auditory experience! Coupled with the off-beat chorus lyrics, this track has proven to be unique. The cover posted here is one of a whole collection of Beatles songs recorded by the Brazilian Tropical Orchestra( Check out the album The Beatles in Bossa Nova). This version is sure to make anyone get into a better mood.Enjoy!

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True track 14: “The Ecstasy of Gold” by Ennio Morricone

This song was part of the soundtrack to a famous American Western movie “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. This song is special because Ennio adds unexpected twists in the melody and sudden changes in loudness, which reflects the suspense and tension in the gunfight scene in the movie. The composer, Ennio Morricone, used his Italian style of music in a large number of American Westerns, and has become intimately tied to the American Cowboy culture.
Check out the live performance, and don’t be surprised if you get goosebumps!

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True Track 13: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Orla Fallon

With the Christmas spirit in the air, I thought it be fitting that I post this song. Orla Fallon performs “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” with a twist. She uses fiddles,  flutes, and a drum(specifically known as Bodhran) to introduce a theme reminiscent of a Celtic folk song. There is some great instrumentation towards the end of this piece.

Have a great time listening to this. And wish you happy holidays!

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True Track 12: “Volare” by Domenico Modugno

This Italian song is the first non-English song to have received a Grammy award in 1959. This song is written by both composer Franco Migliacci and performer Domenico Modugno. The Italian word Volare means “To Fly” in English. Indeed, the music makes you feel like you are floating, light, and happy.The lyrics are catchy, and I found myself humming the tune for about two days.

This song has been remade countless times by great musicians such as Dean Martin, Pavarotti, and Louis Armstrong. Here’s a video of a remake that is radically different from the original,performed by Gypsy Kings, which highlights this song’s versatility:

Have a lighthearted day!

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