Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One Hit Wonder: Luka

Recently, while loading a few songs into my Mp3 Player, I came across some older Mp3's that I had saved to a disc some years ago. I recognized most of the songs as “one hit wonders” that I had downloaded from God knows where!

Being that I am more of a “Song” guy, than a “Band” guy, I find myself having collected quite a few stand alone songs, that were popular briefly, then died as a result of the band or singer simply not producing any more “hits”! I threw a few of these songs on my Mp3 Player and had a listen during a recent workout. Besides bringing back some memories and transporting me back to a different time and place, they still sounded good to me!

There are certain “attributes” in songs that generally reel me in: First, if there are violins playing a supporting role and providing a backdrop or significant accompaniment to the song, well, I like that. It is a very common thread to many of the songs I like. Second, if there are good lyrics, that tell a story by way of a Ballad, again, I am drawn to it. Third, for some reason...I find it interesting or unique when the annunciation of a word or words is either done with an accent, or an unusual tone or even an unorthodox slang or slant. Not the whole song mind you, but just the subtlety of a small part of the song or a word or two. This last one is hard to explain, but easy to hear in some of the songs I like.

I have decided to do a “One Hit Wonder Of The Week” kind of thing and will be posting either a YouTube viewable version, or an Mp3 version of one song each week, from my “Play list” so to speak!

Fist up will be a song that was an international hit for a “Folksy Singer” by the name of Susanne Vega. She had two relatively solid hits. The first was a song about a Diner ("Toms Diner" or something like that) ..and that Diner...which was a real place, was later featured in the Hit Comedy Series, “Seinfeld”. (The one they always go to) Yep, Same Diner.

The second hit for her was a song titled simply, “Luka”. It was a rather sad song that told the story of a young boy that lived with abuse. Not a popular subject for a song, but a powerful message and an equally well put together melody etc.  She wrote the song about a real boy that she met named Luka, though she said he was not an abused kid, but rather "just different" than the group of kids she had seen him playing with.
I remember first hearing the song while I was living in Germany, a lifetime ago:)  I immediately liked the song, as did most of the younger Germans, as it got tons of airplay on the Berlin radio station I listened to!

What I like about the song most is the sharp, clear and strong presence of the 12 string guitar throughout the song, the driving drum beat and cymbal strikes, the almost xylophone sounding synth, Susanne's own haunting overdubbed harmony and her unique voice and annunciation. When she says the word “trouble” for instance, she says it in a most unusual and emphasizing way. She really sells the song. If you have never heard it, I hope you enjoy it. For those of you that know the tune, welcome back to the 1980's!!

Click the link below.