Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ragged Wood - The Fleet Foxes

I first heard this song on the final episode of season 3 of skins. There is a montage as Cook is being contemplative, or something similar, I dont really remember. Anyway, what really struck me about this song was the beautiful opening chord progression.
There is a lovely sort of Dixieland groove (very similar to Jesusland by Ben Folds) and then the voice starts. The chord is E and then suddenly we get a chord change and the chord change is, rather unexpectedly to Bm., that is minor chord 5! Very pretty.

Like many Fleet Foxes songs, Ragged Wood departs from the normal pop song Verse-Chorus structure and instead is a sort of through composed binary form:

Verse - Chorus - Verse-Chorus then Bridge and then a time signature change into a lovely 3/4 waltz feel for the second half.

Pay Attention to:
- The vocal harmonies. The Fleet Foxes are influenced by Appalachian folk music styles as well as some bluegrass, and this comes through particularly in the vocals. They almost always sing in parallel harmonies and make use of their very high vocal registers.
- That beautiful B minor chord. The lyrics go : 'Come down from the mountain, you have been gone too long. The spring is upon us follow my only (i think..) song' and the word song is when the chord changes. It is just lovely.
-The organ in the waltz section. It is very subtle but the organ sits underneath the rest of the band and really adds to the fullness of the whole sound.

Why you should be listening to this right now:
The Fleet Foxes write songs that have a very strong American Folk element, and they hark to a sort of utopic rural lifestyle in America when everyone wandered around in the snow singing songs and watching as the woman of the woods goes by. They do the vocal harmony thing excellently and the other elements of the musical language are very gracefully done.

This goes well with:
Nice music where the voice is an element and the music is simply put together. Something like Paul Simon's Graceland or the groovier out put of Ani DiFranco would go down a treat.

Also here is the link to the Jesusland, very similar groove.

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