An early song of the summer contender:

...the year being 2010, but no matter. Beirut's The Flying Cup Club was given to me by a friend back then, but ersatz French pop with eastern European influences not being my thing, it was passed over for a long time. Then the usual happened: a passing decision to listen to it all the way through when in search for an album, which found the album still a source of confusion but with some positive response. Several songs ended up on the commuting mix, with "Nantes" the clear favorite.

There are two novel and interesting things in the song: first, the vocal lines descend rather than ascend as a general rule, which allows the vocalist to sing in a lower register than the average pop song. This never happens. Even people with good lower voices--Damon Albarn from Blur and Jeff Tweedy from Wilco are the two first examples to spring to mind--tend to sing at the upper end of their register, even if their voices are weaker as a result. It indicates rock 'n' roll, or the extremes of emotion, to be singing at a point one cannot quite sing. Those who have lower voices also tend to avoid using them because the most common uses of those voices are hammy (Jim Morrison) or easily open to parody (Eddie Vedder).  But here, the vocals are strong and clear, and add to both the emotional intensity of the song and the vaguely foreign feel.

Second, there's a clever use of rhythm: the first keyboard line is spare; the second mostly follows it but doubles up the rhythm in one part; when the percussion comes in, it hits triplets in the same place, which gives a very slight polyrhythmic feel to the front half of each measure: a slight alteration that significantly changes how the song is heard.

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