The ukulele. Yes, if you grew up on an exclusive diet of upbeat television commercials, you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone gets assigned a uke at birth. They can, however, play a much more nuanced role in a rock or pop song and be key in adding a sparkling, yet soft-edged brightness to an arrangement.
Here are 7 tracks that celebrate the humble ukulele, with its ability to imbue a track with energy, create a subversive layer of sadness and maintain its essential character through a variety of eccentric treatments.
The ukulele is often a child’s first instrument and is rarely accorded the respect that it deserves. Here are 7 tracks that celebrate the instrument and owe their success to the uke.
Absolutely Cuckoo – The Magnetic Fields
Stephin Merritt, aka The Magnetic Fields is famous for his smooth baritone croon. He often juxtaposes that rich and resonant vocal against a backing of ukulele to glorious effect. Exhibit A: the opening track from 69 Love Songs, Absolutely Cuckoo.
Listening to the track in headphones reveals the rhythmic interplay between the left and right-hand sides of the stereo spectrum. Layering the uke in this way lends power to the otherwise tiny sound of the diminutive instrument, enveloping the listener in silky strums.
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