7 tracks that owe their success to the humble ukulele

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.

Billie Eilish Ukulele

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.

Visit Happy Mag to read the full article.

Radi Safi

by Radi Safi

Radi Safi is the Creative Director at IYBI. In 2012 he launched Happy, a music blog and media company.
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