Morgan Freeman recites Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself

Morgan Freeman recites Justin Bieber

March 4, 2016 | Posted in song meaning | By

Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” gets a theatrical treatment

I remember a TV presenter in the fifties getting lots of laughs by reading out the words to Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop A Lula” like a poem. Morgan Freeman went for the same effect recently, when the American magazine Vanity Fair asked him to recite the lyrics to Justin Bieber‘s “Love Yourself”.

Justin Bieber's Love YourselfThe lovely baritone-voiced actor couldn’t resist throwing in a few eye-rolls and wry smiles along the way. Overall, yes the song comes across as very lightweight – but not as dotty as be “Bop A Lula”! Bieber himself seemed to at least tacitly approve, as he retweeted an item from Billboard about it. And why not? I’d be flattered, even if Freeman did not seem knocked out by the words. This is pop music, after all. A more interesting question would be what song would Freeman like to recite.

In related news, “Love Yourself” has gone double platinum in the UK. It looks as though this will be Bieber’s biggest hit ever.



Is Adele’s “Hello” actually a love song?

Adele singing Hello

October 27, 2015 | Posted in news, song meaning | By


What makes us think “Hello” is a love song?

Adele has made a sensational return to the charts with the single “Hello”. It has all the hallmarks of her best music: a  restrained backing track, an orchestral feel at the right moment, her voice that goes from cool and controlled in the verse to soaringly high in the chorus – and her trademark mini-yodel (a quick slip to a falsetto – more about that in How to sing like Adele).

Yep, I like it a lot.

But a thought struck me quite quickly: is this actually a love song in the tradition meaning of the word? The video would let us believe that, as it features a guy. But if you check the words, there is no specific indication that it is a romantic song as such. Look at lines such as,

Hello? It’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.
To go over, everything.
They say that time’s supposed to heal you but I ain’t done much healing

If you think about it, this could be a song addressed to a parent, a brother or sister or even – as one reviewer claims – about her younger self.

Romantic love song or something else?

Is Adele's Hello a love song

The second question that immediately spring to mind is, “what difference does it make?” Would it make the song better or deeper if it was a romantic love song? Or would it not be richer if we look for other meanings?

At the end of the day, of course, songs are not always entirely autobiographical. If a singer had to have lived all the love stories that they sing about at an average show, where would they find the time to rehearse, write and sing? What’s more, many songs are written by people other than the singers themselves. The singers are, to a large degree, acting out someone else’s story. To do that, they often have to assimilate it and make it their song.

Ultimately, songs reach us when they resonate with us, with our own stories. So forget the video to Adele’s “Hello” and ask yourself: what is the first face that springs to mind when you hear the song on its own stripped of videos and images?

See? Deep down, it’s your song after all.

UPDATE: Adele will premiere “Hello” at France’s annual NRJ Music Awards in Cannes on November 7, 2015.

“Hello” was written by Adele and Greg Kurstin, who is also credited

with most of the instruments on the recording.


Sing “Frozen” in 25 languages

Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez

October 13, 2014 | Posted in song meaning | By

I have to say I love this. Someone compiled all the various language versions of the Disney song “Frozen” into one track. It’s a fun idea, and it also shows up something very interesting. If you close your eyes, it’s sometimes impossible to tell when you go from one language to another. The vocal casting for the movie is remarkable, as the 25 singers all sing in a very similar style. So the viewers are really catching the very same movie in each language. there are even different versions for French Canada and France, as well as Dutch and Flemish (which are very close). In many ways, this is the standard musical comedy style these days, with lots of dynamics in the voice and a very wide range.

‘Let it Go’ went on to receive the Academy Award for best song the year it was released. The ‘Avenue Q’ songwriting duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez had been asked to write for the film. The way they saw the character of Elsa was different from the way the scriptwriters had imagined. The songwriters saw her as a more complex and vulnerable character. So ‘Let It Go’ became the theme her character was based on. Elsa was changed from an out-and-out villain and the script eventually turned into one of the most successful animated films ever produced.

Writers of “Let it Go” from Frozen

Kristen Anderson-Lopez is an American actress and songwriter. Together with her husband Robert Lopez and Henry Jackman, she wrote and produced music for the successful 2011 Disney film “Winnie the Pooh”, for which they were nominated for an Annie Award for Best Music in a Feature Production. Anderson-Lopez also provided the voice of Kanga in the film.

Additionally, she then went on to wrote songs for a Walt Disney World production of “Finding Nemo – The Musical.” She and her husband eventually won an Oscar for “Let it Go” at the 86th Academy Awards on March 2, 2014.

All the language versions of “Let it Go”


[1] English : “Let It Go”
by Idina Menzel from “Frozen”
[2] French (Français) : “Libérée, Délivrée”
by Anaïs Delva from “La Reine des Neiges”
[3] German (Deutsch) : “Lass jetzt los”
by Willemijn Verkaik from “Die Eiskönigin — Völlig unverfroren”
[4] Dutch (Nederlands) : “Laat het los”
by Willemijn Verkaik from “Frozen”
[5] Mandarin (普通话) : “随它吧”
by Hu Wei Na (胡维纳) from “冰雪奇缘”
[6] Swedish (Svenska) : “Slå Dig Fri”
by Annika Herlitz from “Frost”
[7] Japanese (日本語) : “レット・イット・ゴー~ありのままで~”
by Takako Mastu (松たか子) from “アナと雪の女王”
[8] Latin American Spanish (Español americano) : “Libre Soy”
by Carmen Sarahí from “Frozen: Una Aventura Congelada”
[9] Polish (Polski) : “Mam tę moc”
by Kasia Łaska from “Kraina lodu”
[10] Hungarian (Magyar ) : “Legyen hó!”
by Füredi Nikolett from “Jégvarázs”
[11] Castilian Spanish (Español) : “¡Sueltalo!”
by Gisela from “Frozen : El reino del hielo”
[12] Catalan (Català ) : “Vol Volar”
by Gisela from “Frozen : El regne de gel”
[13] Italian (Italiano) : “All’alba Sorgerò”
by Serena Autieri from “Frozen – Il regno di ghiaccio”
[14] Korean (한국어) : “다 잊어”
by Hye-Na Park (박혜나) from “겨울왕국”
[15] Serbian (Српски) : “Сад је краj”
by Jelena Gavrilović (Јелена Гавриловић) from “Залеђено Краљевство”
[16] Cantonese (粵語) : “冰心鎖”
by Jobelle Ubalde (白珍寶) from “魔雪奇綠”
[17] Portuguese (Português) : “Já Passou”
by Ana Encarnação from “Frozen – O Reino do Gelo”
[18] Bahasa Malaysia (بهاس ملايو) : “Bebaskan”
by Marsha Milan from “Frozen : Anna Dan Permaisuri Salji”
[19] Russian (Русский) : “Отпусти и забудь”
by Anna Buturlina (Анна Бутурлина) from “Холодное сердце”
[20] Danish (Dansk) : “Lad Det Ske”
by Maria Lucia Heiberg Rosenberg from “Frost”
[21] Bulgarian (Български) : “Слагам край”
by Nadezhda Panayotova (Надежда Панайотова) from “Замръзналото кралство”
[22] Norwegian (Norsk) : “La Den Gå”
by Lisa Stokke from “Frost”
[23] Thai (ไทย) : “ปล่อยมันไป”
by Gam Wichayanee (วิชญาณี เปียกลิ่น) from “Frozen : ผจญภัยแดนคำสาปราชินีหิมะ”
[24] Canadian French (Français canadien) : “Libérée, délivrée”
by Anaïs Delva from “La Reine des Neiges”
[25] Flemish (Vlaams) : “Laat het los”
by Elke Buyle from “Frozen”


Justin Timberlake tells Beyonce: there’s something wrong with you

Beyonce documentary honesty

January 17, 2014 | Posted in news, song meaning | By

The new self-titled Beyoncé album continues to make waves. In a behind-the-scenes video released recently, Justin Timberlake was so blown away by her vocal performance on the song “Rockets” that he blurted out, “Wow. There’s something wrong with you. That is… There’s something wrong with you”. He meant it as a compliment, of course. Timberlake and Miguel co-wrote the song with her.

"The video gives a good indication of what was running through Beyonce’s mind during the writing. She speaks notably about the fact she had felt a little hindered by what other people think of her. But, “the people that have grown up with me have grown up”. So she felt it was time give a more complete picture of herself.

“I feel like I’ve finally earned the right to be me and to express any and every side of myself,” she says. “I feel like I’m opening up a lot in these videos and showing a lot of sides that only a few people have ever seen.”


Beyonce’s new album showcases her lower voice

December 17, 2013 | Posted in news, song meaning | By

Untitled Beyoncé has a new album called, um, “Beyoncé”. Out of the blue, interesting, varied and backed up by a bunch of videos. I think it’s pretty good and you can find it on iTunes, but I recommend that you enjoy the full experience on her swish website.

Inevitably, there are also negative reviews. One of the recurring themes is that it’s hard to be pretty sometimes. The songs are also very much in the first person, which leads to accusations of narcissism (What? A narcissist pop singer? Surely not).

Beyonce’s new album is about you

But Raw Story’s Amanda Marcotte makes a great point in her article on Beyonce‘s surprise new release.

“These are songs that the singer believes, with good reason, will be played on repeat and memorized and sung along with. They will be sung along with at clubs and in cars. They will be sung in karaoke bars. The singer is just as much us as it is Beyoncé. And Beyoncé clearly knows that. When she released “Single Ladies”, for instance, she wasn’t singing about a personal experience with having to dump a man to get him to know what he was missing out on—she was already with Jay-Z and they were getting married. The song is clearly for the women in the audience to sing along to, and, regardless of the problems in the framing of it, the idea is to boost yourself up and say that you deserve to have standards.”

From a singer’s point of view, the album features Beyoncé using a slightly lower voice, which is good news for those that want to sing like Beyonce.



Jay Z forgets lyrics on stage

October 11, 2013 | Posted in news, song meaning | By


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Jay Z, Music News

Jay Z lyrics slip his memory – but so what?

It can happen to anyone. During the opening show of his Magna Carta World Tour in Manchester, England, Jay Z was caught for a second by the lyrics to his track “No Church in the Wild”, from the album “Watch the Throne track”.

Twitter has been alive with the news. But is this really such an issue? Come on! Given the amount of words each rap track has, keeping all of them by heart is already an achievement. Many singers now insist on having a prompter with lyrics. As Mick Jagger once commented after someone noticed the chords of their songs were available on stage, “You don’t usually need them – but if you do, they are there”.

It’s also worth remembering that Jay Z’s tour apparently features some 30 songs in his setlist – which is a lot.

See the video for Jeezy explaining how Jay Z had tears in his eyes when writing to Magna Carta. “Every bar in that song is for real.”


Source: The Vibe