The imagery and scenes from the official video "How I Learned to Love the Sun," may be an example of just that. The music, instrumentation, and song structure are so well reflected in the video, it's worth a review. This entry focuses on both the song and video "How I Learned to Love the Sun," from the Oh Pioneer album (2012). If the song is unfamiliar, you may want to watch the video before continuing.
Intro and Verse
The Hammond organ has a distinctly eerie, sometimes overpowering sound. Listen to the repeating series of falling notes as the song begins. It almost sounds like the beginning to an old horror flick! After a few bars, the drums come in. [CLIP 1]
When the vocals begin, Duke speaks the lyrics in a hushed, whispered, talking-cadence. It adds to the spooky feel of the song: "...took a shovel and a gun, and I went for broke." [CLIP 2]
Why does a song about loving the sun begins so darkly, with an apparent plan of murder? Video director Ryan Suffern, (Suckatash Photography) comments:
"The song itself has almost a split personality of sorts between the darkness of its eerie verses, contrasted to the bright shining chorus. So I wanted the visuals to reflect this duality..."
When the chorus begins, as Suffern notes, the mood changes. Duke's vocals are higher, and harmonized. Instead of skulking, the song soars. A melody takes shape - in contrast to the spoken verse we just heard. The chords ascend now, building rather than falling.
The organ drops way back (or completely out). The beat leans forward, in contrast to what we heard in the verse. It is nearly a march. [CLIP 3]
Finally, there is the bridge - a slow, cloudy, murky, drunken waltz. In the video, the camera goes out of focus, first shows Duke twirling around, followed by a merry-go-round with horses. Motion with no real progress. The saxophone throws the flow of the song off even more. The Hammond keeps the 1-2-3 rhythm.
The sections of "How I Learned to Love the Sun," all sound very different from one another. The lyrics, instruments, and visual elements of the video work together, however, to communicate a story of coming out of darkness and facing toward the sun. It's a complete package! It's fun!
And just recently...
- Duke Special lyrics translated into Dutch. Yes, for all the Dutch speakers, you can now sing along with Duke!