My favorite Lindsey Stirling song is Take Flight, which if you strip down to just violin and piano is one of the best classical compositions of the last 50 years; yes, I love it that much, and it’s that good. My second is Roundtable Rival, which is simply a fun fusion of Celtic and folk fiddle. But I have a new #3, and that’s The Arena, which at its most basic is a tango! Howz that for musical diversity?
It’s amazing to me how even though I have no music training I can still identify verse, bridge, and chorus in an instrumental song. It’s particularly easy here: the slightly sinister-sounding intro—reminiscent of the closing notes of Jonatha Brooke’s What You Don’t Know, but not as much as the start of Shatter Me—gives way to a violin/percussion duet in the verses before moving into a small bridge with more poignant strings and four sparse but perfect piano notes. Then. . . kick it! Hard rock chorus! Thankfully the main violin melody is never overshadowed when more instruments join in here, though I wonder if Lindsey does all her orchestration; I would love to know how those four piano notes came about, because they’re spot-on.
Lindsey continues her love of high notes, but there’s also some cello-like passages that fit right with the tango theme. The last bridge has some “thicker” notes that make for possibly the most romantic sound I’ve ever heard from her, even more so than All Of Me.
And rather than telling you about the video, just watch it.
Something Wild (Featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness)
I’ve never heard of this singer, whether he was out of the city or not. A simple violin/piano intro, surprisingly short, leads into a just as surprising soft verse, where I was not at all convinced his was the right voice for this, but when it gets powerful in the chorus it fits perfectly, to the point where I actually thought “Now I get it.”
Lindsey writes such amazing hooks, which is basically what people call the main melody nowadays. (Or should I have said peeps?) While the song in general is excellent hard pop, the violin parts have a lovely Celtic feel, especially when it’s in the lead instead of supporting the vocal melody. It took a few listens to realize that when he goes into the “Oooooooo” vocals she’s playing exactly the same melody on the violin, an amazing-sounding duet.
The chorus is much stronger than the verses lyrically as well. The main line of “Something wild calls you home” fits in perfectly with what I know of the movie this will be in. . . or anything with dragons, I guess. I particularly liked the frozen-ocean rhyme.
Here’s a video of a live performance; the sound is not great, but it gives a good sense of soft/hard musical dynamic.
This is completely different, as it’s the first time Lindsey has sung on one of her own songs, not counting in the shower.
Lindsey is a good though not yet great singer. I can hear the potential there, but more vocal practice is needed to unleash it. . . which is not to say someone like Britney Spears is better, but I do believe Lindsey has higher standards. (Not that I’ve seen much of the Speared one, but I’ll bet Lindsey dances better too.) More to the point, the song is excellent; after some painful rhymes in Shatter Me, this fits together more organically, especially the main line: “Find the color in the black and white.”
In the first chorus she’s singing almost a cappella, and it’s a beautiful choice, especially with that tiny bit of reverb that makes it sound like she’s doing her own backup. Lyrically it’s a pretty simple song, with only four lines that don’t repeat; my favorite, fitting the song’s theme in more ways than one, is “A tiny fire makes me come alive.”