Saturday, April 14, 2012

Song Wars (3)

Song Wars is where I compare two songs with similar titles, meanings, or lyrics, different versions of the same song, or an original song and the covers that have been made of it. I'll discuss what I like and dislike about both songs, and then decide overall which one I like better.

This Week
"A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton
 Original vs. Acoustic Version

This comparison was pretty inevitable. Vanessa Carlton is one of my favorite artists, and A Thousand Miles is one of my favorite songs by her. Because these are two different versions of the same song, I won't be comparing titles, lyrics, or meaning, but instead will be focusing on music and singing. I also won't be listing what they have in common, but I'll give you a bit of background information on both songs.

A Thousand Miles was originally released in 2002 on Vanessa's first album, Be Not Nobody. The acoustic version was released on her 2011 Christmas EP Hear The Bells, which also featured the song "Hear the Bells" from her album Rabbits on the Run and her version of the song "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Singing: Vanessa Carlton's voice is amazing in both versions of the song - the way she sings each one fits them perfectly. I'm pretty sure the acoustic version is a different key than the original version, and with the difference in tone it sounds really nice. Her voice seems warmer and richer in this version, but I love the way she sang it originally, too - the lightness of her singing fits in really well with the piano music and the overall tone of the song. The vocals on the acoustic version are more - complicated, maybe, is the word I'm looking for - the notes and dynamics of them are really interesting and it works really well. The original, however, is definitely more varied as far as getting soft and building to a crescendo. 

Music: There's so much that's so amazing about both versions of the song. I'll start with the original. I can't say it enough times: I LOVE the piano. I've adored it ever since the first time I heard the song, and it still remains one of the most beautiful instrumentals of any song I've ever heard. Besides the piano, I also love the violins/strings, which add so much to the song. Those are the only specific instruments that stand out, but everything blends together nicely to create this really complex, beautiful sound that I've always loved. 

Then there's the acoustic version. Like Vanessa's singing, the music has a warmer, softer sound. Just as much as the piano player in me is in love with the piano instrumental of the original, the guitar player swoons over the guitar chords in this song. It's not as fast or complicated as the piano, but the fact that there's still such an amazing song when it's far simpler just adds to it's beauty. Like the original, this one has violins, but they're more prominent and add a lot more to the song here because there's not as much going on, and the sound is more drawn out and not as sharp. I love that.

While both versions of the song are outstanding, for my final verdict I'm going to have to go with the original version for two reasons: The first is that I felt like it had a more intense buildup to the end and handled the places where it should be louder or softer better than the acoustic version - the acoustic version didn't need such drastic variation, so it still worked, but I personally prefer the original. The other reason is purely sentimental: this song has always meant a lot to me, ever since I was younger, and almost ten years later it's still one of my favorite songs. Because of this I'm more attached to the original version, which is the main reason it came out on top. 

Which version do you like better?

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