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Where the style is non-genre specific, and the focus tends to be on the singer and the lyrics at the front and centre of the piece. Instrumentation is not necessarily sparse or light of touch, although that often is the case. There is no such specific genre page at Wikipedia (although their explanation of what a singer-songwriter is gets much of the basic idea across). I note that music critic Piero Scaruffi recognises Songwriter as a genre, so at least I'm not alone in thinking that such a genre tag should exist. Some examples of the Songwriter genre as I see it: The Beatles - She's Leaving Home; Leonard Cohen - Bird On The Wire; The Boomtown Rats - I Don’t Like Mondays; Melanie - Ruby Tuesday; The Jam - English Rose.

The Jukebox Pick (of 4,583):

 Ocean Rain

 (Will Sergeant, Ian McCulloch, Les Pattinson, Pete de Freitas)

 Echo and The Bunnymen

 10 out of 10 “Utterly perfect” Songwriter

 The title-track which closed out their 1984 magnum opus in a blaze of glory, with McCulloch's metaphorical brilliance portraying the majesty, the turmoil and the ultimate tragedy of a stormy relationship. In keeping with the darkly romantic piece, the 35-strong Parisian orchestra are beautifully restrained until the intensely emotional 45 seconds finale, as the tortured soul screams from beneath “the waaaaaaves!” Said guitarist Will Sergeant: “We wanted to make something conceptual with lush orchestration; not Mantovani, something with a twist. It's all pretty dark. The whole mood is very windswept; European pirates, a bit Ben Gunn, dark and stormy, battering rain, all of that.” Mission accomplished Will. In a spectacular fail, Rolling Stone's 2-star review said that it was “Too often a monochromatic dirge of banal existential imagery cloaked around the mere skeleton of a musical idea”. Talk about missing the point. Any great composer of any century would be proud of this exquisite work of high art.

Some favourite artists:

Leonard Cohen, Billy Bragg, Laura Marling, Nina Nastasia

The Jukebox pick:


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