Monday, April 25, 2011

Awesome Songs: Elf - "Streetwalker"

As I was working on my 'Favorite Albums' article for the last album by Elf, Trying To Burn The Sun, I began writing about the amazing song "Streetwalker" which appears on the album. After giving a bare-bones version of the song, I still ended up writing half a page on the subject. So I either had to slim it down, or start a new article... Guess what I chose.

As I said in my previous Elf article, "Carolina Country Ball" is my favorite song by the band, but the finale of Trying To Burn The Sun, "Streetwalker" takes a close second place. It is an amazingly well put together piece of rock and roll. Strong is form, melody and narration, I can't help to belt out the lyrics each and every time I hear it - especially the ending of the track.

== Check out the track on YouTube (better this way then the old) ==

The basic story is a man confessing his love for a prostitute, nothing special there, but it's the way it is presented that is amazing. The song is the longest of the Elf catalog, and uses this time to bring in different and new elements. It begins with just Ronnie James Dio and a simple piano melody, setting the groundwork for the rest of the song, it is calm and slow and very relaxing. After a minute or two the rest of the band comes in, upping the tempo and energy moving it into a big band/jam band direction, this style continues for a section until a short breakdown, which harbors my favorite line from the album: "Gotta get to the well, before the well runs dry, and shuts me out again. You got something to sell, beneath the midnight sky, and lady I'm in need of a friend, yeah." It just strikes me as both simple and profound at the same time, I don't know why. Anyway, after the breakdown, the song returns to the jamming beat as before, through another verse, before slowing back down to the original style and melody seen at the beginning of the song. This time Dio's vocals and piano are joined by a mellow bass line, barely heard, and a simple drum beat, alternating between a straight-forward and swing rhythm. During this part of the song, Dio is lamenting on his love for this prostitute, first very quiet and somberly, but growing with each passage until it gets to a point where his voice is so full of power and emotion that it makes my hair stand on end. Even now writing this I am getting goosebumps thinking about it. While the vocals are going out of this world, the band follows suit, still keeping the simple melodies and rhythms but upping the volume and intensity to match, continuing on for a short while, until the end of the song. It's this point of the song that sells it too me, it is what is memorable and astounding.

This description doesn't do "Streetwalker" justice, you'll just have to listen to it yourself. It's one of the best songs that Elf has to offer, and Dio does another amazing vocal performance (as always). I have more on the album (Trying To Burn The Sun) as a whole coming up later this week, but I thought this song deserved some special notice.

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