Tunesday: 18th Century Baroque Edition

It’s the second time I’ve posted a Tunesday comparison. I had a rather quick lunch because it’s much colder outside than I first realized. My hopes this morning of the day warming up were for naught. I wolfed down some penne in the Distillery and ran back to my office cradling a cup of coffee and a cookie to soothe my wind-swept spirit.

Anyway, enough of that. What I want to talk about today is music! Primarily, these two songs:

1. “Rococo Chanel” by Chilly Gonzales

2. “Rococo” by Arcade Fire.


Both have the word Rococo in the title. Which do you prefer? Or more importantly, which do you believe uses the word Rococo in the best way?

I’m of two minds on this one. On the one hand, Chilly Gonzales has cleverly turned Rococo into a pun and actually used an harpsichord in the recording, which draws upon the history of the word itself. It’s a beautiful piece of modern instrumental music, drawing from his pop background and his classical education. Chilly, the self-titled “saddest musical genius in the world” is a Canadian pianist/rapper (yes, that’s right) whose work on Feist’s The Reminder album led to a Grammy nomination.

Then on the other hand, is the Arcade Fire, winners of the 2010 Grammy for Album of the Year and indie-music darlings. The song is quintessentially Arcade Fireian (Arcadian?) with the typical bouncing drum beat, strummy guitars, gliding fiddle and lyrics that don’t really make sense but convey just enough disdain to be written by a hipster. They use the word Rococo as more of a sound rather than give it any meaning, which it lends itself well to. But why not use a word that fits the song’s meaning? What is the song’s meaning? Taken from the lyrics it’s about “modern kids” who “use big words that they don’t understand.” But perhaps Arcade Fire doesn’t really know the meaning of the word Rococo?


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3 thoughts on “Tunesday: 18th Century Baroque Edition

  1. Alex May 11, 2011 at 11:35 am Reply

    I didn’t know the meaning of the word until I clicked that link, but Rococo is, since I first heard it (in concert!), hands-down my favorite Arcade Fire song of all time.

    • Olga May 12, 2011 at 9:14 am Reply

      Hearing a song live makes it pretty special. I love the word Rococo! I took an art history course in first year that taught me all about it. Still have the humongous textbook that I had to buy for it, too! Loved flipping through the photographs.

  2. isimma May 13, 2011 at 8:18 am Reply

    Drove past a cafe on the Danforth at Main this week, it was called Rococo Cafe. I can’t confirm if it’s any good but I did think of you when I saw it.

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