When Two Heads Are Better

          My song-category for this eighteenth day of thirty is:  Your Favorite Duet.

          There are almost as many forgettably-forgotten songs sung by two people in tandem as there are played by groups and sung by soloists.  To identify this favorite I ran my mind, ears, and eyes across many such songs, tunes, and titles.

          I recall not hating the film Duets directed by Bruce Paltrow and starring Paul Giamatti.  The one duet which has always stuck with me from the film—Giamatti singing Try a Little Tenderness with Andre Braugher.  Although it's not my favorite duet, by deconstructing it I was able to identify my favorite.

          Try a Little Tenderness is a fantastic song.  I've heard it sung by several artists.  I enjoy the version by Otis Redding and the covers by Three Dog Night as well as The Commitments.   So, first and foremost, a favorite duet must be a great song all by itself, no matter who sings it.

          I was a bit surprised to learn that Giamatti and Braugher are capable-to-good vocalists, but there's a reason they both earn their livings acting and not singing.  So, the second factor in identifying a favorite duet, is that both singers must be great solo-vocalists in their own right.

          The third and final determinate is the gestalt or the mise-en-scène (if you'll allow a visual metaphor to describe the realm of song).  Combine the tunes meter, rhythm, instrument's sounds, vocals, echos, vibrations, silences, etc...with the lyric's words, phrasing, inflections, structure, intended meanings and emotions.  Now mix in all the unintended meanings and associated emotions introduced by each listener.  The result is a favorite song.

          My favorite duet is one which both of the vocalists as well as the band of musicians contributed equally to the creation of, and overall everything of:  Under Pressure by Freddie Mercury and David Bowie.  They never recorded it together live.  None-the-less, this wonderful video adds an additional layer of emotion to the recording.

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