Just Listen: Vitamin String Quartet 2

I promised I would write about the super awesome Vitamin String Quartet in a Just Listen post I wrote almost two years ago (holy cow!) and it has been far too long since I mentioned one of my favorite bands. Or are they a band? I mean, I know they’re a quartet (duh) but it feels wrong to say, “Oh, this is one of my favorite quartets”, as if I listen to various orchestral arrangements on the regular. Regardless- they are amazing and everyone should be listening to them.

In my previous post I shared ten of my favorite VSQ songs. I would like to share with you another ten songs that are possibly even better. I know, the last list was so amazing that it should be impossible to top. Well, I’ve had two years to listen to several hours worth and I think I’ve picked some winners. If you have a song that you think should be on the list, please leave it in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for more music!

“Harvest Moon” / Neil Young

I am so NOT into Neil Young but I am very into this song. It was only within the past year or so that I became aware of the existence of “Harvest Moon”. Now I feel a little bit sad for younger me because I was definitely missing out. What I love most about the VSQ version is that they were able to keep the romance despite the removal of the lyrics. It takes a lot of talent to convey emotions without words, but VSQ manages to do a splendid job.

“Boys Don’t Cry” / The Cure

I am a sucker for The Cure and “Boys Don’t Cry” is no exception. I feel like VSQ really captured a sense of playfulness with this song. The opening sounds a little melodramatic and overly sincere but once the “verses” kick in, things put ramped up. I’m tempted to pick up a violin again just to learn this song.

“Makes Me Wonder” / Maroon 5

It’s nice to be able to enjoy this song without hearing Adam Levine’s voice. I realize that sounds really mean but I’m nothing if not honest. Despite the song being about a dysfunctional couple, VSQ manages to put a little sultriness into it. You can really feel the emotional tug of war between Levine and his muse as they break up.

“Alone Again Or” / Love

I was introduced to this song in college by my friend Alex, who had a radio show at Guilford. It was love at first listen. Over the past ten years “Alone Again Or” has become a staple on most of my playlists and is included on just about every CD I have burned for family and friends. Imagine my delight when I learned that VSQ recorded their version of the song. I was thrilled to discover that the Spanish influence in the sound wasn’t lost in translation. I don’t traditionally think of the violin, viola, or cello having a Latin sound but here it is.

“One More Time” / Daft Punk

This is one of the most epic songs ever written so it’s only fitting that it has been given the VSQ treatment. I have numerous memories of white girl dancing (aka jumping up and down with my hands in the air) to this song at weddings, parties, in my bedroom, in other people’s living rooms, etc. This version is a little more laid back and subdued but I still love it. I just switch to the basic girl sway and rock it.

“Enjoy the Silence” / Depeche Mode

This is such a moody, sexy song. Despite being released in 1990, it wasn’t until an episode of The Vampire Diaries that the original version of this song was brought to my attention. While it was initially Ian Somerhalder’s dancing that caught my eye, the song soon wormed it’s way into my brain. I was very pleased to hear that VSQ had taken a turn with the song. I’d even go as far as to say that I prefer it over the original.

“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” / The Darkness

I still have a copy of Permission to Land that my best high school friend gave me for Valentine’s Day one year. She knew that I, like so many other teenage girls, was bonkers (yes, I said bonkers) for “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”. It became that song that everyone struggles to sing during karaoke because not only is it fairly fast-paced but no one has that kind of range. It turns out that the violin is a perfect substitute for Justin Hawkins’s falsetto. The fun and craziness of the song is perfectly captured by VSQ and their fancy (not to mention majorly impressive) bow work.

“Get Lucky” / Daft Punk feat. Pharrell

I’m not going to lie, when I first came across this song I thought to myself “what a horrible idea”. I should have known better. VSQ has never disappointed me. Some of the commenters on youtube talked about a lack of expression or improvisation but I think the funk is there.

“Sugar, We’re Going Down” / Fall Out Boy

I’ve written in the past how I hate the term guilty pleasure. If I believed in them, this song would be my guilty pleasure song. I feel bad for Fall Out Boy because it has become the fashion to hate on them and pretend you have no clue what any of their songs are. Well, I know this song and I love it. VSQ strips away the confusing lyrics (“we’re going down down in a what?”) and focuses on the purity of the music. It’s still catchy as hell without having to look at Pete Wentz. Perfection.

“Hedwig’s Theme” / John Williams

If it’s never been mentioned before, I am a huge Harry Potter geek. I read all the books every summer (all seven!) and have seen all of the movies at least a dozen times. My love for the series and all things related borders on crazy. Like, “I own a wand!” crazy. So it should be no surprise to find the VSQ version of “Hedwig’s Theme” (aka the Harry Potter theme that EVERYONE knows and loves) on this list.

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