January 10, 2013

Top 10 Lindsey Stirling Pieces



This is a list of my top ten favorite Lindsey Stirling songs!

#10. Transcendence- Kicking it off is Transcendence, a song that, to Lindsey, represents what "transcendence" means: to overcome obstacles and develop beyond where you were. This is a neat song in that it has a fully developed second violin part! It's not as good as some of her other stuff, but this is an average Lindsey song: it's what you can expect from most of her fair. I liked the music video, too. It was neat to watch the trapped woman slowly overcome her cage and that moment when she breaks from her mold and starts playing the violin and dancing really hits home with me! I enjoy the theme and the variations contained within the piece as well. Overall, this is a fun and exciting time, and provides a nice balance point for Lindsey's music.


#9. Crystallize- Sigh. Y'know those movies that are great, but then the hype just makes them so insanely popular that it diminishes their value? Well, this song, Crystallize, is a prime example of this, of how something good can turn into something that is good, with a whole bunch of unnecessary hype and an egregious following. Now, that's not to say that this song is bad. On the contrary, this is one of Lindsey's stronger songs (obviously; it's on here, after all). The dubstep used is minimalistic, so as to not overshadow the violin, and the violin itself is used beautifully. The melody is great, and the dubstep drop was really fun to listen to. The video itself is well-made. I will say that Devin Grahm, Lindsey's former cameraman, does prove his stuff here. Every shot does look spectacular! So, Crystallize has some excellent camera work, a good use of dubstep, and the song is not all that bad. I just think its overhyped.


Look at that! 100 million views and counting! #8 on YouTube's top 10 videos of 2012 in Music. Congratulations, Lindsey! You deserve the slot, but the song doesn't deserve to be your representative.

#8. Electric Daisy Violin- This one's cool. This is the second video of hers that I viewed, and it's really fun to dance to! This one is also the only one of her songs prior to the release of her album that incorporated voice (albeit synthesized)! The voice stuff is pretty good (I've heard her sing live, and she has a really elegant voice, sparing vibrato in favor of a rich timbre), and I like the theme of this: it's jumpy and fun to play. The video is great too! This is where we see the second iteration of the Lindsey Backbend: this one is more of a side-lunge type of stretch, her upper body hanging off the edge of a rockface (still playing the violin) and then coming back up! Really cool. We also see the Lindsey high kick, and some spinning bow moves! This one is really fun! I like the electric backing and the theme.


#7. Elements- The one that represents what I like to call Lindsey Phase II! This was released around the time of her first US tour, and was representative to me of the best from her first album (though my review of her album argues otherwise, this one grew on me more and more, and Moon Trance quickly took a back seat for me; I'll be doing an updated, less critical review of her album soon). This one's really cool! It's got a great melody, something etherial and not too jumbly, which can, as many people have pointed out, make Lindsey's intended theme of her songs a bit hard to suss out, and the video for it is really fun to watch! I love all the stuff in the rain, and the fire sections are beautiful. I like that the runs and rapid string crossings are kept on a tight leash for this one; it knows when to calm down. This represents to me Lindsey's growth as a composer, endeavoring to score a song that is both simple in nature, but fun to listen to.


#6. Skyrim- This is her third most viewed video on YouTube, and unlike Crystallize, it deserves the attention it's gotten! Peter Hollens does a wonderful job singing the lyrics, and Lindsey's accompanying violin provides a nice contrast to Peter's tenor and bass pitch! This song is great for one reason: it feels EPIC! The Skyrim theme is epic on its own, but this arrangement propels the choral section to new heights of awesome and Lindsey's playing is really good here! I like the violin solo near the middle, and the key change at the end was excellent. I loved the music video, too! Seeing Lindsey fight with a bow was a ton of fun to watch, and the effects, while camp, still add to the tension. I also love the costuming here, it just blew me away with how good everything fit and came together. Overall, I love this song, and unlike the Game of Thrones arrangement, Peter manages to keep to a low percussion-toned beat and lyrical voice, which really play to his (and the song's) strengths, Lindsey doesn't overshadow Peter (in concept) and their styles go really well together!


#5. Shadows- First off, the music video for this is famous for the Lindsey shadow dancing about (I myself found the yawn to be particularly sexy). I love the music itself for its more jazzy style. The 6/8 rhythm creates a groovy swing, and Lindsey embraces this in full, arpegeation being her main tool here. The cantabile in the middle is pretty neat, and I like the modulation tease before returning to the tonic and theme! This one's nice to listen to on repeat if you're walking or running for long distances; it really gets the blood pumping


#4. Spontaneous Me- And here is her original song that is both fun and simple at the same time. I like the melody, the different styles a violinist must employ, and the color of the piece. I like the electronic background, and the violin's chord section is a nice break from her usual style! The smooth cantabile section is really fun: sweeping undertones and an electronic fanfare of sorts building up to the violin, which then builds on it even more! I like the rises and falls of the piece, and it wraps up to form a neat little package!


#3. Zelda Medley- And here we have the one that started it all for me! Zelda Medley is the first video of hers that I saw, so it is pretty high up on my list. This is a great cover, employing two violin parts, and some really full costuming for the video (she made such a good Link that it has continued to appear in other media!) I like how this medley flows, too: it's very logical and doesn't sound like a million things smushed into a song, but rather a song with allusions to several different songs! I like the buildup to the ending, and how the two violins weave around each other to great effect. As a starting point and introduction to Lindsey, this was a sure winner, and still remains one of her songs that I listen to constantly.


This song was so inspirational to me, that I made several arrangements of it! She even signed a copy!

#2. Mission Impossible- Ah, yes, the one we'd all waited for for so long, this Piano Guys/Lindsey collaboration is truly a classic. I think the music video is what really pushes this song up here for me. It's just full of playful music banter between Lindsey and Steven, and the way they interact is so funny. The violin and cello work with and around each other to masterful effect, and the piano backing really builds the intensity. The ending is really good, with a 5 to 4/4 time interplay with percussion and frantic runs with cello and violin dueling until an abrupt but satisfying ending. This one's really fun, and the music video itself is great to watch. This collaboration is hopefully the first of many to come, because all musicians are masterful at their craft, and seeing them together like this just gives me chills.


#1. Phantom of the Opera Medley- This is her masterpiece. To me, this is the best that Lindsey has to offer. Remember, her original intent with her violin was to be herself, to take songs that she liked and put a little of herself into them. Well, this takes that idea and goes to town so much with that, that this becomes Lindsey herself! The musicianship is fantastic! All of those trills, runs, grace notes, cadenzas, and glissandi all amount to a really crowded yet surprisingly crisp violin part. The guitar, drums, keys, and faux strings orchestra all do their part very well, and once again, Lindsey turns a classic theme into a spunky hard rock concert song! Everything is balanced beautifully, and nothing feels out of place here. This is, in my opinion is Lindsey at her best, and for that, this song is my #1 favorite Lindsey song of all time!


So that's it. This is a SUBJECTIVE list, so if you want, you can post your own list in the comments section below. I'd be eager to hear what you're opinion is.

2 comments:

  1. Nice top list, I agree with your picked number#1. I've just began to be a Lindsey Stirling fan and her music does not disappoint.

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    1. Thanks! Have you checked out Shatter Me? That album is awesome!

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