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You searched for ‘Sophisticated’, which matched 31 songs.
click - person recommending, year, performer, songtitle - to see more recommendations.
37 Hours (In The U.S.A.)  performed by Raw Stylus  1995
Recommended by eftimihn [profile]

Raw Stylus effortlessly combined british acid jazz elements with sophisticated, elegant Steely Dan-esque american jazz/soul/funk. In fact, like on this track, the music sounds very much like a Steely Dan backing track with warm Fender Rhodes keyboards, precise horn section, funky rhythm section and jazzy guitars. Which really isn't much of a wonder when looking at the credits of the album. Let's see: The album is impeccably produced by the Dan's producer Gary Katz, features an incredible amount of fine session musicians including Steely Dan regulars (like Bernard Purdie, Randy Brecker or Hugh McCracken), has even Donald Fagen providing synths on "37 Hours (In The U.S.A.) and they even embedded some chords of "Josie" in the song. Unfortunately, despite the talent, Raw Stylus remained a one album band to this very day, kinda sad actually...

from Pushing Against The Flow (Geffen 24822), available on CD



A Festa  performed by Silvio Cesar  1977
Recommended by gregcaz [profile]

A smooth jazz-funk groove with Rhodes and synths playing melodically against each other. It sounds like Azymuth. In fact, it is Azymuth. Conversation, glasses clinking, a girl laughs in the distance. And Silvio's voice comes in, nice and mellow, describing what it's like to have a bunch of friends over for a get-together. Although he's one of Brazil's hippest crooners, a man who specializes in somewhat cliched yet mysteriously cool and affecting love songs, he lays back here and lets the country's greatest jazz-fusion outfit do its thing. How many romantic crooners ever do that?

from Som e Palavras (RCA)


Big White Cloud  performed by John Cale  1970
Recommended by tinks [profile]

A superb song from Cale's first solo LP after leaving the Velvet Underground. Very melodic, lushly orchestrated and sophisticated, an absolutely impeccably-crafted pop song. I really love the echo effect on the whole thing, coupled with Cale's ultra-fluid viola playing. A great album from start to finish, actually.

from Vintage Violence, available on CD



  G400 Custom: Also check out 'Gideon's Bible' from this album. Soothingly poppy, but with a fantastic, soaring chorus - not usually one of Cale's strengths.
Boogie Oogie Oogie  performed by A Taste of Honey  1978
Recommended by ambassador [profile]

One of the most nonsensical song title ever, yes, I know and much derided for that reason, but to quote Otis Redding when told his lyrics didn't make any sense, "I'm gonna worry about settin' the groove. I get that groove going, they don't care what I say." Boogie Oogie2 has got groove to spare, with a jazzy intro (similar to Boogie Nights by Heatwave) before that bass line drops in shakes the floorboards. Just like all the dance craze songs of the 60s, the disco era about vocals were mostly used as a counterpoint to the rhythm section. The Mizell brothers add a touch of sophistication to this female-led band (Hazel Payne and Janice Marie Johnson on bass and guitar - they're the ones on the awesome album cover) which is a step further in the commercial direction after their work with Jazz Funk kings like Donald Byrd, Gary Bartz and Johnny Hammond. This song is up there with G.Q.'s "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" and anything by Chic in the sophisticated disco category.

from A Taste of Honey (Capitol)


Bring the Boys Home  performed by Freda Payne  1971
Recommended by scrubbles [profile]

An antiwar anthem that has even more relevance today than back then. Payne often sounded too girlish to pull off the sophisticated soul Invictus produced for her, but here she's fully in command. Maybe it's the gospel-esque fervor of the arrangement and the backing singers, but this is an awfully passionate song - to a heart-breaking degree. The highlight of Freda's funky, underrated album Contact.

from Contact (Invictus)
available on CD - Unhooked Generation: The Complete Invictus Sessions (Castle Music)


Comin’ Home Baby  performed by Claus Ogerman  1965
Recommended by delicado [profile]

This track wasn't what I expected. My previous favorite version of this song (although I have many) was probably the one by Mel Torme on his 1962 album 'Right Now'. And since that version was arranged by Ogerman, I had expected this version to be simply an instrumental version like Torme's recording - a cool, finger-clicking, jerky pop number. In fact, there's something much cooler and more sophisticated about this version.

The tune is picked out first by an organ, and then by the brass and woodwinds before returning to the organ, which then jams around the main tune. A really beautiful string section comes in early on, creating some unusual chords that really add to the song and work very well alongside the 'cool' effect of the organ and rhythm. I wish Claus had recorded more songs with this mixture of percussion, jazzy instrumentation and lovely thick string parts. A few tracks on one of his other 60s LPs, 'Latin Rock,' come close, but I'm not sure any of them are as nice as this one.

from Soul Searchin' (RCA LPM 3366)



Dying Crapshooter’s Blues  performed by Blind Willie McTell
Recommended by dwmjuk [profile]

Early urban blues from the master of all that is politically incorrect (listen to his lyrics on most tracks regarding women). Recorded as a tribute to a friend, full recording has a 3 minute rant by Blind Willie recounting the story of writing this, andsinging it at a friend's funeral. The finest early urban blues track - playful chord progression and a perfectly sophisticated urban take on his normal country blues output. Sharp lyrics are a joy to listen to.




friends of mine  performed by adam green  2002
Recommended by olli [profile]

uplifting, string-laden, lyrically abstract modern indie-pop. i think adam green`s strenght as a songwriter lies in his ability to combine bizarre random lines of text and catchy, but sophisticated melodies to something that`s bigger than the sum of its parts. that`s why i prefer his latest work to what he did back in the moldy peaches, the more well-produced sound really helps to balance out things. the strings on this song, for instance, is what makes it a slice of near-perfect sunshine pop. i really need to get around to actually buying this album soon..

from friends of mine


Hermes tri  performed by Jorge Ben  1974
Recommended by Vinyldream [profile]

It's a marvelous song coming from a perfect album : " A tábua de esmeralda" . Represents the highest level this artist achieved. It's an example of crossover mixing Samba - Soul - Psichodelia. A must for good music lovers.
A song for sophisticated ears.

from A Tabua de esmeralda (Universal Music)




  pleasepleaseme: I agree! "A Tabua de Esmeralda" & "Africa Brasil" are Jorge Ben at the peak of his powers! "O Bidú" from 1967 is a very nice groover as well.
Horse Tears  performed by Goldfrapp  2000
Recommended by Mike [profile]

There are many echoes of Morricone here of course, but they're incorporated into a sophisticated, subtle and original musical aesthetic rather than just being lifted.

I'm as unclear as ever about what Alison Goldfrapp is singing about in this song or indeed many others, but musically it's so very good that I am not too bothered.

Point of curiosity/interest: Andy Davis and Stuart Gordon of The Korgis play on some tracks on this first Goldfrapp album; Davis also plays on the follow-up "Black Cherry".

from Felt Mountain, available on CD


i don't want another man  performed by the feminine complex  1969
Recommended by e [profile]

this a nice song, slightly out of character to the rest of the album ,"Livin' Love"(which is more traditionally sixties pop) this has a big energetic beat and a rousing chorus. perhaps not the most sophisticated composition in the world, but it makes me happy anyway...


available on CD - livin' love (teenbeat)



It’s For You  performed by Cilla Black  1964
Recommended by Zygny [profile]

Lots of Cilla's earlier material was top quality, this Lennon/McCartney song (never actually recorded by the Fabs) knocked me out when I first heard it on my cousin's Dansette in 1964. Spooky melody which almost strays into jazz territory in the instrumental break. Sophisticated pop of the highest order.




It’s For You  performed by Cilla Black  1964
Recommended by Doctor Mod [profile]

I'm no Cilla fan. While I've enjoyed many of her recordings, she was no match as an artist for such contemporaries as Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Lulu, or even Pet Clark, Sandie Shaw, and Jackie DeShannon, all who did very similar material. Still, Cilla had one advantage the others didn't, Lennon-McCartney tunes written with her in mind. I think the Beatles, who knew her well, understood her vocal limitations and provided songs that would show her to best advantage.
"It's For You" is certainly one of the finest recordings she ever made. Its jazzy arrangement, the edgy key changes, and the tempo shifts are as sophisticated as they were unique in 1960s Britpop. The music contributes to a sense of intrigue to the clever, ironic lyrics that pretend to dismiss love only to give it. Cilla rises to the occasion, giving what might well be her best performance ever--stunning!




It's My Life  performed by Talk Talk  1984
Recommended by Mike [profile]

This song is one I remember enjoying greatly as soon as I heard it shortly after its release as a single. To me it encapsulated perfectly the angst and frustration I often felt at that time. It did this as much through its sophisticated musical content and texture as through the lyrics. Listening to it now, it's as good an example as any of how different synth sounds go in and out of fashion. Hollis gives a typically intense vocal performance, and there are subtle hints in some of the instrumental lines of the more jazzy direction the band would later take. Highly recommended - don't miss this one. Oh, sorry - wrong site. Thought I saw the word Ebay somewhere.

from It's My Life (EMI)


Kortisin  performed by Plaid  1997
Recommended by Mr Tom [profile]

A lovely triptych. Plaid keep their trademark odd noises (creaking doors and weird duck quacks in this track) more in check than usual, and the result's a little more conventional than a lot of their work, but it's also very pretty. It's tightly structured, with a happy little introduction followed by three sections marked by their different, though related, warm basslines. Each has a gentle melody of its own, and between each there's an interesting break. Warm, sophisticated, and full of beauty.

from Not For Threes (Warp)



Lay It On Me  performed by Heatwave  1976
Recommended by ambassador [profile]

Heatwave's first two albums can almost be seen as prototypes for Michael Jackson's breakthrough album "Off the Wall." With Rod Temperton, future Quincy Jones and MJ collaborator, driving this album the sound is both funky and catchy, sophisticated and accessible. "Lay It On Me" is an overlooked album track that bubbles and gurgles under the surface of the groove until the chorus arrives with strings soaring for the ectasy of Johnnie Wilder's sweet vocals, "lay it on me, lay your sweet love on me!" Beautifully arranged and excellently executed and just one of many classics of their debut album.

from Too Hot to Handle, available on CD


One Man in My Heart  performed by The Human League  1995
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

Although far removed from the adventurous group that had long ago dabbled in minimilist, almost avant-garde electronics, all these years later the Human League continued to take its pop seriously. "One Man in My Heart" could have been a total throwaway, a gloopy little love song without a single redeeming quality, beloved by grannies and tweenies, gag-inducing for those outside those age parameters. But the band obviously gave the number time and attention, and thus ensured that it can't be so easily dismissed. Inserting a much sampled electro effect into the intro, creating an intriguingly intricate rhythm, counterpointing swelling, lush synths with a palpitating '70s-styled organ, layering on vocals and harmonies, and conjuring up a romantic milieu flushed with delicate atmospheres, the group produced a love song unlike virtually all typical pop fodder. The work, effortless as it sounds on disc, paid off, and this 1995 single swept into the U.K. Top 15.
(AMG)

from Octopus, available on CD


Ripple  performed by The Church  1990
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

The lead single from one of the Church's all time highs, the dark, powerful Priest Aura, "Ripple" was much like the album it came from - lengthy, with an emphasis on artistic impact rather than radio-friendly ease, charged with a feeling of impending, unnerving threat. The initial guitar chime and Steve Kilbey's singing may provide a familiar feeling for long-time listeners, but the edge of spite and conflict in the words carries through in the performance - Kilbey's not so much blending into the mix as suddenly slicing through it. The full arrangement almost has a touch of film noir threat to it, but not as much as the amazing chorus. Starting with a soft, almost sighed overdubbed vocal part like a mysterious signal, it literally does ripple up in the mix, sneaking up on the listener instead of turning into any kind of a singalong. It's the same approach as with "Under the Milky Way," but the air here is less elegant melancholia and more unsettling electric charge, extra guitar feedback carving arcs through the arrangement, instrumental breaks providing only short, temporary relief.
(AMG)

from Priest=Aura, available on CD


Skin Trade  performed by Duran Duran  1986
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

Beneath the avant-garde lyrics and futuristic synth textures, there was always a pulsing dance music quality that drove the classic Duran Duran sound. As they progressed into the late '80s, they allowed that dance element to move up front and dominate their style. A good example of this tactic is "Skin Trade," a hit whose silky and funky style led to it being mistaken for a Prince song. The lyrics have a surprisingly direct, soul-searching feel to them as they lay out scenarios of people shortchanging their dreams to make money. These moments are followed with the dramatic proclamation that makes up the chorus: "Will someone please explain/The reasons for this strange behavior?/In exploitation's name/We must be working for the skin trade." The music lends contrast to the angry tone of the lyrics by creating a sultry, mellow melody that juxtaposes verses with a soft, hypnotic ebb and flow with an ever-ascending chorus that revs up the song's inherent drama. Duran Duran's recording is fuelled by funky but gently layered guitar textures and subtle drum work that push its groove along, plus some atmospheric synth textures on the chorus. Interestingly, Simon LeBon uses his normal tenor voice for the choruses but sings much of the verses in a lush, soulful falsetto that led many pop fans to initially mistake "Skin Trade" for a Prince ballad. The result was a perfect blend of slow-dance textures and adult social critique. It didn't do as well as "Notorious," just barely making the Top 40 in the U.S., but it got plenty of radio airplay and is fondly remembered by the group's fans as one of Duran Duran's most mature achievements of the late '80s.
(AMG)

from Notorious, available on CD


sophisticated boom boom  performed by voladoras  2002
Recommended by shaka_klaus [profile]

the satanic housewives, voladoras. i've seen these girls a few times around town. they're always playing too loud which is quite fun.

http://www.voladoras.com

from voladoras 7" (thunderbaby)


Sophisticated Lady  performed by Robert Maxwell  1962
Recommended by delicado [profile]

This instrumental version of sophisticated lady is unlike any other I have ever heard. The harp is used alongside some strange instrumentation and recording techniques to create a unique other worldly sound. There is also a Richard Maxwell trademark - an incongruous, rasping 50s style sax solo in the middle. He was a pretty interesting guy, all in all; his Decca albums pretty much all seem to be interesting.

from Peg O My Heart (Decca DL74563)



Sophisticated Side Ponytail  performed by Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
Recommended by melpomenex [profile]

This is a really wacky song, but I love it. It's by a little-known band. Check out the music video (I found it on Vimeo). It's as crazy as the song!

from Glistening Pleasure


Step Out  performed by The Mamsa and Papas   1971
Recommended by geezer [profile]

If you are familiar with the,by now,well played M and P sound this will surprise you ,a gentle ,light funky ballad with an entirely male led vocal .The measured ,considerate vocal by John Phillips takes the Mamas and Papas into a new mature almost sophisticated territory.Regretably short at 2.20,the previous sunshine pop makes way for new feeelings and concerns ,from a fantastic album callled "People Like us " which seemed to pave the way for what came to be known as AOR,the relentless sunshine of California discovers the humidity of 70,s L.A .This was their last record

from People like us
available on CD - People Like Us


Steppin’ Out  performed by Joe Jackson  1982
Recommended by eftimihn [profile]

I grew up listening to Joe Jackson and i still find his venturing into all sorts of musical styles and the eclecticism surrounding his musical work very interesting. Starting as a post-punk, new wave singer/songwriter he released three great albums from 79-81 with his "Joe Jackson Band" before going solo with a string of fine albums in the 80s (musically ranging from jazz, R&B, rock to latin-tinged sophisticated pop) and later writing and arranging soundtracks and even doing classical music. He recently regrouped with his band, produced another album and toured with the original line-up consisting of Gary Sanford, Graham Maby and Dave Houghton and surprisingly it worked as good as in the beginning of his career. "Steppin' Out" was released on probably his best solo offering "Night & Day" in 1982, a highly evocative, melancholic, catchy pop song skillfully mixing a synth sequencer beat and keyboards with piano jazz harmonies and xylophones.

from Night & Day, available on CD




  komodo: I'll second your comments regarding Joe Jackson. I'm surprised that with classic albums such as "I'm the Man", "Look Sharp", "Body & Soul" and the aformentioned "Steppin' Out", Joe Jackson doesn't, in my opinion, recieve the credit he deserves. "Steppin' Out" is a great track, but my favourite version is actually from "Live 1980/86" where he takes a dramatic - perhaps even melodramatic - approach to the song. It shimmers then swells into this wonderful sound, evocative of a kind of fantasy 40's New York, but anchored by JJ's usual lyrical poignancy. Somewhat overblown? Perhaps, but wonderful stuff nonetheless, and definately one to check out if you've not heard it before.
Stop  performed by Julie Grant  1965
Recommended by jeanette [profile]

A powerful, emotional, sophisticated song, the kind that Brit-girl Julie does the best. Without resorting to mawkish affectation, the sheer hush and force of her voice can make tears well up. This was her final single for the Pye label, and a fitting tribute to one of the most consistantly good careers of all the 60's UK female singers.

from the single Stop (Pye 7N.15884)
available on CD - Count On Me! (RPM)



Tell Me When  performed by The Human League  1995
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

Although a thick line has long been drawn connecting disco to the '90s techno scene, few have bothered to connect the dots between the more modern genre and synth pop. The Human League didn't need to fret about such things, though; they intuitively understood those relationships, having explored virtually all the influences over their career — industrial, funk, R&B, synth pop, new wave, and disco itself. And when the wheel turned again, the band was back on top with a sound that hadn't really changed, but just refined. With a few minor alterations, 1995's "Tell Me When" could have come from 1983, slotting nicely between "Fascination" and "Mirror Man." Of course, the drum programming would need to be changed (there were no jungle rhythms back then!), but the funky bassline can stay, along with the bubbly synths. In fact, the real difference is found in the vignette-esque lyrics and the more complex vocals. And these slight changes make all the difference, turning synth dreams into techno club success. A taster for the group's forthcoming Octopus album, "Tell Me When" hit on both sides of the Atlantic, landing just outside the Top 6 and Top 30 in the U.K. and U.S., respectively.
(AMG)

from Octopus, available on CD


Tell Tale Heart  performed by Gavin Friday & The Man Seezer  1989
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

The former Virgin Prunes member, Gavin Friday, recorded his first solo album in 1989, "Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves". After leaving the Prunes in 1986, he abandoned the music business to paint for a year and a half, returning to the fray after teaming up with pianist Maurice Roycroft (whom Friday renamed the Man Seezer). This debut album, "Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves", found him making unexpected moves into a sort of modern-day cabaret style, albeit with all the Bowie-isms of his vocal delivery intact. And this song, "Tell Tale Heart", is near to country sounds and also could come right from Nick Cave "Your Funeral My Trial".

from Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves, available on CD


Through The Sky  performed by Swing Out Sister  2001
Recommended by eftimihn [profile]

When mentioning Swing Out Sister casual listeners often dismiss them as forgettable, mere 80s martini pop kitsch. Or worse, one hit wonders due to the fact that their 1987 offering Breakout is still, by far, their biggest single hit. But this is completely wrong. In fact, they're enjoying an ongoing career for almost 20 years, recording 8 studio albums. Nowadays they’re fitting a niche no other group fits in so comfortably: escapist, late 60s oriented sophisticated glamorous easy listening pop music with all the right influences that spring to mind of that era: Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, John Barry, late 60s european soundtracks in general, Ennio Morricone specifically and sunshine pop. Since these guys aren't necessarily household names in mainstream pop culture today, Swing Out Sister were practically invisible from the mid 90s on in Europe and the USA, releasing their records primarily in Japan, where easy listening music still gets the biggest exposure. The Sisters’ 2001 album “Somewhere deep in the night” is their most cinematic, most elegant and visually evocative album to date, where the Bacharach/Barry/Morricone spirit is prevailing the most: 60s arrangements with Bacharach-oriented songwriting, Barry-esque lush strings, Morricone-style harpsicord, saxophone, harps, jazzy guitars, muted trumpets, fluegelhorn, wordless vocals, blending vocal songs with atmospheric instrumentals, creating an imaginary soundtrack. The whole album is a truly underrated gem.

from Somewhere Deep In The Night, available on CD




  jeanette: I have to say I am thoroughly delighted at learning of the continued career of SOS. I always had time for them, and thought Breakout was actually the weakest of the singles I heard. I particularly remember liking 'Fooled By A Smile' and 'You On My Mind'. Hearing the snippets of these songs here, I can say I'm intrigued enough to try and seek out some of this later work. It reminds me of the more produced end of Siesta records' (Spanish easy-pop label) output.
  eftimihn: You probably should try "Shapes and Patterns" from 1997 first, it's pretty much in the vein of 1989's "Kaleidoscope World" and thus a good starting point to rediscover SOS. This and the aforementioned "Somewhere Deep In The Night" (2001) as well.
Tiao braço forte  performed by Marcos Valle  1968
Recommended by delicado [profile]

A sophisticated and understated pop bossa. This song can breeze by the first time you hear it, but the unexpected hooks and chord changes make for addictive listening. There are strings, a gentle and high male vocal and a rhythmic piano. It really is heavenly. I should add that the CD compilation this appears on, 'the essential...volume 2', is really one of the very best single-artist compilations I've ever heard. The liner notes are not perfect though - this song is erroneously listed as 'Tiao branco forte'. Great compilation though, one which showed me that Marcos really is a genius.

from Viola Enluarada (Odeon)
available on CD - The Essential Marcos Valle, Vol 2 (Mr Bongo)



Tinseltown In The Rain  performed by The Blue Nile  1983
Recommended by eftimihn [profile]

The Blue Nile must be one of the most enigmatic and fascinating bands of all time. Formed in Glasgow in 1981 they released just 4 albums in 23 years with 6 years between the debut "A Walk Across The Rooftops" (1983) and their sophomore effort "Hats" (1989), 7 years between this and their third album "Peace At Last" (1996) and an 8 year break until their latest record "High" was released in 2004. That sums up to a mere 33 album tracks in almost a quarter of a decade, but what they lack in quantity they make up in quality. While "Hats" is undoubtedly their masterpiece, "Tinseltown In The Rain" may be their strongest single track. Backed by a strong, funky bassline combined with jazz-like piano chords and incredibly lush strings the track shines with a wonderfully clear, sophisticated arrangement and production. Paul Buchanan delivers wonderfully emotional, heartfelt vocals to it that tinges the song in a melancholic and uplifting mood at the same time.

from A Walk Across The Rooftops, available on CD




  ronin: "Tinseltown in the Rain" brought BN to the DC airwaves, as also did "Stay." A band not based on 3 guitars, and I actually liked it! "Easter Parade," also on lp, is a very slow, detailed description of an event, loaded w/haunting atmospherics, coming to an understated climax. (To me "Hats" is their least exciting work.) "Peace at Last" and "A Walk Across.." are the most exhilarating... electronics/Linn drum machines aside, it's the magic of Paul Buchanan's incredibly moving voice. His heart's on his sleeve... a big sleeve. Emotion drips from every syllable. These get constant airplay at home.
Whoever you are  performed by Prefab Sprout  1997
Recommended by Mike [profile]

A gentle, easy-listening inspired song which is pretty much perfect so long as you can manage to avoid finding it overbearingly kitsch. The naively optimistic, yet sophisticated lyric is beautifully matched by the music and arrangement.

from Andromeda Heights, available on CD


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