At some point during the Britpop boom, let’s say mid 90s, someone somewhere realised that if a song wasn’t quite hitting the mark, all you needed to do was tack a string section on over the top, and hey presto, you entered a whole new emotional space. Add in a string section, however vaguely thought out or orchestrated, and your song had new depth and meaning.
Not that there’s anything new about using the orchestral sound: The Verve pinched Bittersweet Symphony from The Rolling Stones; Eleanor Rigby is two minute of stringed beauty; the first UK number one - Here in My Heart is a syrupy orchestral delight.
The string section has always been with us, and long may it stay. This month I want to explore the full range of stringed beauty: songs with strings; songs with things that sound like strings but aren’t; sad strings; happy strings; strings old and new.
And yes, I’m aware that guitars have strings. They’re just not the strings I’m looking for.