Light from heaven (II of II)

The best song on the project, though, is probably “Light from Heaven,” stylistically similar to “Angels in the Room” but musically far superior. For one, it’s much more psychologically textured and subtle than “Angels.” And too, “Light from Heaven” is more melodically varied and complex. A repeated section toward the middle of the song uses the musical score to render the emotional reality being described vocally: as the Ruppes sing about the hope that dark days of doubt, insecurity, or trial will give way to brighter days of renewed strength (”any day now, some way and some how, the light from heaven will come breaking through”), the melody alternates in and out of a minor tonality, shading the passage with an emotional coloration appropriate for the lyrical content. (And also notice how the little piano riff after the phrases “any day now” and “some way and somehow” answers back instrumentally in knowing agreement with the lyrics.) Lately, the Ruppes have seemed to move away from the more traditional vein of Seasons and Through the Fire to more contemporary sounds that, to my ear, aren’t any less well done but are far less satisfying, and if I had my way, they’d stay closer to the shore of traditional sg. Either way, though, the Ruppes possess rare voices that, as Eddie Howard wrote in the liner notes to one of their projects, are capable of singing anything you put in front of them. I’d put it slightly differently: the Ruppes’s voices don’t really seem to get louder or quieter, to work more or less to achieve their effects. I know they actually do, but the effect of their music gives the feeling that their voices simply expand and contract imperceptibly along the dramatic arc of a song, hewing to the musical line fluidly until something divine has happened without one ever really knowing how.

*The best (and sometimes the worst) thing about the web: you can write as much as you want and not worry about running out of space. In this case, I have more to say about the Ruppes but didn’t want to clutter up the digest pages with the full-length post. If you just can’t get enough about the Ruppes, click here for the expanded entry. Click here to return to the original post.

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