Week 36: “Whirlpool” by Tim Fagan

If you were giving advice to someone trying to make a name for themselves in the crowded world of singer-songwriters, you probably wouldn’t say, “I know, why don’t you write a song about a hot tub?” Whether the idea came as advice or not, the result for Tim Fagan was a wonderful song called “Whirlpool”, and there may be no better song to come home to after a long day at work. I can say without exaggeration that this is one of my absolute favourite songs, and it’s tragic that I haven’t heard it anywhere but my own iPod.

Tim Fagan seems to have all the ingredients for success; the semi-whisper singing voice of John Mayer, the quirky lyricism of Sufjan Stevens, and even Jack Johnson’s elusive Hawaii factor. It can only be a matter of time before his songs are featured on a commercial for a long distance plan or a TV show about doctors.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The third chord. It’s the unexpected chord change in the verse that makes this song special. It happens first about 20 seconds in.

2. The different vocal melody in the third verse. Good songwriters always make sure you don’t get bored of the verse. Lennon-McCartney did it all the time. Tim Fagan does it at 1:56, on a great vocal line that leads the song back to the chorus.

3. The “ooh” outro. Reminiscent of the end of “Live Long” by Kings of Convenience, it’s a surprising but lovely way to end the song.

Recommended listening activity:

Starting a secret countdown to your next vacation.

Buy it here.