As clichéd as it sounds, there really isn’t a band quite like Beirut. Headed by American Zach Condon the band incorporates European style musical elements fused with copious amounts of brass instruments. The influence of Eastern European folk and gypsy music combined with more familiar western pop beats has seen Beirut become one of the Indie revelations of modern times. Here I rundown 20 of the bands finest musical pieces so far in their career.
20. Mimizan (Dark was the Night)
The classical approach to Condon’s vocals mixed with the constant jaunty tune of the accordion make for a lovely tune that could take you back to 1900’s France.
19. Cliquot (The Flying Club Cup)
A rustic song that could represent an era around the industrial revolution or even a time of conflict.
18. Hallelujah (Cover version)
A beautiful song covered brilliantly live from time to time by Condon as a solo on his ukulele.
17. The Shrew (March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland)
According to HMI, the Shrew is one of Condon’s favourite pieces to perform live and listen to. The triumphant fanfare from the horn is particularly uplifting.
16. My Wife, Lost in the World (March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland)
Different to many of Beirut’s songs rather obviously due to the more electronic sounding beat and overall less complicated instrumental composition.
15. La Llorna (March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland)
A quick search on Wikipedia for ‘La Llorna’ (The Weeping Woman) shows an interesting influence towards this orchestral sounding piece.
14. East Harlem (Unreleased)
As mentioned in the video, a song that Condon wrote when he was around 17 years old and has just recently started performing.
13. Mount Wroclai (The Gulag Orkestar)
A personal favourite. The build-up instrumentally from start to finish is immense. Particular the drum starting in the middle of the song.
12. My Night with the Prostitute from Marseilles (March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland)
Similarly to My Wife, Lost in the Wild a more contemporary feel is obvious within the song as dictated by the synth and minimal lyrics which are still beautiful none the less.
11. Guyamas Sonara (The Flying Club Cup)
A song that seems to yearn for something or someone. One for the nostalgic feeling people amongst us. Guided powerfully by the grand brass instruments and beating drums.
10. The Penalty (The Flying Club Cup)
More perfectly delicate ukulele playing from Zach Condon. The song has definite hints of escapism and how things appear to change as we grow older.
9. Forks and Knives (The Flying Club Cup)
A particularly uplifting and cheering intro to the song. The lyric ‘And a hospital bed, where I turned my life over and over again’ always stands out for me.
8. Scenic World ( Lon Gisland EP)
Played on full volume this short and energetic song is always enough to wake you up. The lyrical optimism at the end of the song adds to the uplift.
7. A Sunday Smile (The Flying Club Cup)
A more melancholic song written by Zach Condon with possible religious connotations. The meandering trumpet halfway through is a personal highlight.
6. Carousels (The Gulag Orkestar)
More triumphant brass medleys from Beirut. A song tinted with childhood memories and feelings of regret. Solo trumpet at the end is especially magnificent.
5. Cherboug (The Flying Club Cup)
Very similar in lyrical composition to ‘Nantes’. The repetition of the line ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you smile’ is magnificent.
4. The Concubine (March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland)
The best song off the newest album in my opinion. The video represents the theme of longing and a good thing coming to an end expertly.
3. Nantes (The Flying Club Cup)
Many of Beirut’s song sound emphatically French, none more so than Nantes. The French dialogue in the middle of the song adds a fresh element to a superb song.
2. Postcards from Italy (The Gulag Orkestar)
An amazing song split by a lovely trumpet solo and then the same solo repeated as an encore. The lyric ‘And I will love to see that day, That day is mine’ epitomises the optimism of Beirut.
1. Elephant Gun
Whilst it is almost impossible to choose the best of Beirut, Elephant Gun is almost faultless as a song. From the ukulele intro all the way to the fantastic brass ending this Gypsy folk tale hits the top of the list.