Do you like the Beatles? How about orchestral music? Cody Fry’s “Eleanor Rigby,” released on Sept. 18, offers a combination of the two.
By artistically blending the classic tune by the Beatles with an incredible score and smooth choir constructed of almost 400 fans, the cover rose in popularity on TikTok with over 50,000 videos of the sound and over 3 million streams on Spotify.
The original “Eleanor Rigby,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was heavily influenced by post-war life in Britain. The commentary can be perceived through isolating the lyrics, which tells the story of an old woman picking up the remaining rice after a wedding who will eventually die and be “buried along with her name.”
Themes of loneliness and lack of community bare themselves within the song, confessing to the undeniable effects of the war. Despite being written in 1966, these same truths still ring true. As Fry emphasized, the pandemic was a shared event from which no one was directly exempt.
College of Arts and Sciences senior Julie Srail said that she resonated with the part where the choir says, “where do they all belong.”
“It’s hard after we’ve all been so isolated to find where you belong again,” Srail said.
While we are still unsure of the full breadth of its influence, we are able to perceive a difference in people’s everyday interactions with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. The beauty of the song, however, emanates from the overlay of the orchestral music along with the choir. The two intertwine to compose a bond of word and emotion.
Extending beyond a mere background recording, the idea that vocalists recorded individually to contribute to a larger voice brings a source of humanity and affinity for community. This encourages a sense of hopefulness to the song, despite the possibly ominous and overbearing grievances within the lyrics. The light radiated from the shared voices and the melodies sung by the instruments illuminate the joy of shared stories.
Songs, in and of themselves, are simply vibrations that our ears receive through mechanoreceptors, which are translated into electric signals for our brains. Yet, emotions are woven deeply within the production and reception of music.
Rajitha Velakaturi, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said, “With the pandemic there are definitely more ‘lonely people,’ but music can bring us together which is amazing.”
This exact process serves to cultivate a sense of community and connection between people by being able to convey feelings through music.
“I definitely looked for comfort during the pandemic and isolation and quarantine in music because it’s a way to connect with people,” Catherine Voss, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “My friends and I, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, would send a lot of songs back and forth and it was just another way to stay in contact and have something to do.”
Cody Fry’s rendition of “Eleanor Rigby’’ highlights the grievous impact of isolation, the sanguine communication through orchestral arrangements, and the connectedness of humanity that results.