These are the pieces of music that I would include on the Golden Record. Links for the songs are included.
The titled song is by Singer/Songwriter Bjork from the musical film, “Dancer in the Dark.” This song is about someone reconciling that their life will be end soon. The protagonist in the film had to sacrifice her life for the sake of her son. In the song she is explaining to her friend that her life is done, and it is okay. She has accomplished what she need to do. I think it would be a good addition to the Golden record because it shows a dynamic between a man and a woman with her higher voice and his deeper voice working together instead of against each other.
“Nessun dorma” is an aria from Puccini’s Turandot. Pavarotti’s character, Calaf, is expressing his hope that by day he will marry his love by dawn. If Pavarotti did not sing this aria I do not think I would have included this in the Golden Record. I think Pavarotti has a voice that transcends language and is full of emotion and passion. If music is universal I think they will feel the emotion that most human beings feel when they listen to Pavarotti.
This is a version of Somewhere over the Rainbow from the movie, Wizard of Oz. I think the simplicity of the song, one voice/one instrument (ukulele), is what makes this song beautiful. Also, it showcases an artist from a group of people (Native Hawaiian) that were not put on the original Golden Record.
“Adagio for Strings” is the second movement from Samuel Barber’s String Quartet, Op. 11. I do not have an account of Barber’s inspiration for the piece. When I listen to it I imagine that it is someone attempting to journey out of their personal hell into their version of heaven. When I listen to this piece, I shed a few tears, and I am not a particularly emotional person. I figure that an extra-terrestrial might have a few heartstrings pulled too.
This song is an R &B duet between Motown stars, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. I included this song because it is dialogue between a man and a woman much like “I’ve Seen It All,” based on the content of the song and emotions from the singers the relationship is different. I would say that Tammi Terrell is less dismissive that Bjork. I think it’s important that they hear this dynamic, because I think it would be possible that they figure out at least one human language and understand the words. Also, I think it’s odd that Motown was not included on the record.
“I Say a Little Prayer” is a R&B remake of Dionne Warwick’s 1967 pop version. This song is about a woman who always has her love on her mind. I think this is beautiful song and Aretha Franklin is wonderful. It is important that popular music be on the recording. Most Americans have probably had more exposure to this song and the voice of Aretha than that of Bach, and it is American tax payers’ money that financed the Voyager mission.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a operatic rock song for Queen’s 1975 album, A Night at the Opera. This song is about a suicidal murderer who has just come to terms about the act he has committed. I would include this in the Golden Record because this song is iconic as lot of people worldwide have probably had exposure to this song.
“Kodo” is a based on traditional Japanese Tsugaru-jamisen music. The group is composed of two brother who play the samisen. I would include this song because it very rhythmic. If aliens do not understand music, they would at least probably understand the mathematics of this song.