Prepare yourself for something truly delightful and refreshingly authentic. You could say “Magpie Heart” by LittleFox is a feel-good, lighthearted song–but the effect is a bit more nuanced than that. The lyrics are incredibly sweet and brimming with adoration. The music, on the other hand, peppers in these swift departures from the key that feel a bit moody. Every good love song blossoms with the slightest tinge of sadness, whether it’s spoken or implied. Here, LittleFox just occasionally juxtaposes the chords with her message–and boy, do you believe every word she says.
A little bluegrass-inspired banjo invites us into the song. The sound of it is nostalgic and cozy, especially if you grew up with this kind of music. “You’ve got a magpie heart / ‘cause you see the smallest detail and make it art,” LittleFox sings with a bright, clear timbre. As she continues to croon, delicate harmonies join her. They emphasize the hook, which is simple yet effective. You just want to shut your eyes and float along with the effortless current of the song,
The sparse instrumentation remains even as new, non-diatonic chords fall into place. LittleFox reaches for high, breathy pitches over the layered harmony. But just as quickly as we dipped out of the key, we return to the jovial banjo riff. As the thread which strings this whole masterpiece together, the banjo decides the song is over and fades into silence with one final trill. If you haven’t already, be sure to give this song a listen. You’ll be glad you did.
Written by Alyce Lindberg