The mandolin is a wonderful instrument. Whether it’s a bard singing tales at a tavern or a British pop/rock star with unexplainable hair, the soothing sounds of the mandolin enhance just about anything. It’s a scientific fact that reciting a recipe for turkey stuffing to the dulcet tones of mandolin music will result in an instant classic. It’s true.
Today, I’d like you to vote on which song uses the mandolin more effectively. Both songs were massively successful during their respective heydays. And while they’re both fine songs melodically, they were both taken to another level, thanks to the mandolin.
In the red corner is “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart. This catchy tune tells the timeless tale of a young man sleeping with an older woman. Key lyric:
But you turned into a lover,
And mother what a lover,
You wore me out.
Next up is “Losing My Religion” by REM. In 1991, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this song. Lead singer Michael Stipe describes it as “a classic obsession pop song.” Key lyric:
That’s me in the corner.
That’s me in the spotlight.
Losing my religion.
If you’re ready to vote, here’s the poll.
In case you need a refresher on either of these songs, here they are in all of their mandolin-fueled glory.
As an added bonus, here are some fine cover versions of these excellent songs. The first is by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, while the second is by Clelia Vega. I’m particularly fond of the former…mostly because I wanted Susanna Hoffs to be my “Maggie May” while I was in high school.