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Kate Walsh: Swooning Devotion in 'Your Song'

Kate Walsh is bound to get confused with other fresh-faced singing Kates — Kate Nash, Kate Maki — not to mention the Kate Walsh from Grey's Anatomy. It doesn't help the English singer's cause that her sweet-voiced ballads exude more gentle kindness than charisma, but her gorgeous "Your Song" stands out anyway.

Walsh manages a delicate tone of swooning devotion in "Your Song" — "I'm stuck on a boy who fills me with joy" — strolling right up to the line between innocent and cloying without winding up on the wrong side of it. It helps that "Your Song" is almost overpoweringly pretty: Walsh finds the loveliest possible melody at every turn, while her words remain simple and direct. The love story at the heart of "Your Song" doesn't seem terribly complex, but Walsh's vocal aches with the weight of the highest possible stakes.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)