Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Knickerbockers - "Lies" (1965)

What an incredible patchwork this song is! It's two minutes and forty-six seconds long and just constantly moving, maneuvering its way through eleven sections. Must have been a challenge to memorize!

The structure looks like this:

A - Verse #1
A - Verse #2
B - Chorus #1
C - Bridge
A - Verse #3
B - Chorus #2
A' - Solo (over verse chord progression)
B - Chorus #1 (repeat)
C - Bridge (repeat)
A - Verse #3 (repeat)
B - Chorus #2 (repeat, plus coda)

Of course, the verse structure is very short, with only two rhyming lines. The chorus is, too, but it's comprised of two distinct parts (the "Some day I'm gonna be happy" part and the "Lies, lies/Breakin' my heart" part). Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that it's heard four times over the course of the song, alternating between two different sets of words.

The bridge is also remarkable for its catchiness, which is on par with both the verse and the chorus. Catchy enough, in fact, that it's also heard twice in its entirety, sandwiched in between everything else.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peter and Gordon - "I Go to Pieces" (1964)

C sharp, the sixth of E major, is a crucial pitch in this song. It's heard as the first note in the melody over the first two chords in both the verse and the chorus. Note that it's an appoggiatura (non-chordal tone) over both chords in the verse, though.

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The chorus is almost the same exact melody, so what distinguishes it as more of a hook than the melody in the verse? There's the appearance of the title words, of course, but it's also significant that C sharp is not an appoggiatura over the vi chord in the second measure.

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Finally getting that chordal tone as the first pitch over C sharp minor is more direct and grounds the song in its harmony. The grounding is emphasized by the fact it's also a longer pitch (a quarter note, as opposed to the eighth note in the verse) occurring on the strong downbeat.

*Note: Song written by Del Shannon and it also appears on his 1965 album 1,661 Seconds with Del Shannon.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Raspberries - "Ecstasy" (1973)

At eight bars, there's a sense that the verse of this song is truncated. It's not just the length, though; there's also an irregular lyric pattern with only three lines of text (thirteen syllables, five syllables, and eight syllables, with lines two and three rhyming) and there's no dominant prep chord either. They just go straight from iii to V at the end.

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The truncation adds to the rush to the chorus, which comes after only this one verse, at only thirty-four seconds into the song.