Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Parliaments - "Don't Be Sore at Me" (1967)

After the intro, you get the chorus of this song first. It's not a chorus that rides a particularly dynamic peak, however, and is in fact quite expository in nature.

It therefore has verse-like characteristics. The first line (the refrain) occurs as the iii chord and the ii chord are merely descending to the tonic, arriving with a very weak cadence (iii-ii-I) if you can call it one at all.

Line two then moves from the tonic en route back to the iii chord for line number three, where you get a repeat of the chords from line one. Line four repeats the chords from line two. The expository nature of these progressions is, in my estimation, verse-like, but the phrasing of the words is not. It's a catchy chorus.

The verse has two parts. The first four bars have two lines of text that run into each other as the tonic chord makes its way toward a secondary dominant (V/ii). Now, they're going to use that ii chord that follows as a dominant prep, but it's not time yet. It's still near the beginning of the verse, so although the chords have been changing every measure for the first four bars, we now get a chord that stays the same for seven bars. When they finally go to the dominant chord in the twelfth and last bar of the verse, they phrase it as a ninth chord so it retains a little of the character of the long-held ii chord that precedes it. It's quite beautiful.

At this point, they could have just gone into a chorus repeat, but the prominent ii chord of the verse contrasts with the crucial chord of the chorus, which is iii. Instead of just letting this juxtaposition occur, there's a little two-bar turnaround phrase ("Darling, forgive me please") where they prepare the iii chord by way of the vi.