Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wire - "Outdoor Miner" (1978)

Really nice how this plays around with the descending vi-V-IV chord progression.

Verses each have a pair of rhyming phrases. The first phrase has less of a functional feel, starting on the IV chord and then going up to vi, from which it descends along the vi-V-IV. The precedent of going from IV to vi at the beginning of that phrase, though, sets up the next line. By ending the first line on the IV, they can move to the vi again and start the second phrase on that chord. That second phrase, then, is just vi-V-IV, a more recognizable, functional harmonic formula and the phrase that finally leads to the tonic chord that begins the chorus. (Note also that the more recognizable harmonic line is where they bring in the vocal harmonies.)

Last part of the song, the single verse with the different melodic lines and the abbreviated conclusion, is all quite pleasant.

"Outdoor Miner" on Lala.

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