Friday, March 18, 2011

Tyrannosaurus Rex - "Fist Heart, Mighty Dawn Dart" (1970)

Boy, this is an awfully good song. Two electric guitar parts and a really chunky tone on the one in the left channel for that opening G# minor chord. Interesting key center ambiguity in the verse with this chord progression:

G# minor/B major/E major seventh/A major

The tonic very much feels like G# or B here, but the A major doesn't feel like a borrowed chord. It feels diatonic, so there's really a modal situation going on (i.e., G# phrygian/B mixolydian). The sweetness of that E major seventh chord is so rich, I think, partly because of the fact that, in a way, it's actually the home chord here.

The descending guitar line played after the last words of the verse's second line is very strange and beautiful, a descending G#-F#-E-D# occurring over that A major chord.

The chorus adds rumbling electric bass with flat-wound strings and hand drums, then the arrangement switches back for the second verse. After the second chorus, though, the hand drums keep going even as the verse chords come back. Now, the other electric guitar part (just heard briefly at the beginning) takes the solo. With the high-pitched, wordless background vocals, the energy here is very concentrated, and with that descending line occurring again in the other guitar, it is just an incredible display.

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