Friday, September 13, 2013

The Dirtbombs - "It's Gonna Be Alright" (2013)

In a Spin piece, Mick Collins says of this track, "I listened to all five Archies albums with the specific aim of writing (a song) that sounded like an Archies song."

Apart from just sounding like the Archies (which I think it does), there are a couple of structural elements to this song that I wanted to point out. If these didn't come from Archies records, they certainly came from the vast, wider tradition in which pop songs do great and subtle things.

The song starts with a repeating riff, then switches to a vamp on the tonic chord and Collins starts singing. He sings the first line once, then it's repeated with a harmony vocal. It sounded like a verse was starting, but it's not; it ends there.

What is this? It is, I suppose, a refrain that is not a chorus. (I hear this and think, "I've heard this in a bubblegum song. Maybe more than one." I don't know which songs, though.)

After an instrumental section, the repeating riff comes back and now the verse starts as lines over the riff.

There are eight lines in these verses (two verses total in the song). You can understand why he did it that way; four lines over four utterances of the riff is too short. In the first verse, the second set of four lines aren't linked inextricably to the first four, but they are in the second verse where they extend the theme for a total number of eight lines.

To me, this is someone not taking the easy way out at all and is just real nose-to-the grindstone songwriting:

If you're feelin' bad
And you wanna scream and shout
Do this thing every day
That's really gonna help you out
Call some sunshine down
Let a little into your heart
Take the rest and spread it around
And that oughta do for a start

The album on which this song appears is being released next week and is currently streaming here.

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