Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Moody Blues - "The Voice" (1981)

A top twenty hit in the U.S., this song has twelve parts. The verse is not of the type to occur in groups of two or more; it needs the chorus to follow, so that happens every time.

After the first two verses, you get the bridge. There is a way they could have ended the bridge after eight bars, but they don't. The four bars that follow ("Can you hear the spirit calling?" etc.) could also bring it to a close, but instead links to a developmental extension. And man, they pour it on here with long-held notes and harmonies. It's an irregular seven-bar phrase and we're already at nineteen bars of the bridge.

Is that enough? No, it needs a repeat! Keep it going! Here, they finally twist it around in six bars instead of seven to finally lead back in to the next verse. Thirty-nine seconds have elapsed.

After a verse, chorus, guitar solo, and another chorus, the bridge repeats. This time, there are new words for the first part, new words for the four-bar extension, but the ending part remains the same, creating a lovely refrain.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Roy Orbison - "Running Scared" (1961)/"In Dreams" (1963)

"Running Scared" is all verse, for a while. Four verses and we're over 70% of the way through the record. No chorus.

A bridge! Developmental, but only 10 bars total if you're counting it as 12/8 time. And that's it. Done. AAAAB.

"In Dreams" pursues a similar strategy, but of course starts with the vocal intro. That's section A.

And then the verses, but only two; this one's got a chorus. It's a long one - 17 bars. (The chorus proceeds like it might end at a square 16, but he adds an extra measure of holding onto the dominant chord.)

Here, we're at a similar point to where we were with "Running Scared," but this time we're only a little more than half-way through. What is the next section that comes? Is it like "Running Scared," where he's just ramping the vocal up into a higher register? No, it's a different chord progression. Doesn't sound like a bridge, though. It echoes the verse with the long-held notes on the downbeats.

Two times through and here comes the development: "I can't help it/I can't help it if I cry/I remember that you said goodbye."

Back to the verse that already changed forms once and now it changes again! The long notes on the downbeats, hammering that fifth scale degree before the finale, which is new chords yet again.

That last section has four distinct parts and so this song looks like ABBCDEFG. That's a far cry from "Running Scared" and yet they're similar songs.