Friday, October 11, 2019

The Muffs - "Baby Go Round" (1993)

Little things. Little things that maybe don't code as "genius," but why not? Are the things that code as "genius" so much bigger? Or so much more significant? I want to look at the structure of this:

Intro - vamp on tonic chord (4 bars) 

Verse (A) - 8 bars, 0:07 - 0:21 

Verse #2 (A) - 8 bars, 0:21 - 0:35 

Pre-chorus (B) - 8 bars, 0:35 - 0:48

OK, there's the first little thing that's maybe not so little. This song has a pre-chorus. The tessitura goes higher to build further toward the chorus. The chord vocabulary changes in order to (seemingly, at least in part) differentiate the section from the verse; whereas the verse had a major III chord and a secondary dominant chord, we switch over to a more classicist I, IV, and V only here.  

Chorus (C) - 12 bars, 0:48 - 1:10

Another thing to note here. This is the first time the bars are not squaring up to an even numbered multiple of four. That's because the chorus has two sections (an eight bar section and a four bar section), both involving refrains. Do you see how elaborate this is? The song has a pre-chorus and then a chorus with two sections.  

Guitar solo (D) - 9 bars, 1:10 - 1:26 I'm calling this section D not just because it's a guitar solo, but because it's a guitar solo over chords that start out like the verse chords but then change to something else. Nine bars because it prolongs the pause on the borrowed iv chord.  

Verse #3 (A) - 8 bars, 1:26 - 1:40 

Pre-chorus (B') - 9 bars, 1:40 - 1:56

I'm calling it B' because it includes an extra bar of dominant prolongation.  

Chorus part one (C') - 8 bars, 1:56 - 2:10

First half of the chorus played in order for it to repeat when the full chorus is played after.  
Chorus (C'') - 14 bars, 2:10 - End

The first section of eight bars and then the second section with an additional refrain prolonging it two bars.

To summarize, a lot of little things. They're all packed in, they all occur at the right time. AABCDAB'C'C'' in two minutes and fifty seconds - heck yeah!

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Go-Go's - "Vacation" (1982)

A 16-bar verse, but there's irregularity, too. Five lyric lines with two sets of rhymes and then a line that doesn't rhyme with anything. (The measures are divided up into 4+4+2+2+4, the first 4+4 being the first rhyme, the 2+2 being the second, and the last 4 the line that's by itself.)

Hey, this song has a pre-chorus. There it is exactly 1:00 in: "A week without you," etc. One minute into the song, two verses in, and already the verses are done. (It's a three minute song.)

While the pre-chorus is an 8-bar, 4+4 rhyme, the chorus stays with the 4+4 but there is no rhyming. In a way, "Meant to be spent alone" is more profound this way. Because it, as a line of poetry, is itself alone.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Ronnie Milsap - "Daydreams About Night Things" (1975)

Who does this? (Well,...John Schweers, apparently.)

Start with the chorus - OK, that maybe doesn't happen every day. (Perhaps it does in country more than I realize.) It's a great one, though; you can see why he did it.

Then, verse one.

Chorus repeat followed by instrumental break.

Chorus again? OK, but wait, we're modulating up here and...oh wow, this is the end of the song!

That's what you might call tight. Two minutes and twenty-three seconds on the record and it's 1975.

The structure of the whole thing is ABACA, a total of five parts. It works because of what seem to me to be unusual lengths for both the chorus (A) and the verse (B). The chorus is actually seventeen bars you can break down into four sections of 4+5+4+4. Can also be looked at as 9+8, with the second eight bars starting like a repeat of the first part but with a different ending and cadence.

Curiously, the verse is seventeen bars also, but this time it's 4+4+4+5, working in the cadence in the last five bars with three measures on the V chord, one bar plus one beat on the I, and then the three beats on the V again for the pickup notes back into the chorus.