Song Analysis

For this task I’ve chosen two songs which are relevant to my upcoming projects in the second half of the trimester.

The Clean – Anything Could Happen

The Clean, hailing from New Zealand put out their first EP Boodle Boodle Boodle in 1981. Anything Could Happen, the third and final track on the A side of the record went on to become one of the bands most popular songs and at a glance one of the more recognisable tracks of the newly coined Dunedin Sound.

Rhythm

The tempo is roughly 129bpm in a 4/4 tempo.

Drum1                  Drum2

3      3                    3     3
HH |xx -xxx-x|       HH | xx-xxx-x|
SN | –  X –  X |       SN | –  X –  X |
KD | X –  X –  |       KD |xx – xx – |

These are the main two drum parts.

  • Verse 1 – Drum1
  • Chorus 1 – Drum2
  • Verse 2  – Drum1 > Drum2

Chorus 2 – Drum1> Drum2

Melody

The vocal melody uses few notes and a spoken tone, relying on slurs and changes pitch sparingly to accentuate particular words or phrases. If i were to break it down, this is how the melody appears.

PERIOD 1
PHRASE 1
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
Went to a doctor,       said I look so hard

PHRASE 2
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
And with a smile        on his face pointed to a junkyard

PERIOD 2
PHRASE 1
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
Look for an answer    in empty doorways

PHRASE 2
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
Talk to a dancer,         said it’s out on the highways

Harmony

The chord progression is EBAE, and the lead plays a jangly arpeggiated melody over the top following the rhythm guitars changes & progression.

Timbre

Drums: The timbre of the drums is very brittle and I have a sneaking suspicion that there were no overheads and 57s were used into a tape machine to enrich the sound. Another thing I noticed was that there appears to be a gated reverb on the snare which fits nicely with the era.

Lead Guitar: Jangly 60s/surf sound

Rhythm Guitar: Nice big bodied warm sounding acoustic

Vox: Limited tone; speaker or bandpass like quality, with a slapback type reverb effect panned left to offset the guitar – could have been recorded a few paces back from sm57 (muffled/distant sounding)

Form

Length: 2m 39s

Intro (16 Bars; Rhythm from start of song; Bass&Lead start Bar 7)
Verse 1 (16 Bars)
Chorus 1 (12 Bars; Vocal line 4 bars, repeated over 2nd 4 bars; guitar “bridge” last 4 Bars)
Verse 2 (16 Bars)
Chorus 2 (12 Bars; Vocal line 4 bars, repeated over 2nd 4 bars; guitar “bridge” last 4 Bars)
Outro
(8 Bars)

Shit Narnia – Claremont Boys

Shit Narnia are a Perth band whom I am set to record with Lee and Sam.
They classify themselves as poetic gutter-punk and have recently recorded an EP at the Flytrap (linked above).

Rhythm

The tempo is roughly 164bpm with a small breakdown dropping to around 127bpm before returning to 164bpm and finally finishing in another small breakdown seemingly slower around 120bpm (this may not be exact and could be the result of them trying to bring the song to a standstill/abrupt ending).

Melody

The melody consists of lead guitar riff calling and responding to itself in a jagged rock fashion

Harmony

No harmony?

Timbre

Drums: Quite a dark sounding kit with the movement of the toms giving a primal feel. Snare + Hi-Hat played together give the snare hit a sizzle that’s quite unique.

Bass: Rich and distorted sitting behind the guitar for most of the song creating almost a single instrument which the lead the leaps out from in the second motive of each phrase.

Guitar: Distorted/Electric

Vocals: Raw, small amounts of distortion

Form

Length: 1m 54s

Intro (2 Bars; Scream)
Verse 1 (16 Bars)
Bridge 1 (4 Bars)
Verse 2 (16 Bars)
Breakdown 1 (4 bars)
Bridge 2 (8 Bars)
Verse 3 (16 Bars)
Breakdown 2 / Outro (8 Bars)

COMPARISON

Rhythm

Both share a 4/4 rhythm shared typically with many rock songs. The tempo change for breakdown 1 & 2/Outro is typical of post hardcore, a genre Shit Narnia claim to be influenced by. It is also typical of the Perth scene currently, where many “rock” (I use the term extremely loosely for ease of classification) bands incorporate breakdowns into their music. This could be from an influence of the high presence of post hardcore bands in Perth a la the last 5-10 years of HQ one of the few underage venues around the city.

Melody

I have concentrated on the vocal melody in the first and the instrumental melody in the second, as that as how I interpret the songs, however if I was to look at the vocal delivery both songs share similar characteristics, however Claremont Boys melody is arranged differently to accommodate the style of writing.

Harmony

Anything Could Happen’s chord progression follows an ABCA ABCA format the whole way through whereas Claremont Boys follows a ABC ABC format (Including breakdowns).

Timbre

Anything Could Happen is a much brighter happier sounding song. It may have the drive or a garage song but it has the jangly guitars of 60s pop. Claremont boys overdriven and big sounding guitar/bass is something more modern than the 80s, and something i associate more with bands like death from above 1979 and other “2 man bands” that have surfaced/resurfaced recently.

Form

The most obvious difference between the two songs apart from the addition of the breakdowns in Claremont Boys, is the lack of any chorus. There is already enough repetition in the song and slowing it down for a chorus would cause it to lose drive and momentum that make it punk, as well as take away from the focus of the song.

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