“What Do They Have In Common?”, ep. 2

From: Ian

To: Dan

What do the following three songs have in common? It’s a pretty unusual property.

You’ll probably get this right away. For some reason I’ve been in music obsession mode the last few days…

From: Dan

To: Ian

I'm totally drawing a blank here. And BTW that I'm Still Standing video... wow, if I wanted to make a cartoon about a stereotype of cartoons about stereotypes about the '80s...

From: Ian

To: Dan

Those songs all have major verses and minor choruses. And I cannot think of any other songs that do this, though of course there must be some.

Yeah, that Still Standing video is over the top. But my favorite video from the 80s has to be this one:

I sort of think they were trying to be funny, because I cannot recreate the mindset that would have led someone to make this video earnestly.

From: Dan

To: Ian

Ah, yes. I was so busy looking for out-of-key chords that I didn't even pay attention to song structure at all.

Can't Buy Me Love starts the chorus with a minor, so is at least mostly minor in the chorus. Also unusual in that it starts with the chorus:

And "I Get Around" is definitely "more minor" in the chorus, even though it's major (G E7 Am is as close as you could get without actually being minor):

Speaking of the Beach Boys, "Dance Dance Dance" has a key change I really like... it's just a standard half-step at exactly the place it always happens (right before the last chorus), but I find it unexpected in a good way:

In contrast, "Do You Wanna Dance" has a key change that I think sounds horrible (~1:30) (basically the solo is just over totally random chords, then it goes back to where it started):

Also sometimes it's mind-blowing how awkward white people are on stage.

From: Ian

To: Dan

Lesson for Ian: listen to the Beach Boys. That chord progression and the overall structure of I Get Around is simply outstanding.

From: Ian

To: Dan

After listening a bit more I don't think the chorus of I Get Around is that close to being minor. It's I VI ii bVII → V, and without a vi chord or even a III, it's pretty hard to call it minor -- though there is that minor cadence from VI to ii.

By the way, I absolutely love any bVII → V transition. Another song that does this is Bad Medicine, right before the chorus.

From: Dan

To: Ian

I think I was calling VI "kind of minor". In fact I think VI is more minor than vi would be in this context.

From: Ian

To: Dan

Yeah, because you get that minor cadence in the ii key. I'll buy that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *