What’s That Chord… what’s that chord… it’s iv!

…breaking down the theme(s) to “New Girl”.

From: Dan

To: Ian, Raja, Doantam

Clearly my favorite chord in the 21-second New Girl theme song is the iv, as in IV→iv:

[C] Hey [A]girl, [F] whatcha [G] doing?
[C] Hey [A]girl , [F] where you [G] going?
[F] Who's that girl?
[Fm] Who's that girl?
It's [C]Jess!

The substitution of VI (A) for vi (Am) in the usual I→vi→IV→V pattern is nice, but I’ll take the iv any day as my favorite chord here.

In fact it’s so obviously the best chord that after season 1, they started airing it as just a 5-second version of the theme that’s only IV→iv→I, which isn’t explicitly on YouTube, but it’s literally just this:

[F] Who's that girl?
[Fm] Who's that girl?
It's [C]Jess!

If you like IV→iv, and you know I do, this is as close as we’re ever going to get to a song that’s 100% IV→iv.

Interestingly, pilot episodes are always a little rough around the edges, and the IV→iv was added after the pilot episode, because clearly what the show needed was more IV→iv. Here’s the IV→iv-less pilot theme:

The full song (longer than the TV-theme version) actually has all sorts of other good chords, including a dusting of II (D), and… wait for it… wait for it… wait a little longer… I→I7→IV→iv! Huzzah! It all comes back to I→I7→IV→iv.

My transcription below, non-diatonics highlighted as always.


From: Dan

To: Ian, Raja, Doantam

Oooh, before the transcription, in these 21 seconds there's another awesome thing. I love 7ths in prominent places in the melody, preferably dominant sevenths. The melody on "hey girl, what you doing?" is basically C G E G. If I told you just that, and asked you to predict the chord progression, your first 17 guesses would be more or less I V vi I, or I V vi V. But you'd be wrong and wrong, tricked by two clever 7ths: the first G is over an A chord (so it's the dominant 7th of the chord), and the E is over an F chord (so it's the major 7). I could take or leave a major 7, but I loves me that dominant 7th over the already-unexpected VI chord. Melody notes are in lower-case here:

[C,c]Hey girl[A,g], [F,e]what you [G,g]doing?

If this is any indication, I think I might have to go through a quirky indie-rock phase.

Now the transcription:

{title:Zooey Deschanel - Hey Girl (long)}
{artist:Zooey Deschanel}
{key:C}
{preferred_key:C}

{c:Intro}
[F][Fm]

[C]Don't let the sunshine [F]fall from the [G]sky
[C]Just find the sunshine [D]in your own [G]eyes

[F]You're a [Fm]lollipop, no [C]second prize
[D]An apple somewhere, in some[G7]body's eyes

{soc}
[C]Hey [A]girl,[F] whatcha [G]doing?
[C]Hey [A]girl,[F] where you [G]going?

[C]Shot in the arm[C7], a twinkly eye
[F]She could have fell, fell [Fm]out of the sky
[C]She could have [C7]fell right [D]out of the sky

[F]Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?)
[Fm]Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?)
{eoc}

[C]Don't let the moonshine [F]cry up the [G]night
[C]Set from your shadow, [D]and make it [G]bright

[F]You're a [Fm]lollipop, no [C]second prize
[D]An apple somewhere, in some[G7]body's eyes

{soc}
[C]Hey [A]girl,[F] whatcha [G]doing?
[C]Hey [A]girl,[F] where you [G]going?
[C]You get down, [C7] and make a frown
[F]She's gonna turn, turn, [Fm]turn it around
[C]She's gonna [C7]turn, turn, [D]turn it around
[F]Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?)
[Fm]Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?)
{eoc}

{c:solo}
[C][C][C][C][F][Fm][G][G]
[C][C][C][C][D][D][G][G]
[F][F][Fm][Fm][C][C][C][C]
[D][D][D][D][G7][G7][G7][G7]

{soc}
[C]Hey [A]girl,[F] whatcha [G]doing?
[C]Hey [A]girl,[F] where you [G]going?
[C]You get down, [C7]and make a frown
[F]She's gonna turn, turn, [Fm]turn it around
[C]She's gonna turn, turn, [D]turn it around
[F]Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?)
[Fm]Who's that girl? (Who's that girl?)
It's [C]Jess!
{eoc}

3 thoughts on “What’s That Chord… what’s that chord… it’s iv!

  1. Ian

    I thought I didn’t like iv as much as Dan does, but it might just be the IV -> iv transition. Tempted by Squeeze has a few II -> iv transitions, and they’re super crunchy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmlCJFaUnKI

    I don’t hate IV -> iv, mind you, I just give it about the same number of interesting harmony points as, say II -> V. As in, it gets points for being non-diatonic, and for sounding “nice”, but those are the only points it gets.

    Reply
  2. Charles Eliot

    OK, if iv doesn’t get enough harmony points, try these approaches: (1) take the iv, drop the 5th a half-step, and treat it as a half-diminished (ivb5); or (2) take the iv, add a 6, and either wail on that m13 like the funk-god that you are, or treat it as a V7b9 and pretend to be Charlie Christian for a while.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Key Changes Faster Than You Can Say “Diatonic” | The Doctor (of Rock)

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