Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PMCPP PRESENTS: Birthday

BIRTHDAY
PMCPP Analysis #7
KEY: A Major
RHYTHM USED: Chunk

What song did you think I was going to do, it's his BIRTHDAY. Seriously, folks. Get with it! Anyway, this is another study not featuring all that much piano, but Yoko is in it. And I don't like Yoko. So... automatic down points. It can only get worse! :D

THE PIANO: The Piano really doesn't appear until halfway through the song when it joins in with that guitars/bass combo on what I suppose you could call the instrumental solo. The part is 98% devoted to doing 3 note chunks, most of them on or near root position. There is no left hand part present.

The rhythm used for pretty much all the piano work is straight eigth notes, nothing really special to be seen, in a "start on the and of 1 and end on the and of 3" sort of way. I think I just set the world record for most uses of the word "and" in a sentence, cool. The piano here also appears to have gotten stuck through some sort of distortion or mechanical sound effects sort of thing. It's got a very echo-y yet sharp sound to it. Almost makes up for the fact that the part sucks totally, really. Shame, Paul. You almost had me there.

Right at the end of the song, Paul finally shows some attempt at merit with a little arpeggiation number of eigth notes. Because he would be unable to move that fast on eighth notes on the brisk 140 BPM that Birthday rides on, he decides instead to slow the tempo down about 40 or 60 or so. Cheap tactics, Paul. And he couldn't even finish it out with any variation, he just repeats the same 4 notes twice. And to add insult to injury, all those notes blend together until it's a big piano-y mess near the end.

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: This song is automatically lazy at it's core. It's one of the few Beatles songs written in 12-bar-blues format, which is the songwriting equivalent of writing a 3 page childrens book called "Cats on Wheels". Anyone can do it. For those of you unfamiliar with 12 bar blues, that means you utilize 3 different chords; I, IV and V, the ol' "these are the only chords that hippee guy with the guitar knows" chords. Every verse of the song is put into this form, with NO differences in chord structure otherwise. The only real addition to any of the verses is actually that piano we'd discussed earlier.

In between verses and bridge is an odd connector section that I feel needs discussing because Paul managed to make the whole damn 14 bars of it contain 1 chord total. That's not harmonic movement, it's a harmonic tarpit, with that V chord slowly being sucked into it.

The bridge is slightly odd, in that it contains a modulation to the key of Flat-III via a V-V-V-V chord (don't strain yourself) in the new key. This key, since Paul can't possibly stay in A for very long without burning his poor FCG-lovin' mind out, is the key of C. So he somehow managed to make a chord that has nothing to do with C lead into the key of C. Even when he hits that new key, he's STILL stuck on just I and V chords throughout the bridge. This is also where Yoko does background, so lets just move on before I vomit, K? :D

Speaking of Key Signatures, you'll notice this is in A. However, note that Paul really only writes in "bluesy" A, which is code for "making everything that is sharp natural instead." Tons of C-naturals are present in this tune, making things quite simplistic when you actually look at them. Cry for the lost C#'s, men, cry.

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: Uh... No clue. I suppose they could've used the "getting back to our roots" excuse, but they never did 12-bar-blues back then either... Hm.

WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGUARLY SCHEDULED PMCPP.

- UZ

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NOTE:

This series and blog is totally tongue in cheek. I really do love Paul McCartney.