Sunday, June 8, 2008

PMCPP PRESENTS: Golden Slumbers

PMCPP Analysis #3
KEY: A minor/C Major (?)

All right, here's our first out and out Ba-dum styled song, proving that even late in his career, Macca was still churning out those same 2 songs with nobody noticing. This particular one is rather short (guess he was running out of ways to fool us by this point) but still manages to fit plenty of cliche into that 1:32. Oddly enough this is his second crappy piano song in Abbey Road (You'd think he'd have learned by now!) and not his last. We've got a loooong way to go. Ugh.

THE PIANO: As is the norm for PPS, it opens with a few bars of the material that will be played for pretty much the rest of the song. Most of the piano is played in a fashion where he's only moving up seconds, in the few spots when he does move and doesn't just vamp on the singular chords. He spends almost half the song vamping on the same A minor chord, in fact. Such skill, such finesse. Even when the chords do change he's not working to hard, using only 3 of the notes from 4 note chords almost every time. Couldn't be bothered to wear out that ring finger, eh Paulie?

Not many moving notes, if any, are present in the entire song, leaving all of the material as simple Ba-dumming. (Ba-dumming, of course, being a word.) If there was a way to stick this much Ba-dumming into a full length song, I'd like to see it. I guess Paul loved those short length songs, eh?

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: I should really add the acronym of DAE to the whole FCG concept, those being the relative minors of FCG. For those non-musicians among you, that basically means you're playing the same keys in a different order. This one is in that laziest key of C major, but starting on an A. See, now you're thinking with porta... er, key signatures! Alan Pollack states in his Golden Slumbers analysis that he believes it to be in a sort of C major/A minor hybrid, which to me signifies that he couldn't make up his damn mind on which style of laziness to go with. I personally believe the entire song could easily be said to be in A minor. But I'm not the theorist here, am I? (Alan would then put a :-) here.)

As I mentioned above, the chord choices really all hover harmonically near that minor i (vi?)chord, almost ad nausium. He does, in the 3rd phrase of the verse, throw in several chords in a row around, but none of them really go anywhere, in an odd I-Vofvi-vi-ii progression. That Vofvi chord basically just amounts to a Major III chord, by the way. Actually quite a cliche chord, for the exotic name. He doesn't even voice it correctly, with a very strange sounding F# in it.

I think he was just messing around and hitting random notes until he found something interesting sounding people could talk about later. As if he had any idea what he was doing.

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: Well, the short length of the song means it's really over quite quickly, so you miss most of the monotony. (I myself had to put it on loop on my iPod as I was listening to it during this writing, it was so short.) Besides that, it was almost the end of the Abbey Road medley, so the epicness of the situation blinds you from the song's boring qualities.

Even after that, I'll be the first to admit that it's not even close to his worst song, with an interesting bassline and vocal to mask that piano. Still, by this point in time, you'd think he'd have run out of ideas for those rhythms.

- UZ


Cameron said...

I simply play that chord with the right hand, with the thumb hitting the a. Did he use both hands, I wonder? Maybe.

What's interesting here is the "Sleeep pretty.." With "sleep" over an E7, but the sung pitch gliding from a to g-natural (not sharp which belongs in that chord) giving it some drama.

Lyrically, there's inadvertent interest because I originally thought that "I will sing a lullaby" was intentionally wicked irony leading to an accusation "You're gonna carry that weight."

Of course, later I found the two songs were assembled after the fact. It still works well, though.

UZ said...

That's how I play it as well, actually. There is an A deep in the bass somewhere in there, so I assume he used one hand.

The E7 and the D9 are really the only fun moments in the otherwise dreary song, I agree.

Cameron said...

Rereading this, now that I've settled in with more time.

Okay, this might seem like nit-picking, but in the more rapid series of chord-changes, Macca DOESN'T follow the I with iii, it's "V7-of-vi" - the E7th chord, and to me it makes a world of difference, in that it sets the melodic g above the g# of the chord, giving it a bluesy quality and tension.

I don't care what the sheet music says, I'm right here. I'm not bragging; I suck at many things in life (most things, actually :-P), but I can identify these chords by hearing them.

Not attempting to change anyone's mind, just engaging in my love of spouting off about music.

Cameron said...

Sorry; I missed your follow-up comment!

UZ said...

S'all right.

The iii was a typo, it was supposed to say III (which is my incredibly lazy way of writing V7-vi.) And if you couldn't tell from this series I am nothing if not lazy :D

I love spouting about music myself, it's all goood.

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Anonymous said...

I hear a museum in somewhere had the cd of viagra online, which is actually a Paul copy of Tug of War, well like many people doesn't matter that, because Paul McCartney will be always Paul McCartney for us.
Thanks for sharing.


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