Friday, June 6, 2008

PMCPP PRESENTS: Maxwell's Silver Hammer

MAXWELL'S SILVER HAMMER
PMCPP Analysis #2
Key: D Major
Rhythm used: Chunk

Today's study is on a textbook example of the chunk rhythm. Our next study will be an example of the Ba-dum rhythm, just so you can have a fair idea of how both of them work. This will also provide some insight into one of the few keys he goes into when he's not FCGing.

THE PIANO: Old school chunking here. This is one of his more in-depth chunking songs, though, as during verses he occasionally throws in a couple of single notes, though it's nothing special or memorable as it's mostly (read: all) just running down the scale in seconds. In the interum between verse extension and chorus, he even throws in a so-cliche-it's-not-even-funny little "Da dum dum dum" sort of piano riff. As if this song couldn't get more cliche. Ugh.

That part I labeled "extension" provides even more laziness into the already lazy song by allowing him to only have to play 2 chords (not over and over, total. 2 chords) in a 4 measure period, which just happen to be similar to chords he'd already played! Paul's laziness at it's best, I tell ya.

LAZINESS IN WRITING: This song may not be in FCG, but it's in D, which is only a bit better. Looking through the Paul McCartney body of work, it's one of the few keys he ever ventures off into. Guess he must've taken a piano lesson in D one time or something and just kept reusing it to attempt and prove he could actually do stuff.

This song shines in the "stupid lyrics and idea" department, so much so that even the other Beatles had to stop him from making this a single. Of course, since the song involves Paul and a piano, it'd have sold millions. Seriously, it's about a dude who goes around and beats up people with his hammer. No real reason why he does it is given, I guess the guy is just insane. Shouldn't we find psychiatric help for people who write songs about guys killing their girlfriends with hammers?

The bassline and such really isn't too special either, just being seemingly random notes from whatever chord is going in quarter notes with rests in between. Really, I can't find anything in this song that doesn't scream "Written while drunk at 4 AM on a Sunday." Even Ringo didn't sound particularly inspired on this track.

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: I'm not quite sure why people didn't rip him apart for this one, since I have yet to find a redeeming quality to it. I guess by this point people were just so happy that the Beatles were still recording that they would've accepted an album of 12 versions of "Dig It" for some new Beatles. Most of Abbey Road was better than that, thank god. Maybe the awesomeness of the other songs just masked this one from people's minds.

- UZ

11 comments:

D said...

You've got some points here; Paul really doesn't use more than a couple patterns throughout his entire oeuvre.

In the interest of fairness, though, don't Martha My Dear (which has frazzled most of the pianists I know on the first, say, twenty tries) or For No One (it's in B major) deserve some kind of mention?

UZ said...

Those will be getting seperate mentions later on in the series in a special column, to show that eventually he did indeed start making passable songs.

Who are you, anyway?

D said...

Just someone who found your blog.

Oh, it occurs to me that there is one redeeming quality to this song: it's fricking hilarious, in a likely unintentional way. Seriously, it's Paul fricking McCartney, king of sappy, silly love songs, singing with a straight face and the usual style about some kid who kills people with a hammer.

UZ said...

Heh, fair enough.

This would be easier if you had email or something to converse with, since I can't see your profile.

spookierthanu said...

"I'm not quite sure why people didn't rip him apart for this one"

Truth be told, they more or less did...and have continued to. This song is one of the most disliked in the Beatles' catalog. Only McCartney seems to love it - going so far as to include its lyrics in a book of original "poetry" several years back.

He should've kept "Come and Get It" for the Beatles and put it on Abbey Road instead of Maxwell. It's a better pop song overall, but still would give you plenty to write about since the piano part is in typical McCartney style (or lack thereof).

UZ said...

I know, but one of my friends claims it as her favorite Beatles song. So... I kind of had to ask why EVERYONE didn't hate it.

That and Macca still seems to like it, so it can't be pardoned.

spookierthanu said...

Yeah, I'm surprised Macca hasn't done it in concert ever. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad he hasn't. He's pillaged his share of the Beatles songs so thoroughly for his shows, I can imagine him adding this one next time.

Actually, to be blatantly honest, I would rather hear Maxwell than yet another by-rote version of Hey Jude, or Let It Be, or Yesterday.

UZ said...

I don't think he's done You Know My Name (Look up the number) either. Maybe he can do a double feature of that with the silver hammer. At least it'll seem like he's TRYING to be funny with it then.

Cameron said...

As I understand it, You know my Name was, surprisingly, John's tune. As was the Ringo sung "Good Night" (the shmaltz in both was intentional and humorous to my ears.)

UZ said...

I was sure that they "co-wrote" You Know My Name, as it were. Kind of a bit of a joint joke effort on their parts.

At least they weren't trying to write anything special like Paul seemed to be trying to do here.

Carlo said...

This is amazing because I've heard they get excellent inspiration and they're very talented because they take everyday generic viagra, I think I'm gonna do the same.

NOTE:

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