Friday, December 18, 2009

PMCPP PRESENTS: Getting Better

GETTING BETTER
PMCPP Analysis #19
Key: C Major
Rhythm: Chunk

This song's piano part is pretty much impossible to hear in the mix unless you're listening really carefully, but trust me it's there. If you actually manage to hear the electric keyboard in between all the overly chime-y guitars and loud seizure inducing bass part, you might want to unhear it anyway. Here we goooooo!

THE PIANO: The piano isn't actually playing throughout the entire song like most Paul songs, which usually entail smacking the piano in straight quarter notes for whole 4 minute periods. Instead, this piano part is just consisted of 2 basic chords repeated in the Treble clef (there's no bass part for the keyboard) every... couple of measures. Weee. It's like Paul started writing a piano part, quit halfway through, and then couldn't be buggered - that's a word - to take the random chords lying all over the place out of the mix.

The chords in question are a C Major chord in the 2nd inversion (G-C-E) and a D Minor chord in the same inversion. (A-D-F) These two chords are played in seemingly random orders as the song goes along. After a looooong while an E Minor chord and an F Major chord are added - both also in that inversion - but only played a couple measures a piece in the song. The C and D chords are still going almost the entire time, even when the actual chord implied by the song isn't a C or D. They appear in the same measure during a G chord, for crying out loud!

Hilariously, and as if to prove how god-damn easy this song is, the entire sheet music for this song contains almost nothing but repeat signs in the piano line.

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: Well, it's in the key of C. Not even a fun bluesy version of C, but just regular straight forward C. Over a pedal point at parts of the song, no less! To give Paul the slightest of credits, I can at the very least say he didn't make the Pedal the entire song works over a C as well. If he had, I would probably have shot myself in the writing of this analysis.

The entire song works over a pedal of G, which might have just been Paul trying to trick us into thinking he was using a sharp or something, somewhere in the tune. There's no sharps to be found though, don't bother looking. In fact, in a move that makes him LOOK like he's trying to avoid anything fun to play, he made the main chord progression as follows;

C-Dm-Em-F-G.

Yeah.

Our friend Paul couldn't be buggered - I'm sticking with that damn word! - to write a bass part either. He literally just made it up as he was going along. Funny enough, he couldn't think of anything better than two G's leaping up a couple octaves apart.

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: I guess people realized the album would be "Getting Better" after this song ended.

Friday, December 4, 2009

PMCPP PRESENTS: Why Don't We Do It In the Road?

WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD?
PMCPP Analysis #18

Key: D Major
Rhythm: Chunk

Yeah, I know, analyzing this song is gonna be about as hard as shooting fish in a toilet. But I said I was doing all of Paul's Piano songs, so we had to get this one out of the way eventually!

THE PIANO: Oh dear lord, this is too easy.

Unlike You Won't See Me
or Back in the USSR, Paul seemed to be content here keeping the song as low grade as he possibly could by eliminating any unnecessary piano rhythms by simply keeping it at the usual Paul fare of 4-on-the-floor smacking of the keys, this changes at no point in the song except for between verses when the whole song stops minus Paul's screeching.

Calling it 4 on the floor is a bit misleading because it's actually 8 on the floor. He's hitting eighth notes rather than quarters, giving both a sense that the song is longer than it actually is and that he actually made a 24 bar rather than 12 bar.

The chords themselves are obvious easy to play 3 note chords, adding the 7th to the root chord he just changes 1 finger instead of adding to the chord that's already there. Durf.

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: Hard to say what the worst part of this is. That coma-inducing piano part, the fact that the guitar is playing really easy repeated arpeggios the whole time, the fact that he wrote a 12-bar in the first place, the fact that the bass part is something you'd hear on a kindergartners keyboard demo, or the amazing lyrical skills in play.
Why don't we do it in the road?
Why don't we do it in the road?
Why don't we do it in the road?
Why don't we do it in the road?
No one will be watching us
Why don't we do it in the road?


Kill me.

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: He didn't really, the white album was so fucked up already and so many people were busy discussing the LSD induced stupor of Revolution #9 that I'm fairly sure most people forgot this song existed the second it ended.

Except me, unfortunately.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

PMCPP Presents: You Won't See Me

YOU WON'T SEE ME
PMCPP Analysis #17

Key: A Major
Rhythm: Chunkity Chunk chunk chunk

*cough*

Oh. Hi.

Hey, uh... apparently some people still read this.

I'm as surprised as you, trust me.

So, uh... I guess I should start doing this again! Let's get it going with one of my favorite songs from Rubber Soul, You Won't See Me.

THE PIANO: Memorize the following pattern; --2-3and-and.

Congratulations! You can now play You Won't See me! The entire verse consists of nothing but that one pattern over. And over. And over again! The chords on piano rarely in the song contain more than 2 notes in the right hand, and in fact sometimes there's only 1 note in the "chord" at any time. It's not a piano run I'm talking about either, it's just usually him making a leap between chords which he needs a bridge to so he doesn't miss the note (that's my story, I'm sticking to it!)

In the bass, we have the usual fare of Macca hitting the root notes with every single chord he plays. The only actual piano run you'll find in the song is in the bass, at the very start of the carnage. And by run I mean "play a D chord in the first inversion note by note". Naturally there is nothing going on in the right hand at that point to screw him up.

For the Bridge we go from simple to mecha-simple by changing the pattern to a simple "four on the floor" style smashing of the same 2 note chords as before, with the same 1 note repeating bass notes. The entire part for the piano is naturally peppered with naturals to keep it on what equates to a musical 4th grade reading level.

If that even made sense.

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: In Macca's old standard key of A Major filled with random bluesy influences (making the sharp notes not sharp notes no more) and as I pointed up there, a really damn easy piano part. But what of the rest of the song?

Macca wrote this song with the wonderful addition of there being a hidden sort of pedal point (albeit in the Treble instead of the bass) throughout the whole song. Seriously, just about every single chord that exists that contains an A is used in this song. I guess since he couldn't find a way to shift the song into the key of C he needed SOMETHING to keep himself amused. To be fair I would be surprised if he didn't look at that juicy D-minor chord he kept sticking into the song (another clever way to remove those unsightly F#'s from the score!) and consider using a Dm-G7-C progression just for shits and giggles.

But that's just me.

By the way, our friend Macca also hired a guy to hit a mid-range A on an organ for the last verse. No other notes, just an A. The whole verse. I'll just let you make your own joke here because if I listed every possible guffaw that could be had out of Paul having to HIRE a guy to hold one note down for 20 seconds I would run out of room on the internet.

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: The piano part is thankfully hidden fairly well away in this song, being covered by a fuckawesome drum part made by Ringo, (actually one of my favorite drum parts of all time!) a really loud bunch of sliced chords on guitar every 2nd and 4th beat, and a pretty nice sounding hilltop style bass part put in by Paul.

So basically if Paul had tried one of HIS drum parts (See: Back in the USSR) and put the piano too much higher in the mix, the song would just suck outright. But chalk at least one smart move up to Paul with this one, maybe he realized how bad he was just for once??!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PMCPP Presents: Ever Present Past

EVER PRESENT PAST
PMCPP Analysis #16
KEY: C Major
RHYTHM USED: N/A

This is really me going off on a random Tangent. This'll be one of two songs from the Memory Almost Full album I'll do, I prefer picking on his Beatles stuff more than solo material. The reason this is being posted is mainly due to me finding this video of Paul showing us how to play this one, and it's almost laughable how easy he continues to tell us it is. I'll be doing a slightly different format this time around since it's more of a mini-analysis tangent than anything.

THE GUITAR: Wow. Well among all those chords on the acoustic you'll notice he's pretty much doing nothing but basic first position chords on that guitar. You know, that group of chords most college kids learn and play every "arrangement" they use with? That's all he's got here. Hell, he's not even playing the usual Barre version of F, he's got the 4 string easy-way-out version going there. Even better is that he actually skips a bunch of the song on guitar on the studio recording, it's just drum and bass.

The Electrics are a bit more innovative. And by "innovative" I mean "not overly cliche." And by "electrics" I mean his Casio. The Gibson is quite literally just banging away on a high G for the intro and that's it. It's basically Getting Better without the other notes making it sound good. The little D-F-C riff is pretty nifty, but he does his usual gambit of repeating it ad-nauseum until I can't bear to hear it anymore. It's also a lot more muddy on the actual recording than it is in the video. In fact, the video version is pretty much head and shoulders above the official recording, maybe he should re-release the single with that little abridged version he did.

Other than that all we have are those barre chords he finally does pull off on his Casio during the chorus, plus a couple of weird... seemingly random bursts of notes on the other electric spread neatly around the song.

Some of the sounds in guitar on the recording are way too scratchy to be considered a real guitar track, I think. It sounds like he's just slashing the strings with a pick on the frets themselves sometimes.

THE PERCUSSION: Ah, another installment of PMCPP, (the P is for percussion!) I love it!

Apparently he has gained no useful drumming skills since Back in the USSR. Seriously, what the hell man. He even acknowledges how simple the drum part is. He can't just launch into it like a good drummer either, he has to get a few warm up hits on the hi-hat before he starts Cliche Rock Beat #1. And all this with a fucking click track!

Also note that the best "twiddly bits" he could come up with was really two repeats of the 2 fills he used over and over again on Back in the USSR. That is to say he never actually switches the drum he's filling on. We have a little 4 note fill on the snare and an eight-on-the-floor bit with the toms. Gag me with a spoon.

The fact that someone in the comments mentioned that Paul was a better drummer than Ringo made me facepalm harder than any other face has ever palmed before.

The "twiddly bits" thing is still hilarious, though.

THE BASS: Paul himself admits that this is basically made of nothing but root notes here. In fact, he even admits that he was going to fly up higher on the bass for some interesting fills... but didn't! Fail.

Also, dig that... interesting thumb picking style he does. I've never seen such a style. :/

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: "It's in the key of C!" As if we couldn't have figured that out.
Also, "I de-I, de-I did?" Really?

HOW PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: Well, it only got up to #10 on the Billboard charts, after all. ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

PMCPP Presents: Maybe I'm Amazed

MAYBE I'M AMAZED
PMCPP Analysis #15
Key: B-flat Major (With moments in A and D)
Rhythm: Both Ba-Dum and Chunk, with a minor interlude of melodic movement

Pre-analysis explaination: The actual key signature in this song doesn't really matter since both Bb and D have 2 accidentals which keeps it within my "he never strays farther than that" point, but the reason that I have the song parsed in Bb instead of D like many other people stems from how I've always thought of the song. Rather than hearing that opening A-Major as a deceptive V of D that instead moved to Bb, I've always heard it as sort of a detached section that moves naturally up to the Bb up a step, namely because such a section never appears again.

Moving onto the solo songs a bit, since I fully intend to show that even after he left the Beatles his piano chops really haven't changed too much at all. This song was released well over ten years after Paulie started his piano playing and what does it show? Pretty much shows that he's figured out nothing but how to combine his two famous rhythms.

THE PIANO: Not the most horrifically stupid piano part in Rock music, but still, it's nothing we haven't seen before. The song starts off on a simple Ba-Dum rhythm on A Major, moving to a D and eventually to an interestingly not-in-the-key-oh-God-is-he-foreshadowing-a-key-change Dm chord. Now that he's sufficiently pulled you into thinking the song is in A Major, he abruptly (after a few slow arpeggios up the same 3 notes that made up that starting A chord) cuts out an accidental and switches to B-Flat major as the home key.

At the point of the key change he swaps out the Ba-Dumming for some old time comping on the chunk. Heavy play is given to the V-V chord - C, his favorite - as well as a particular avoidance of the Eb chord - with 2 whole accidentals in it - until one small appearance at the end of it all. (More talk about these key changes and whatnot will be had in the next section)

In the middle of the B-flat section is probably the only bit of interesting melodic movement song-wide. All the action stops and Paul does a flashy little run up the bass. "Flashy" is a euphamism for "cliche", but compared to the rest of the song it's pretty damn flashy. I'm sure you've also guessed by now that the run follows the usual Paul McCartney method of melodic movement.

Photobucket

Yeah, it's a 1 measure long run up seconds with nothing else going on on the piano at the time. Actually, the entire track stops when he does that run. Showing off his amazing running abilities?

The Bridge goes into the key of D, but all the while his right hand is smacking block chords he finds a way to stop the pain by placing a pedal point throughout almost every chord in the section. So his hand stays on an octive D in the bass for the entire bridge, nothing special. After the D-pedalfest, the song repeats the sections and goes off into the sunset. Weeee

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: While I really can't trash on the number of chords he uses this time, I can trash the WAY he uses them.

There's quite a few chord types in this song, going through 3 different key signatures will do that. Strangely though he manages to use a chord that doesn't naturally appear in ANY of the 3 keys in this song, C Major. G major is used more often in the Bb section than it is in the D section, which confuses the hell out of me. He also, as I noted before, avoids using the Eb chord entierly in the Bb section until a small appearance in the end which finally proves it as a Bb section.

Without that Eb I could've easily made a case for this songs home key being C Major. G appears several times in a PAC-manner for the V-V C chord during the Bb sections, after all. And if you had a song that contained tons of C, F, and G chords with a Bb thrown in every so often, you would most likely treat it as a C song with flat-vii chords around it.

The A section of the song contains that D-minor chord as I had pointed out before, D-minor belonging nowhere NEAR A major, theoretically. The D section has the Pedal point which makes it much more simplistic than it would be over a kick-ass bassline.

The fact that the lyrics are a cliche blabfest about Paul being in love is nothing special either. :/

WHY PAUL GOT AWAY WITH IT: Well honestly most people wouldn't realize half the shit I wrote in this one unless it was carefully pointed to them. Other than that it sounds like a normal Paul McCartney song. And people seem to like those.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

UMFOTOB PRESENTS: Love You To

LOVE YOU TO
PMCPP Analysis #14
K-

No, you know what? No. I can't bring myself to listen to that song enough to write even a paragraph on it. I'd sooner carve my eyes out with small yet potent hot poker chips. George and his sitar can go jump off a cliff for all I care.


Stupid freakin...

NOTE:

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