Wednesday, March 25, 2009

PMCPP Presents: Ever Present Past

PMCPP Analysis #16
KEY: C Major

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

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.


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.


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