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Loving simple songs

Markrs

Complete Beginner
I have been watching and reading a lot of music theory and composition recently. Trying to understand things like modulation, chord substitutions, 7th, 9th, 11th chords, etc. How they bring movement and life to a piece. It makes totally sense and I love how effective these can be.

However, at the same time I can love a song like Iron and Wine's Trapeze Swinger which never moves off the verse, as well as staying on 4 chords (I - V - IV - VI) with the same melody and rhythm for 8 minutes. The only thing that really changes beyond the lyrics is the instrumentation and yet it works really well. I think the key is the simple melody and chords.

 

doctoremmet

Senior Member
I like simple songs. I like seemingly simple songs with great melodies and some musical twist (like Andy Partridge writes them). And sometimes I like what I call “musician porn”, like Tool, freejazz or seventies jazzfunk bands. Most of all I like (post)punk, which is all about the songs really (like Buzzcocks). What Buzzcocks and XTC seem to have in common is a penchant for Beach Boys type melodies and harmonies. As well as a bit of humour thrown in there somewhere.

Today I’ve been humming XTC’s Season Cycle, Towers of London and That’s Really Super, Supergirl in my head. Yesterday it was Ever Fallen In Love With Someone You Shouldn’t Have Fallen In Love With and Everybody’s Happy Nowadays from Manchester’s finest. A lot of my favourite songwriting seems to have occurred in the UK. ;)
 

doctoremmet

Senior Member
Here’s the other gem. That Dave Gregory guitar solo in there is an example of hidden musician porn (it is ridiculously nice imho)

 

doctoremmet

Senior Member
Seemingly simple song, but starting right off the bat with some cool polyrhythm. Also it has one of the coolest lyrics to kick off a song (“you put your cleanest dirty shirt on, then stagger down to meet the dawn”).

A prime example of how simple can be very interesting


Production-wise mid-to-late eighties’ XTC lacks some of the punch of their earlier recordings, but this stuff still amazes me decades later really. Can’t say that about some way more complex harmonic chunes... (anyway /end XTC adoration rant)
 

CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Seemingly simple song, but starting right off the bat with some cool polyrhythm. Also it has one of the coolest lyrics to kick off a song (“you put your cleanest dirty shirt on, then stagger down to meet the dawn”).

A prime example of how simple can be very interesting


Production-wise mid-to-late eighties’ XTC lacks some of the punch of their earlier recordings, but this stuff still amazes me decades later really. Can’t say that about some way more complex harmonic chunes... (anyway /end XTC adoration rant)
Cool song, although that opening line borrows heavily from Kris Kristofferson's Sunday Morning Coming Down :)

 
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