Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Rules Are Meant To Be Broken

The formula for a hit song is simple: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus, chorus again, out.

Other than songs based on 12 bar blues, the above pattern is ubiquitous, predictable, universal.  One of these formulas applies to all your favourite songs.

That is, until you get closer.  Then you notice The Beatles starting a song with the chorus (Nowhere Man), or stretching a 12 bar blues pattern into 14 bars (Revolution).  Or The Animals using two different turnarounds on a 12 bar pattern (See See Rider), or The Doors going verse-verse fragment-chorus-bridge-verse fragmant-chorus-verse (Love Her Madly).  Or ZZ Top refusing to be consistent in how many times they play the intro/hook in between verses (Sharp Dressed Man), an attitude employed by The Stones on Brown Sugar.

Maybe these dudes didn’t know the rules they were breaking.  Maybe they didn’t care.  Or maybe, the rules aren’t creative straight jackets at all.  Maybe they are ignition switches.

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