Friday, November 7, 2014

Deep and Endearing

Last night, after hearing it a couple of times at work, I managed to track down new song I liked. By new of course I mean it's old - came out in 1987 - and I can add yet another British act to that list of mine.

It's yet another song I heard at Wal-Mart - really, don't get me wrong, about 90% of the songs they play are boring or bland or the kind that were really good briefly in their time but only in their time and in a standard kind of way, not very outwardly or differently, just standardly good. The pages interrupting the music never help, and although they never seem to run them in the autumn, winter or spring, the McDonalds advertisements just make it worse.

It's a nice song in a sort of feel-good, feel-like-oneself kind of way. A kind of 'coming home' kind of song to me. It's this:

What originally got me was the descending guitar notes played over the rest of the music, as that's what I heard first and what gave me that 'coming home' feeling. Of course, hearing it properly, it's much more full, deep, and appealing to my ear.

When I looked it up on Wikipedia, I unintentionally found a lot more information on it than I thought in terms of musical structure. I say unintentionally because I like figuring it out myself and then seeing that I'm right or close. It's in A major - the key and chord I relate to the most - and its procession follows simply as A, E, Bmin, and D. All major chords but for the B minor. So a I-V-ii-IV procession. In other words, and this is obvious in the sound of the music as well, the exact same musical progression as the chorus of 'Our House' (though 'Our House' is in D minor and follows the opposite in terms of major/minor chords). The entire song follows on this same progression from beginning to end except for a bit that's (as Wikipedia so helpfully revealed for me) F#min and Gmin.

Apparently, though I haven't looked up the lyrics yet, the song is about the singer's memories of vacationing at a certain notable spot in England with his girlfriend called Beachy Head - which is a huge cliff spot overlooking the sea. It's in general a song about that memory, and good, nostalgic times with someone he loves (the girlfriend became his wife).

I like the song for its progression, the key it's in thanks to that, and the way it plays out. The snare drum has that nice distant reverb that makes it sound intense and like it's trying hard - a good effect to me. The intro is great as it starts with a drum roll, and then the bass, though it starts midway through the first note in the progression rather than at the start (not a bad idea). A beautiful, low-playing guitar joins in to compliment the notes, not playing chords but emulating the bass. It sounds beautiful when it plays B and especially D thanks to the sound effect it's probably using. Then, something I didn't expect, an acoustic guitar starts strumming. That's an instrument that I think doesn't get enough exposure or parts in songs anymore, and its presence here is definitely welcome. The strings-like keyboard starts its predominant notes, and finally the main electric guitar does its descending-order progression. The singer doesn't start until several repeats of this intro, giving the song time to build up nicely.

The music video very nicely augments this with the camera moving from one instrument to another as each band member starts playing them, using a limited depth of field to limit one's attention and focus to only that instrument/person.

In terms of my synesthetic response (and therefore perception of the music) it's largely deep tones for me, mixtures of black with dark green and other similar colours. The only sounds that give me bright reactions are the keyboard synth and the lead guitar, and that's largely a white mix. It does sound romantic, but in a dark, deep, calm kind of way, like it's from my perception or my way of it - the way I would go about in a relationship. It's in A major - that's "my" key and chord. Darker (in a quieter, deeper, lower colour tone kind of way), deep, endearing, calm, to ourselves (my partner and I). And it has some good chords in it - the nice depth and quietness of A major, the sky-high happiness of E major, the forlorn but endearing B minor, and of course the extremely likable, happy, friendly, sunny D major. It sounds very nice in the beginning. It's like, from my point of view, I'm surrounded by a group of people I know that I am close to, friends that I know easily match up with those chords. If I could think of a happy memory with a girl, it would probably be last autumn, but I'm inclined to remember that summer day at McDonalds with those other two. One is definitely a D major while the other always seems to come to mind when I hear a B chord. And that one memory is more nostalgic and sunny than the time with the other one last Fall. The song really sounds nostalgic that way.

I've never heard anything by the Cure before, but this is a good introduction. And it's a simple song that manages to sound refreshing to me. That intro, the guitar joining the bass and playing those notes, the acoustic, the main guitar sound, it's all quite good - in a non-standard, different, great way that speaks to me well thanks to the key it's in.

Music: A-
Lyrics: (I looked them up) - B+

Red Cloud

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