Tuesday Tunes 5/05/09 (About)
1. "Burden in My Hand" Soundgarden. :35-1:10. Build.
Lots of people love this intro, but it takes a decent pair of headphones to dig into individual pieces to try to figure out what makes it go. In this excerpt, we get eight seconds of the beginning of the intro: not a lot going on here with cymbal hits on the beat and a 12 string acoustic rhythm underpinning Chris Cornell's signature testicular wail. At :8, we get a prominent clean electric melody over the acoustic, and two things begin to happen that we can't hear unless we get to hear the stereo channels separately. First, Cornell adds in backing vocals several octaves down, which are almost exclusively lurking on the left side of the mix. I'd listened to this song dozens of times before I noticed this; it's really hard to hear without headphones. Second, on the right side and way low in the mix, an interesting bassline, which is most prominent at :11-12, and most flavorful at :18.5 (Right before "Out in the sunshine.."), when the bass hits a couple of notes that feel at once on and off key, and serves to ratchet up the tension even further into the verse at :31. This is where my lack of serious music theory background lets me down; I'm not sure what key accommodates those bass notes with the established melody.
2. "Burndt Jam" Weezer. 2:02-2:32. Variation.
The first ten seconds are included to remind you of the usual verse patterns in the song. At :11, the most prominent electric drops out and the countermelody electric abbreviates its chord patterns, while the bass takes up a stripped down version of the melody line. At :21, a synth fades in that sounds, to me, just like "Where the Streets Have No Name" (when you go listen to that, try to listen underneath the intro organ to hear what I mean). I expect the Edge to jump in at any moment with some ethereal arpeggios, but it never happens.
3. "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" The Rolling Stones. 2:45-3:30. Interlude.
I could have picked many sections from the latter half extended jam in this, perhaps my favorite Stones song (Is that sacrilegious? So it is.) Not much to say here, besides that I love the interplay of the two bar guitar theme with the fluttering sax, and especially the back and forth between the sax, bass, and guitar starting at :27. I'm going to go listen to the whole song again as soon as this is posted.
4. "Check On It" Beyoncé. 2:35-3:11. Variation.
As part of her "evolutionary Tina Turner" gig, Beyoncé and her producers often layer six or eight complimentary vocal tracks over minimal accompaniment, a tactic put to great use in this segment. Highlights include the quavering Turner-esque high notes from :12 to :16 and the sultry "So baby check up on it..." at :24. All that's missing is Ike holding down the bass notes.
5. "Chop Suey" System of a Down. 2:35-3:22. Interlude.
A foolproof way to make it into the Tuesday Tunes feature is to write a hard rock song, then jam in an interlude where you slow down the tempo, stick in some piano and maybe some guitar arpeggios, and then interlacing vocal harmonies where once there were only screams. Solid work, boys.