Category Archives: Rock Aesthetics

Outro #6: The Burr

What is the line that keeps you from ever getting comfortable? How can we sleep when our beds are burning? —Midnight Oil, 1987 Advertisements

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Plain: Sloan, “Underwhelmed” (1992)

In popular song, as in old-fashioned poetry, we expect a tight rhyme scheme. It seems to come naturally with the almost inescapable line/stanza form of verses and choruses. And so there can be a significant surprise, an unexpected intrigue, even … Continue reading

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The Forgetting Hook: The American Breed, “Bend Me, Shape Me” (1967)

Rummaging again in the treasure chest of 1967, in the “Nuggets” compartment, I find part of the charm of the radio hit “Bend Me, Shape Me” in the verse and chorus being in different keys, making the song a series … Continue reading

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Candor and the Bridge: Frank Black & the Catholics, “Bullet” (2001)

“Take ’em to the bridge!” is James Brown’s hip direction to his band to start playing the twelve- or sixteen-bar section that contrasts with the main riff of “Sex Machine.” It’s an archetype of showmanship and pop candor. Compounding the … Continue reading

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Creepiest Love Tropes #3, “Our love”: The Beach Boys, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (1966)

When we talk about certain topics, something has already gone wrong. Time, for instance: if you have to refer to it (“Goodness! the time!”) you must have fallen out of the flow of getting things done. So too if you … Continue reading

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Jumbled: Amazing Rhythm Aces, “Hit The Nail On The Head” (1975)

I recently recommended the Amazing Rhythm Aces’ album Stacked Deck to a female acquaintance who, alas! was not nearly as charmed with it as I am. Could the problem partly be here, in “Hit The Nail On The Head”? Saw you last … Continue reading

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The Octave that Reaches: Roy Orbison,”Blue Bayou”(1963)

We talk about singers reaching high notes. Why is that of any particular interest? Is singing high just a random talent, like whistling? Perhaps there’s more to it. Physically a higher-frequency wave is a more energetic wave, other things being … Continue reading

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