Category Archives: Arrangements and Sounds

Chops (Piano Edition): Billy Joel, “Prelude” (1976)

By Jonathan Bellman Particularly for those of us who play instruments, one hook before which we are powerless is The Hook On Our Own Instrument That Must Be Figured Out.  Until it is owned, it will bewitch us, and (in … Continue reading

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Fluency: Robben Ford, “Talk To Your Daughter” (1988)

I’m breaking a cardinal rule for Hooks posts and writing one without any analytical idea about the track that calls forth my tribute. That’s the thing: that Robben Ford’s lead guitar licks in “Talk To My Daughter” are so deeply … Continue reading

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Advanced Riffs: Radiohead 1997-2011

“Riff” is a term of uncertain origin and very loose usage. The theory that it’s an abbreviation of “refrain” (as part of a song) is plausible, given that repetition is the premise and in some sense the goal of riffing.[1] … Continue reading

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The Thought of Wising Up: Aimee Mann, “Wise Up” (1996)

Claudia singing along with “Wise Up” in Magnolia Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” is a magnificent example of deep effects achieved by simple means. At first the music seems to consist of nothing but a lovely G major 9th chord. That … Continue reading

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Forward Progress: Suddenly, Tammy!, “Hard Lesson” (1995)

If you think “Hard Lesson” is a great album opener because it gets you charged up in a forward-moving way, if you’re amazed at how it pulls together all the lanes and overpasses when you play it on the freeway, … Continue reading

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Half Steps: Jack Bruce, “The Consul At Sunset” (1971)

There’s good reason for differentiating sharply between “whole” and “half” steps in a musical scale: only whole steps feel like definite steps. Half steps feel iffy at best.[1]  The pentatonic scale, popular around the world, can be defined as the … Continue reading

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Perfect Flailing: Sebadoh, “Hillbilly II” (1996)

Simon Smith, June 2015 Something paradoxical and tragic happened once we picked up guitars and started discharging our energy upon the world. We began in freedom and ended in chains. (I feel sure Rousseau would have keyed his theory of … Continue reading

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