Category Archives: Time

The Ten-Year Hook: The Rolling Stones, “Rocks Off” (1972)

As the poetically inevitable result of my complaint about The Trouble with Horns, Matt Smith made me a mix of great horn parts in rock (posted now in Mixes). When “Rocks Off” by the Rolling Stones came on, I wondered … Continue reading

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Intensity Ruse: Joan Osborne, “Right Hand Man” (1995)

Music is intense—it’s an intensification of tone and felt time—but a paradox of music is that its intensity ploys generate their own defeaters. The especially pure or loud tone just is the recognized idiom of that singer or instrument—the means, … Continue reading

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The Justice and Mercy Beat: Michelle Shocked, “Quality Of Mercy” (1996)

How would you put justice into music? Justice involves balancing, tit for tat. A strict regularity is demanded, as in 1…………..2…………..3…………..4………….. Rat………tat tat tat tat……………………… like when a fellow is being marched to his execution. Or perhaps a better way … Continue reading

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Killer Trochees: The Temptations, “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” (1966)

“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” is a major hook mystery. How can a song so great be so monotonous? Well, of course it’s not monotonous at all; it more than makes up for its lack of melodic and harmonic variety … Continue reading

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Oddly Not Odd Meter: Jethro Tull, “A New Day Yesterday” (1969)

In an earlier post on odd meter the main question was, How can a song rock when it doesn’t stay in one of the physically cogent “regular” meters repeating two, three, or four beats? In that context it seemed remarkable … Continue reading

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The Stammering Triplets: Midnight Oil, “Only The Strong” (1982)

Rocking is your solution, whatever your problem might be. Just start up the band, or the track, and the iffiness of your conflicted, confused, and/or dull normal life will be relieved. But an individually memorable rock piece provides more than … Continue reading

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The Study of Funk: Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, “Sometimes I Wonder” (2002)

The point of funk, I take it, is to funk it up, to alter a groove from what the hacks perform and the chumps expect—above all, delivering the rhythmic punch not on the usual schedule but, probably, after, on a … Continue reading

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