Monday, January 16, 2012

Let's Be Brutally Honest: Songs Need More Variation In Arrangement

Much of the music that's coming out of this current time period really does not hold very good quality. It's not so much about talent, but more so showmanship and being able to attract the group of people you are trying to appeal. Some of these performers are actually creating their own habits that are beginning to create trends for those who listen to a singer's performance or watch them perform. Then you have performers that can actually create their own music and make the music come alive. However, there is also a bit of an issue on that end, and it all has to do with the creativity aspect...

When I'm listening to the radio, I often see songs following the same format. This format is: starting verse, rising verse, starting chorus, continuing verse, continuing chorus, final verse, final chorus, and close. Music is often featured in the beginning of the song and commonly somewhere else in the song, the middle may be most common. The title of the song is generally mentioned at the end of each of the choruses and repeated at the very end, unless the last line is the first line. I always see Taylor Swift following this format. I commend her for her creativity, but I just wish she would change up the way she arranged the song. Many other singers follow such a format when there are so many ways a song could be arranged. Even the songwriter can create new, rarely if ever used arrangements.

Several prime examples exist. The Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" features the chorus at the beginning and toward the end of the song. The remainder of the performance is new material that makes it as if the performance is musical poetry. Sometimes the chorus could be included in most to all of the verses. Examples include the Traveling Wilburys songs "End Of The Line" and "The Wilbury Twist," where the beginning or end almost always remains the same in each verse, but the words change up. Next, you have the story format, where the song continues to flow until the very end, although a chorus may be included, such the case includes "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band, "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean, "Went You're Hot You're Hot" by Jerry Reed, and several more country songs (and perhaps a few rock and roll songs).

Then there are songs that follow a format with just a continuing story. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" not only has a continuing story, but it plays as if it is a rock opera, which is what Freddie Mercury intended. There are different stages with different tones. The performance is nearly ten minutes long. Other such performances include Roy Orbison's "The Crowd," which features verses without a chorus that is repeated again later in the song, PLUS unlike many songs that start out on a low note and end on a low note, this performance gets right to the point, rises at the climax and ends on a high note. Many of Orbison's earlier songs do not follow the typical format that just about everybody uses these days. 

Performers have often been guilty of simply using the same background to each of their performances and just changing up the words. In the sixties, a group called Dick & Dee Dee performed a hit called "The Mountain's High." There was another song of theirs that followed just about the same format, but with different words. Many early groups are guilty of doing this and it should be frowned upon, especially for those who want to be known for their creativity in a certain genre.

I really look forward to seeing what kind of talent could come out in our future for music. I'm sure that there are plenty of singers and songwriters that could break out and express their creativity. I'm also hoping that they have a lot to bring to the table when it comes to how they arrange their music. Sometimes, I think I'm hearing the same song, but just with different words and different music. I want to be wowed by somebody who's going to give me something different and stick out in the crowd.

The music industry is a growing industry with stars of all shapes and sizes, sometimes literally. Some of which make me feel like I'm riding down the road and flowing through paradise. Others make me feel like I'm hanging out with my refrigerator. As long as creativity and originality exists, then such industries that rely on creativity will continue to operate.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. I feel that without creativity, the music industry will eventually fade away.