Friday, November 15, 2013

One-chord Pop Songs

One of the tenets of pop songs is the repetition.  I love a good four-chord song.  Three chords and the truth works for me, too.  Even two-chord songs are OK. (Paul McCartney's Helen Wheels comes to mind, as does a song by my oldest son's band, Void in Reality, called Matchbook, coming soon to iTunes.)

I can't, however, handle one-chord songs for more than a minute.  

Tonight, as I cuddled with my eight-year-old at bedtime, The Guess Who's American Woman came on the radio.  I like the guitar riff and Burton Cummings' vocals.  For about a minute.  Maybe less.

Then it's like nails on a chalkboard. While chewing on aluminum foil.

No, it's more like your older brother holding your head under water (I presume, not having had an older brother).

It's like a claustrophobic being locked in a dark box, I would imagine, beyond a minute.

What I'm trying to say is that it is more than just a pet peeve. I get quite irritated, physically even.

Yeah, OK, technically it's not just one chord.  I believe it's actually three.  But you would never know just by listening to the music track. And maybe that's why it hurts to listen to.  The exact same riff over and over and over, even while the chords are supposedly changing.

Born in the USA is the same, but is an exception.  It's nowhere near my favorite Bruce Springsteen song, but I can handle it. Probably because the chord is played with variations throughout.

Paul McCartney's Old Siam, Sir is another.  Love it, for about a minute.  Then it starts to piss me off. It's E-minor the whole way, except for the guitar solos.

A goal of mine is to find, or write, a one-chord song that I truly enjoy. I might end up dying trying on that one.


Larry Rubinow said...

Give this one a try. If you don't last more than a minute, that's okay. It's my favorite one-chorder.

T Snide said...

Loved it! For about 47 seconds...