We profile the great songwriting minds behind some of the greatest pop hits of the modern era. You might not know their names, but you know their work!
John Entwistle almost didn’t make this list, by virtue of being, well, too good. There are so many great Who songs to choose from, but one melody that tends to stick in my head is the pentatonic major run heard behind the “I tip my hat” refrain in this song. The riff starts at the relative minor and runs down to the root, hitting all five notes of the scale. It’s a simple sequence, but I’ve noticed that scalar walk-downs to the root pretty much always sound good on the bass. (For example, check out the choruses of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Kiss’ “Shout It Out Loud”). Entwistle repeats this motif several times throughout the chorus with slight variations that keep it continually compelling.
A powerful OpEd on hearing familiarity through artificial musical boundaries and what happens when we look at our own aesthetic tastes under a microscope.
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And don’t forget, there are still tons of great software options out there for audio repair and noise reduction in the mixing phase, like Isotope RX, if you need them.
It’s totally fair to assume this song is in C minor. Sure, C minor chords shows up here and there, and much of the melodic content could be attributed to the C minor pentatonic scale. I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking this song is in C minor.
The music industry has once again gone through a tremendous transformation. Traditional roles in the business of creating music have been redefined and revolutionized.
Okay! Now, Don’t Cry, but that’s it. Ain’t Got No Tunes Left to Spy, Sad!, and it all wasn’t exactly a No Brainer, but I hope that if you’ve gotten this far, you were able to catch at least a little Thunder in your bottle.
“Lucid Dreams”: This opening synth motif throws you a bit by going to a different second note on the repeat. And then you get thrown by the fact that he’s only singing five notes within a perfect fifth tessitura: scale degrees 3^-4^-5^-6^-7^. Don’t be alarmed, but there’s no tonic being sung, so if you took away the chords it would sound major, like 1^-2^-3^-4^-5^ (do re mi fa sol), like effing Beethoven’s 9th and stuff. To my ears, it makes the melody feel lost, adrift, never going home. Of course, that’s appropriate for the song’s theme of heartbreak.
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There’s something else important to realize about this: You don’t necessarily need an expensive coach or trainer to give you feedback. Often you provide yourself with the most important feedback. Here’s a great paragraph from Dr. Ericsson, referencing someone who was trying to learn how to memorize ever-longer strings of numbers:
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the news that the once-great music-centric crowdfunding platform, PledgeMusic, has filed for bankruptcy, concluding some tumultuous and complicated financial events. The company is accused of using artist-raised campaign funds to make corporate payments and top up operating costs, among other unsound (potentially fraudulent) business practices that have many, many artists and fans pointing fingers and scratching heads, wondering where their earned and owed money is.
Similar to social media platforms, it’s easy to get fixated on increasing your total number of likes, followers, or views. While it’s always encouraging to see these numbers go up, the truth is that these are just vanity metrics — or, in other words, things you can measure that, while not completely meaningless, don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.
Raven: Alicia is just a special student. She comes to songwriting with a bright and unique voice, crafting lyrics that are conversational yet biting. As a student, she is diligent and hard-working. She receives feedback with grace and uses it as a means to enhancing her writing. I can’t say enough good things about her!