Tuesday, October 27

So What – Pink – Song Form/Rhyme Scheme

So What – Pink – Song Form/Rhyme Scheme

Most of the songs we’ve looked over have all had odd song forms and/or strange rhyme schemes. Pink's "So What" is a line drive of everything that is normal in a hit song.

Song form = ABABCB

A = verse
B = chorus
C = bridge

 This is one of the two most common song forms (as I’ve stated in the PAST).  The form flows extremely well. You fuss rock for two punky verses and then bust into their anthem choruses. After a quick detour of diva self-reflecting bridge, we stage dive back into the loving fist raised arms of the familiar chorus. 

All the sections are strongly balanced. They all have an even amount of lines. Nothing off-kilter to throw off the forward momentum of the song. (Even the quick prechoruses are doubled up.)

Speaking of prechoruses...notice the prechorus are half as long as the other sections. They feel like an extension of the verse without becoming self indulgent and drawing too much attention to themselves. They ramp up the momentum and let go. 

Verse rhyme scheme = aabb – went/rent/tonight/fight

I guess I just lost my husband, I don’t know where he went
So I’m gonna drink my money, I’m not gonna pay his rent
I got a brand new attitude and I’m gonna wear it tonight
I’m gonna get in trouble, I’m gonna start a fight

In my opinion, aabb is the most common of all verse rhyme schemes, the king of the rhyme trinity…

aabb, abab, xaxa

(and to a lesser extent “aaaa”)

Chorus Form = T--T

T = Hook/Title
“-“ = Swing line (a line that isn’t the title!)

So, so what, I’m still a rock star, I’ve got my rock moves and I don’t need you
And guess what, I’m having more fun, and now that we’re done, I’m gonna show you…
Tonight I’m alright, I’m just fine and you’re a tool
So, so what, I am a rock star, I’ve got my rock moves and I don’t want you tonight

Detour 1 of 2 – Tower Records Title Test
I want to jump in and say I wonder why the song isn’t called Rock Star. Rock Star makes more sense from a “what is memorable” stand point. I call it the Tower Records Test (Tower Records was where I bought most of my CD’s before the company folded). If I didn’t know the artist or the actual name of the song, I would sing the line that I remembered from the radio (which SHOULD be the hook) to one of the clerks. If what I sang WAS the title, then we'd find the album and I’d buy it. Cha-ching! Artist makes money. 

It was always disappointing when I couldn't find the song because the "hook" of the song wasn't the actual name of the song.

“So What” makes a statement, but I’m of the school that you should name your song after the line that people will sing to a clerk in a record store. (Bohemian Rhapsody, and Scenes From an Italian Restaurant excluded).

Detour 2 of 2
I can’t resist. Remember me talking about Kurt yesterday? Kurt and I threw a 70’s party and dressed up like the disco you always wanted to be. Splashy Rayon shirts (open to navel?...check!), Bell bottom slacks (sans-a-belt?...check!). Afro/disco wigs (brunette/Kurt, blonde/Shane…check, check!). Disco ball (motorized?...check!). Platform shoes, Elvis shades? (oh yeah…check please!).

The day after the party, we realized we had our costumes for the entire weekend so we decided we’d have a night on the Nashville, Starsky and Hutch style. First stop? Station Inn…bluegrass night! I remember I could see the shadow of my fro bouncing in the reflection of the stage lights as the dumbfounded bartender took our cover charge. A quick thinking banjo player threw out the riff from Superfly (no small feat on banjo) as we sauntered to our seats, high fiving everyone in overalls and flannel shirts. Everyone was giving us the peace sign (which made no sense…peace sign = 60’s?).

After our bluegrass debut, we hit Tower Records thinking it’d be funny to buy the Saturday Night Fever sound track dressed like Bee Gee rejects.
The following is the actual conversation with the goth dressed, faced-pierced, black lipstick, vamp-girl behind the counter…oh yeah, her nametag? Wait for it…wait for it…”Death”!

Shane: Far out groovy chick! Which aisle do we boogie down to find Saturday Night Fever? (Striking THIS pose)
Death (slightly annoyed): Excuse me?
Kurt: Take a chill pill. Dig it. Where’s Saturday Night Fever. That vinyl is Dy-no-mite!
Death (eyes rolling): Seriously?
Shane: It’s a gas. Outta sight.
Kurt: Yeah, real boss. Slip me some skin (extending upturned hand to Death).
Death (recoiling): Soundtracks (pointing with black eyeshadowed eyelids)
Shane: Far out!
Kurt: Keep on Truckin’
Death (under breath): Freaks

…walking back to our car, CD in our little yellow bag…

Kurt: You do realize we just had a brush with Death?

…and close scene [Insert: sound of movie clapper].

-  -  - - - - - - - - - - - - 

T--T is a very strong chorus form. The opening and closing line of the chorus (or any section for that matter) are the most memorable positions. If you want your title to be noticed, put it in the opening and closing lines. Which Pink did.

-  - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That’s it for today. Go write something groovy.


PS. Make sure you voice your opinion in the two polls. Thanks


Ishita Rungta said...

If it were just me, I would not have heard Pink...in fact I read your analysis first and heard the song next…you stirred my curiosity, and for sure I don’t regret having heard her {Though I must admit, to hear her again I might need more of your reviews}. I think there is a kind of addictive realism in her attitude that exudes through her lyrics and musical persona, which is catchy and I agree Rock Star might have been a better title…but I guess “So What” is her general demeanor, so she like titled it in her “so what” manner…wanting to sound inimitable.
I still remember working on pre choruses in class…I surmised at the end of it all, that it would be better not to include a pre chorus if they were not to as you aptly say: “ramp up the momentum and let go”. I feel writing a good pre chorus is harder than writing a Chorus…most importantly pre choruses have to sound woven in rather than being just there.
Ha ha: loved your little screenplay on Kurt and yourself. I was a big fan of Oscar Wilde with his annunciation lily behind the ears and foppish clothing and of course the theatrics…this little anecdote is very Oscar Wildish to me.
Thanks again,

Shane Adams said...

Hey Ishita!

I struggle with prechoruses too. They are the bane of my songwriting. However, it absolutely thrills me when they're done right.

Pink had good prechoruses, but she is really the queen of the killer bridge. Her bridges are typically outstanding.

For prechoruses I recommend studying Avril Lavigne. SHE'S the queen of the prechorus!

Thanks for being active in the blog. I'm thrilled people are actually reading it.


Shane :)

Ishita Rungta said...

Thanks again Shane,
Once again I would have heard Avril Lavigne unless in the context of your breakdown of the song form.
Yes, her pre choruses sound uncontrived and that is certainly the key to them having the “up” and let go element
That you talked about…I downloaded “Girlfriend” “Together” and “Things I’ll never say”…..I guess I liked Together the most

Together: (Pre-chorus)
When I'm alone
I feel so much better
And when I'm around you
I don't feel

It doesn't feel right at all
Together we've built a wall
Together holding hands we'll fall
Hands we'll fall
A study of her pre choruses should help us. I am glad you made me hear her {I was listening to Celtic Woman before I heard her…and she sure had a dramatic access to my ears}.


Clapboard said...

Nice blog really good
The clapper loader is generally responsible for the maintenance and operation of the clapperboard, while the script supervisor is responsible for determining which system will be used and what numbers a given take should have.