Saturday, October 31

What I Like About You – The Romantics


What I Like About You – The Romantics
(See the video HERE)

Who hasn’t started bouncing around at a party when this song hits the speakers? Let’s see what’s under its hood.


The Riff
The song is based on a single riff, the instantly memorable signature lick which plays throughout the entire song. Sure, there’s a brief little chord detour in the bridge, but the whole song is basically based on that riff, which is this chord progression…

E…A…D…A

I…IV…bVII…IV

 Advanced: This is a mixolydian progression! Also the signature charm of the riff is that the E chord is really a quick Esus4 to E major switch. (I’d be happy to hear from any guitar players who know this riff. It can’t really be replicated on the piano. Those ARE the bass notes however).

This riff is considered a "power progression" which means that chord progression, in that order is used all the time. Here's one off the top of my head, if you think of others please post them in the commentary...

The Dark Side - John Cafferty





Verse/Refrain…In a rock song?

Something that I’ve never thought about (which is one of the great things about doing this blog) is that this song is really a verse refrain. The verse STARTS with the refrain line “what I like about you” AND ends with it. This isn’t uncommon, but it is certainly not the norm. Most verse/refrain songs only end with the refrain/hook. After the verse and last verse, they hammer the refrain line over and over and over. Further gouging it into our consciousness.


Rhyme scheme

Technically, the rhyme scheme is aaxx, (tight, tonight, hear, you), but that doesn’t describe the whole story. Everyone can hear the last two lines are really cut in half with internal rhymes. For my own notation, I’ll write this…

 aa(bb)(cc) – tight, tonight, (ear/hear), (true/you)

…but that’s my thing, I haven’t seen an internal rhyme analyzed in that way (with the double parenthesis), so take it with a grain of salt.

What I like about you, you hold me tight
Tell me I’m the only one, wanna come over tonight
Keep on whispering in my ear, tell me all the things that I wanna hear
Cause it’s true, that’s what I like about you


…all the verses follow that same form. Here’s the lyric with out the rhymes highlighted…

What I like about you, you really know how to dance
When you go up down, jump around, think about true romance
Keep on whispering in my ear, tell me all the things that I wanna hear
Cause it’s true, that’s what I like about you

That’s what I like about you
That’s what I like about you…(repeated)

What I like about you, you keep me warm at night
Never wanna let you go, know  you make me feel alright
Keep on whispering in my ear, tell me all the things that I wanna hear
Cause it’s true, that’s what I like about you

That’s what I like about you
That’s what I like about you…(repeated)


Notice how the internal rhymes of the last lines energize the momentum of the song. They create these two line bursts of speed. The same thing happens in the “up, down, turn around” line. Play it back and feel the momentum surge forward in the spots with internal rhymes.

Melody

This is one of the simplest melodies you’ll ever see. He sings 3 notes…D, E, G. That’s it. It’s basically based on the minor pentatonic scale, but he’s only using three of the five available notes. Even though it is a simple melody to the extreme, the G not really sticks out because that note is a minor 3rd played over a major 3rd in the harmony…so you get a wonderful rub. You hear that all the time in rock and roll. It adds an edge to the melody.


There’s your quickie for the day. Try writing something simple today.

~Shane


Buy “What I Like About You” on iTunes…HERE.

2 comments:

Andrea Elliott said...

Songs like this live on and on. The simplicity along with the playability - (yes I picked up my guitar and just played from ear!) makes it a song that any band can play as one of their covers. The lyrics are easy to remember, so singing along is fun, and the tempo makes it fun to dance to! The perfect party song! I really like the rhyme scheme, and the fact that 3 simple chords can be the base for a huge song!

dneckers said...

The drummer is awesome in the YouTube clip! How do you do that? Play drums at around 120 Beats per Minute... sing... and make faces all at the same time! And I love the 4 hand claps in a row. I've got to write a song with some hand claps in it!