Monday, February 07, 2005

"It's a Beautiful Day" by U2

This is in my mind one of U2’s greatest songs because of its unique and captivating sounds and energy. And even though they serve merely as accompanament to Bono’s booming vocals, it is the instruments that set the tone and cause us to be mesmerized. We pay attention to Bono’s crazy range and the great lyrics, but is the variation of the beats formed by the instrumental accompaniment that really drives the song into our heads. Each instrument takes a different simplified beat pattern with different durations. The bass guitar has a constant quick strum on just a few notes, the drums also play a fast beat with a different rhythm, and then the lead guitar highlights the phrasing of the piece with longer durations, coming back in after the same amount of the subdivisions. Also each instrument takes one line (ie. root, 3rd) to provide the chordal structure of the piece. Once these simple foundations have been layed down subtly, Bono is able to do all of the razzle dazzle and bring emotion to the piece. Bono uses his monstrous range to create the intended effect. He sings different sections in different ranges, going down low in one, and up into falsetto in another. He also changes the tone color of his voice to match the emotional meaning of the words. And the result is someone like me singing “It’s a Beautiful Day” in my head all day long.

1 comment:

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Your description of the rhythmic content is a little confusing. Try to relate the different layers of beats to each other, using specific terms for durations.