Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Gone" by Ben Folds

Not a really happy song, but for some reason it evokes some happy vibes from me. Getting right into it we have a 2 beat drum pickup until we come right into the intro with drums, bass, guitar and piano. The chord progression for the verse and chorus is very similar, the same I-iii-IV-V progression that we begin with here. We repeat this twice with some nice double tracked oohs. The first verse once repeates the progression 3 times, before changing it up on the 4th time through, instead of getting the I we get a iii chord and then to our half cadence on V before launching into the verse which is just the same I-iii-IV-V progression repeated twice. The second verse is more of the same, as we wash rinse repeat thrre time and then go with the iii-V ending. The second chorus is the same as the first, except he varies. A quick reflection I love the piano fill before the chorus as it just pounds through everything to get to the chorus. Ben Folds really uses it as a powerhouse instrument, not just light accompaniment like most pop acts. Anyway, back to analysis, after the second chorus we end deceptively as we come to a vi chord to start our bridge section. Here the piano wanders for a little bit and we have some overdubbed "gones" that build and fade. Now we have an instrumental change the piano falls to a, well, piano and we have some plucked strings as Ben and Frally (his wife) share a haunting little duet. This builds up as we add instruments and a huge crescendo by the strings and a nice arpeggiated chord with tracked voices. Then everything comes to a short stop and a big drum fill return brings back the final verse. We add the oohs from the beginning over top of the melody line and we build suspense by extending out the final phrase to double it's normal two measure length. Now we have the final chorus, which is extended in length to 3 measures. We have another decpetive cadence, but no bridge, just a vi-IV-V-I and a sudden cutoff at the very end, to the point of hearing feedback on the mics. This abrupt stop just leaves all sorts of questions unanswered. I like how this entire album is like a bunch of different stories intertwining. I imagine all the characters in each song living in one community, each with a different story to tell. This one I see as a guy finally writing the letter he's been wanting to write to an ex for years. There is sadness yes, but overall there is vindication that he can be happy without this girl who left him. Rock on, Ben!

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