Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cake, "You Part the Waters"

I chose this song because one of the crazy metaphors John McCrea uses in this song deals with a piano. All you really get from the song is that his girlfriend "parts the waters" because she doesn't play the piano while he is the one that plays the piano. The meaning of the metaphors is never clearly stated, but this is music journal not poetry so I'll move on and let you unravel the metaphors (it's not really that hard).

Since the song has the metaphors about a piano, there's no better way to start the song than with a piano. The piano does the introduction which starts with a low note and moves on to quick glisses that emphasize chords that constantly move up to the piano near the highest point where it settles on trill that is clearly heard as a dominant chord. The vocal comes in near the end of this trill with a two beat pickup that establishes the tempo for the verse.

The mood of the verse is immediately changed to a very funky feel. The drums have some syncopated parts with bass drum hits on the second sixteenth note of a beat and open hi hat hits on the & of beat 3. The guitar does chords on the first second and last sixteenth notes of beat 2 and on the downbeat of beat 4, and a funky bass line. This verse only lasts for seven bars with basic movment to dominant and back to tonic without any feel of cadence. The eighth bar is a guitar solo that does sixteenth notes accenting every third for a funky feel.

Then there are a few bars that transition to the chorus which feature the same syncopated guitar line but in a lower register and the voice only changes notes and words each measure. The chours has a lot of the same sounds of the verse, but this time the guitar keeps the sixteenth note pattern with a higher voice emphasizing the accents. There's another couple bar transition with the guitar and for the first time a long trumpet note.

The return of the verse feature the continuation of the guitar part and a new voice of a synthesized organ doing the same three sixteenth note syncopation as the guitar but starting on the & of beat three and going to two of the next measure which provides a good little interplay with the guitar. The verse repeats this time and the organ is taken out and replaced with a little guitar embellishment and some cowbell.

This is followed by the instrumental solo which is a call and response between the trumpet and the guitar. The trumpet plays a short little motive on beats 4 and 1 and the guitar does some motives which are mostly based on earlier material on beats 2 and 3. This goes on for a while then the music suddenly stops on a beat one. After a pause an orchestra comes in and does basically the same material that the piano did in the opening except this time the rise of chords is rhythmic with syncopated sixteenth notes and there is a lower line that also rises once the high voices reach the trill.

This repeat of the intro goes into the other transition from the verse to the chorus followed by a short termanitive phrase with the trumpet entering again emphasizing the dominant chord and sliding up the tonic.

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