Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"Cocaine" by Eric Clapton

Another one of those songs reached when pressing the random button on my computer. This song is very simplistic, with one motive repeated throughout and there is only a four piece band: bass, piano, guitar and drums. We come in with guitar and drums, playing the ever-so familiar I-I-bVII-I--I-V----vi-bVII (wash rinse repeat). The opening riff is played 4 times. After the first the bass comes in, which allows the guiat to play around, trilling some notes, leaping up the octave. After the intro we have a very simple verse. The melody mirrors the movement of the riff. After the second time through we get to "she don't lie" where everything moves stepwise down (do-te-le-sol) then stops and we get to the main word of the song...Cocaine. This brings us back to the beginning riff and we start all over. We repeat this motion again for the second verse. After the second stepwise bass (lament bass anyone? anyone? Beuller?) we move in the real meat of this song, the guitar solo. It's amazing how Clapton works with such a small harmonic area, making every note bend and fit exactly into the chord. His mastery of the guitar, weaving this long solo in and out of the narrow framework of the harmony. He actually at one point has two separate melodies working simultaneously (yes it's just him, I checked the recording notes) We get another descending bass, and we return for the third verse. After this we have a final solo that fades to the end. It's only a 2 and a half minute song, but Clapton squeezes a lot of guitar work into it. Also very sad that this song marks a very dark period for Clapton, he was addicted to both cocaine and heroin, and soon after this went into detox and retired for almost 4 years. This song talks about how the addiction affects his life, he was completely dependant on it to function normally...very sad.

No comments: