Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Queen, “Who Wants to Live Forever”

This is the last listening journal (woo hoo!) so I’m going to do one of my favorite songs.

The song begins with the synthesizer emphasizing the dominant chord that ushers in the first verse. The first verse is very serene with only the synthesizer accompanying the singer and the timbre they use for this has very long and distant sounding sustains on each chord. The choice of having the guitarist sing this as opposed to the lead singer is also important because the guitarist’s voice fits the mood of this part of the song better. The chorus also has the same instrumentation and has a wonderful that goes up scalar for each “who wants to live forever” reaching tension and the tension not being released until the chorus feels like its done with a little afterthought as the chords resolve with the singer just doing some soft “oohs”

In the second verse a string section is added to the synthesizer which gives a slightly different timbre but does little to change the mood and the feel, except that they have some stagnant two tone eighth note repetition that push the verse a little more. The lead singer also comes back in to make the music a bit louder. A little bass drum is also added on the 1 and the last sixteenth note of the first beat when the singer is breaking between lines. The chorus starts out the same as the first time with the new instrumentation and cool little descending line in the low strings right after the singer’s ascending line, but this time the return to tonic is marked as a peak rather than as a downfall into the second verse. A cymbal rolls helps emphasize this and the chorus ends up getting extended with a long feeling of dominant that finally gets resolved when the electric guitar enters for the first time and the texture falls back apart again that ushers in the instrumental solo.

The solo section begins with the first feel of a real driving rhythm with the hi hat starting up with the bass drum playing the line earlier every measure and every other measure being forte with a huge snare drum hit on the & of 2. The guitar solo basically stays along the lines of the verse. The bridge follows this and is just four bars long and keeps the same rhythmic aspects as previous but features the vocalist in a new line that works its way up to the high vocal range that was last seen at the end of the second chorus.

Another round of chorus follows this but has lyrics that fit in with the bridge so the feeling of the chorus isn’t quite there. Probably my favorite part about the song is at this point and in the later choruses is the drum part after each one of the rising lines which consists of bass drum on the sixteenth note just before beat 3, snare drum on three, bass drum on the sixteenth note just after three and just before beat 4, snare drum on 4, and bass drum on the sixteenth note right after beat 4. It is really cool because it is using a somewhat funky beat in the context of a emotionally gripping rock ballad which is somewhat unusual but works very effectively here. After this chorus the texture drops out for a measure then there’s a crescendo that goes into the real singing of the chorus, which is sung by multiple voices. After this the texture falls apart and the singer sings the last couple lines and then the music goes on for a couple minutes, doing a great job of delaying the cadence for many measure.

The last instrumental part consists of some guitar solos and is there because this song was used in the movie “Highlander” so they kept it in context of the song. The end of this instrumental features the synthesizer running up doing a D major with a major 9 chord, which has become my favorite chord.

1 comment:

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