Thursday, July 22, 2010

A sucker for tempo changes

Meat Loaf's "All Revved Up And No Place To Go". Pat Benatar's "Hell Is For Children". The Yardbirds' "For Your Love". Credence Clearwater Revival's "Lookin' Out My Back Door". Dexy's Midnight Runners' "Come On Eileen". What do they have in common, besides being good songs? In each case, one part of the song is in a markedly different tempo from the rest, and it's not just a time signature change, or a song where the tempo changes so often there's hardly a real baseline, or a song where the tempo is being subtly played with: it's a song which abruptly changes tempo (and in some cases, changes back).

For some reason I can't put my finger on, this technique really has an impact on me. It's such a simple, even simplistic, trick. And it's probably one that you couldn't use too often before it would lose its impact. But those songs always appeal to me more, somehow, than they should. The moment of transition is so engaging, it gives the whole song a new sense of life.

It's kind of embarassing to be tickled by such a cheap trick. But I can't help myself. And I have no idea why.

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