Friday, February 18, 2022

It's a Nice Drive on 7th Street


This is the second installment in the series of songs with titles inspired by my recent car troubles. After everything got fixed, I still didn't feel completely like driving home on the highway, just in case. So instead, I took a much nicer drive on a smaller road. That has absolutely nothing to do with how I wrote this song, but I thought the feeling was sort of similar.

All of the lead melody parts were played on my MIDI keyboard controlling ReaSynth running into a guitar amp simulator with just as much distortion as I could manage without ruining the peaceful mood. I tried to target chord extensions with this melody, starting phrases by emphasizing the ninth of the chord.

The song starts out with a V - vi - I - ii progression, which looks like it would be fairly stable on paper, but the way it's phrased creates a fair bit of ambiguity. Not to mention the fact that these are all being played as jazz chords, so only the root motion clearly shows the direction of the harmony. I didn't intentionally have the guitar double the bassline in the lowest note of the chords, but it sort of happened that way and created a really nice effect that I enjoy every time I listen to the verse progression.

In the chorus, I tried to emphasize the IV chord, similar to a few pop songs I've been enjoying recently. Hitting the IV right on the chorus simultaneously darkens the sound because it's a IV, but brightens it because I'm staying in the tonic key, which sort of sounds like a Lydian mode. I feel my ear being told both stories at once, which is probably why I like this harmonic move so much. Now that I've experimented with emphasizing IV a bit more, it makes me wonder what other modes could I evoke in the same way? That's a question for next week, perhaps.

There's absolutely nothing novel about my bass part, so I'll move on to talk about the bridge. Before I do, though, I guess I should try to remember to do something different with the bass next time to keep it interesting. Anyways, the bridge. It's a sudden modulation to the relative minor, forecasted in the melody only moments before it happens. I'm not normally a fuzz kinda person, but if I was going to use any distortion in this tune, I wanted it to be on the cheesier, more vintage sounding side. The riff is sort of a combination of a couple different songs I've been enjoying lately, and I doubled it on bass just to prove to myself that I could.

All of the guitar parts were played on my Fender Telecaster Deluxe, and all the guitar sounds were made using stock Reaper plugins.

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