ok music buffs ... we've had favourite songs, least favourite songs, favourite bits of a song ... how about FAVOURITE MIDDLE EIGHT or MAGIC MUSICAL MID POINT to a CH/Neil song??!! (is this too weird for you all?)

example: Finn Bros "Where is my soul" -- i could listen to just the middle eight of this song forever ("And I go up, with my conscience clean ...") ... what a pity it only lasts about 25 seconds ...

Four Seasons two part keyboard (closely followed by Johnny Marr's harmonica) -- what a pity Tim didn't play both keyboard parts in the 7 Worlds concert, but Mr Marr's harmonica is delicious and you can see it on Neil's face.

Fall at your feet -- "Finger of blame is turned upon itself..." ... speaks for itself!

Any others ?
Original Post
Very much in agreement about "Where is my soul" - pure beauty. I've also been stuck on the middle-eight for "Everything is Good For You" for awhile now. That song has its detractors, but I really enjoy when it moves into "Bring back your head/Here comes trouble..."

The organ solo/middle of 'Don't Dream It's Over' is awesome (strangely similar to that of 'Recurring Dream', another good one), as is the middle of 'Nails in My Feet' (the exotic sounding guitar line specifically).

I love middle-eight spotting. I think it takes a really clever or strong one to take a song from average to good, or good to great. Blame the Beatles (mostly) for raising the bar in this area Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by xor_nnif_lien:
[qb] Pardon my ignorance, but what is a middle eight?

Frowner [/qb]
Neil's songs are full of middle eights and bridges -- which are two different things, but equally fun.

The middle eight is that part of a song which is not a verse, a chorus, an introduction or a bridge (although the two are virtually identical, a bridge is often played to fill a gap between each verse and chorus, whilst a middle eight stands on its own); it typically comes towards or just after the middle of a song, and may or may not last eight bars (or a multiple thereof). It is often occupied by an instrumental solo and can simply consist of a repeat of an instrumental repeat of the verse, but the classic middle eight is an entirely new piece of music. Middle eights are typical of classic rock/pop songwriters; drum'n'bass artists do not go over large on such things.

For an example, the section of The Beatles' 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' which goes "And when I touch you I feel happy inside / It's such a feeling that my love / I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't hide" (which Bob Dylan supposedly heard as 'I get high') is a middle eight, and a good one too; the 'Pour your misery down on me' section of Garbage's 'Only Happy When it Rains' is an example more familiar to modern youth. Middle eights have provided some of the best moments in music ever.

Some examples from Neil's songs . . .

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW: "Into the city, into the city every day . . ."

HOLY SMOKE: "It's all I can do to keep from running away, get me out of this place! . . ."

CARRIED AWAY: "I'm told that it's evergreen. I've listened but never seen . . ."

OUR DAY: "Hear this my son, I promise you the best we can do. We love you . . ."

BULLET BRAIN AND CACTUS HEAD: "Fanatic believers, obsessive achievers . . ."

TAKE A WALK: "When the long night awakes with memories a midnight feast, feel the boy in me escape . . ."

BREAKIN' MY BACK: "Stay with me, a fool aspires you raise himself out of the mire"

WORLD WHERE YOU LIVE: The section going "Friends come round, you might remember and be sad . . ."

MEAN TO ME: "I saw you lying in the arms of a poet . . ."

LOVE YOU TIL THE DAY I DIE: "Frost on the window pane . . ."

SOMETHING SO STRONG: "I've been feeling so much older . . ."

INTO TEMPTATION: "We can go sailing in . . ."

MANSION IN THE SLUMS: "Who can stop me with money in my pockets . . ."

BETTER BE HOME SOON: "So don't say no, don't say nothing's wrong, cos when you get back home maybe I'll be gone, When the lights go down, When you've had your fill, When there's nothing left . . ."

FALL AT YOUR FEET: "The finger of blame as turned upon itself . . ."

HOW WILL YOU GO: "And you know I'll be fine, just don't ask me how it's going . . ."

NAILS IN MY FEET: "Total surrender, your touch is so tender . . ."

PRIVATE UNIVERSE: "It's a tight squeeze and I won't let go . . ."

LOCKED OUT: "I send a message out to my only one . . ."

DISTANT SUN: "And I'm lying on the table washed out in the flood . . ."

CAN YOU HEAR US: "In the final moment, in your hands . . ."

HOLE IN THE ICE: "And all I ever do is therapy one on one . . ."

LAST TO KNOW: "And who I wonder, could faily to notice the aching silence . . ."

et cetera!

And on and on and on. There are many.

Neil's songwriting rarely fits the verse / chorus / verse / middle eight / chorus/ chorus /chorus pattern, though -- thankfully. Like McCartney, his songwriting is full of all sorts of twists and turns that don't fit the mould.

Of course, there are several instrumental passages in his songs too that count as middle eights as well, technically.
Thanks again to gph... some of us just hadn't seen this thread until now, so were saved having to ask Xor's question (although I did have some idea of the concept, gph, your description with examples was examplary... I've read your other forum posts and you seem to say exactly what I'd want to, about the music - had I the musical knowledge to do so! So, yeah, thanks)

And that Neil-example list is like some sort of catalogue of my favorite Finn song-moments of all time... and the tunes and lyrics stay with me, too, even having not heard some of those tracks for years...

Smiler
ok i get it.....so basically, what i always referred to as a bridge was atually a middle 8. I love it when you guys educate me Smiler
lol yeah I was about to say, why not just call it a bridge part. Razzer More people would know what that is...haha. But yeah that middle 8 thing he's talkin about is just the bridge part to the song. Smiler There are some great bridges to Neil's songs and nice little change to the usual topics hehe Wink I can't pick just a few right now, but I'll list some later. I do love that Fall At Your Feet bridge, just awesome.
quote:
Originally posted by Easy E:
[qb] lol yeah I was about to say, why not just call it a bridge part. Razzer More people would know what that is...haha. But yeah that middle 8 thing he's talkin about is just the bridge part to the song. Smiler There are some great bridges to Neil's songs and nice little change to the usual topics hehe Wink I can't pick just a few right now, but I'll list some later. I do love that Fall At Your Feet bridge, just awesome. [/qb]
Because a bridge is something entirely different that a middle eigth.

Think of a bridge as a piece of tape connecting one part of a song to another -- a brief bit of instrumentation between a chorus and another verse, for example.

Look at Don't Dream It's Over :

After the first chorus when Neil sings "You know they can't win," a bridge occurs before the next verse: there's a bass part and a drum fill for a couple of seconds before the 2nd verse starts with "Now I'm towing my car, there's a hole in the roof."

That's a bridge.

These are musical terms with specific meanings and are used in a certain way. An apple isn't an orange, and nor is an orange an apple -- though they're both fruit.

__


Asside from bridges and middle Eights , Neil has also used the occaissional coda in his songs -- an extra bit at the end of the song that stands seperately from the rest of the piece.

You'll find one of these in Loose Tongue (the whole quiet section at the end), Catherine Wheels (the whole "She's gone, vanished in the light" bit), The Devil You Know (the piano bit at the end) and a couple others -- though this doesn't occur as often as a middle eight in his songs.
My favorite Neil bridge is probably the one in Last To Know. I have always wondered how that bridge came into being. It seems almost like Neil wrote the entire song without the bridge and thought "this is a cute little song but it needs a bit something more" at which point the bridge was added which brings the song to an amazing new level. It feels like the singer is just meandering through his thoughts trying to figure out his feelings for the first two verses and then he stumbles across the answer (which, of course, is that he's been too selfabsorbed) and then in the last verse he changes his tone to apologetic and seeks forgivness. An amazing little song.

It always impresses me how much song Neil can pack into 3 minutes or less. I remember the first time I noticed that World Where You Live is only 3 minutes long ... I would've guessed it was 4 at least. And of course Four Seasons In One Day and Last One Standing are another couple of songs that say in 3 minutes what an artist like Meat Loaf would take 15 minutes to say.
hi.

just wanted to say, anybody who thought the middle 8 was a bridge, you're not wrong. The songs came first, then the terminology. These terms are all arbitrary and people toss them around freely, which is fine, cause the priority is for a song to be enjoyable rather than for it to be easily analyzed.

the section of the song that this thread is about can be called the middle 8 OR the bridge. its usual purpose is to provide a refreshing contrast after the whole song system (verse+chorus, verse+refrain, whatever) has already happened a couple times.

I've personally never heard the part GPH is talking about called a bridge; I've always heard it called an interlude.
The only other thing I know that could be called a bridge is the thing between the verse and the chorus, also called a 'climb' or a 'transitional bridge.' Climbs that Neil has done include the "marching to a different tune" from I Walk Away and "the hand that shook my hand..." from Sandy Allen.

But the point is, none of the terms are written in stone, just a lot of people use them, so knowing them makes it easier to communicate about this stuff. And also, here's some more fun bridge discussion.
For me is has to be from How will you go - "And you know I'll be fine........" Just awesome.

And I know what you mean about the middle eight from 'Where is my soul'. The first time I played the Finn album that was the one part of the whole album that stood out that little bit further than all the rest. And there was me thinking that it was just me Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by stepinmyshoes:
[qb] hi.

just wanted to say, anybody who thought the middle 8 was a bridge, you're not wrong. The songs came first, then the terminology. These terms are all arbitrary and people toss them around freely, which is fine, cause the priority is for a song to be enjoyable rather than for it to be easily analyzed.
[/qb]
Absolutely, songs and any art form should be enjoyed first before analysis! But then, there are many entry points to enjoying a piece of art, and for some, analysis is the way to go. Others may not find this to be the case.

I don't mean to be splitting enz here, but if you go to any musicology dictionary, you'll find that the bridge and middle eight are two different things. Yes, in common parlance, they may get interchanged, but if you study music theory you will learn what that the two are different.

The middle eight is so called because it's often eight bars long (or multiples thereof) and occurs in the middle of the song. It's there to provide a contrast with the rest of the music.

Traditionally, someone who writes a pop song has come up with at least two sections - the verse and chorus. The bridge doesn't really count as a separate section; it's considered part of the verse , technically. For clarity's sake, though, I'll treat it as a separate section for our purposes.

In a conventional song, the constant repetition of the verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure tends to become tedious after a while, and when the middle eight occurs, it can provide a welcome contrast.

A classic example, as mentioned previously, is The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand". The middle eight is the bit where they sing "and when I'm with you I feel happy inside..." The rhythm changes to a more laidback beat, a minor chord is introduced, and, most importantly, the melody is different to that of either the verse or the chorus.

A typical song structure might go like this:

Intro

1st Verse / Bridge / Chorus

2nd Verse / Bridge / Chorus

Middle 8

Chorus to end (or fade)

Therefore the middle eight is usually sandwiched between two choruses.

Whether it's actually 8 bars long or whether it's 4, 12 or 16 doesn't really matter. As with the verse, bridge and chorus, it's a question of whether it feels right or not.

However, 4 bars would probably be too short and 16 bars possibly too long. The aim is to take a break from the verse / bridge / chorus repetition, but not so long a break that it becomes an entirely new song!

I'm not making these things up out of thing air -- just trying to be precise.

There's lots of terminology that gets thrown around. Musicians themselves may interchange one word for another, in this case bridge and middle eight . These are innocent mistakes, and nothing wrong with them.

But there are people who study music, and write about music, and one of their interests in music might be the analytical side of things. It's like that in any field of art. Go to an art gallery, and some people get wrapped up in the colours, others want to construct a narrative, others want to know how the darn thing is supported on the wall, and others want to theory it to death. It takes all kinds. It's what is called Multiple Intelligences in the education and psychology fields.

So, for those of you who want to call a middle eight by the name of bridge , all the power to you. After all, language is a living thing and definitions are dependent upon usage. However, for those who prefer to be a bit more exact, that's great too!
Well I'm a musician and have played instruments for a while, so I'm just used to calling it a bridge. Whenever we play something that is considered "middle-8", we call that a bridge part. It's usually verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus or something like that. Yeah I understand there are different terms and meanings. I guess if you wanna get technical then you'd use ur definitions. I'm just saying what people probably think is more common. I know when I'm playing a song in my band, and we want to go over something, we'd say go to the bridge part or something, and we'd take that as the vocal or playing part that's between the chorus's that's not quite a verse, basically like "the finger of blame..." on Fall At Your Feet. So I've always called those parts the bridge to a song. In fact we call them different things. I know in music there are different terms for everything, they can be completely different, and sometimes be almost the same, or similar to what it's talking about. I know sometimes you see the chorus to a song called the refrain. Oh well, I was just using what I normally call the part. To me it doesn't really matter if you get the technical name right or what, just what you are meaning it to be. I see where ur coming from though.
Thanks, gph! You've certaintly given me a lesson or 2 on bridges / middle 8s, as well as somehow making your post(s) out to be very humurous Wink - I'm always the one dude at the art gallery wondering how the hell the darn thing is supported on the wall! Big Grin

Now to my favourite bridge middle 8 in a Neil Finn song...

Like, meps01, I have to say how good the everything is good for you middle 8 is... & I'm even starting to really like the song because of it!

What astounds me is how Neil can nearly always manage to find the perfect middle 8 to go with an already great song. Better be home soon is just one example of this.

Is paradise (wherever you are) one song which doesn't include a middle 8 @ all? And are there any other notable songs that don't?
wow, whatta thread! learning and beautiful music going thru my head at the same time. good way to start the day Smiler

going by gph's fantastic list, keeping it short and sweet (fav's afterall)...top 5 middle 8's!:

1. BULLET BRAIN AND CACTUS HEAD: "Fanatic believers, obsessive achievers . . ."

2. THE DEVIL YOU KNOW: "Into the city, into the city every day . . ."

3. TAKE A WALK: "When the long night awakes with memories a midnight feast, feel the boy in me escape . . ."

4. FALL AT YOUR FEET: "The finger of blame as turned upon itself . . ."

5. NAILS IN MY FEET: "Total surrender, your touch is so tender . . ."

feck! that was hard choosing!!!
This reminds me of when Paul McCartney was in the studio with George Martin working on a song and he apparently confused George by referring to the 'middle eight' which was actually 16 bars long. George, being taught music, pointed this out to Paul who hadn't considered fully what the term meant - they (The Beatles) had just heard it used and thought of it as the middle part of the song, different from the verse and chorus.

Relating to Neil, I think this is the part of a song he excels at and sets him apart from most other songwriters. Some of my favourites would be...

Into Temptation - "We can go sailing in..."
Better Be Home Soon - "So don't say no..."
Fall At Your Feet - "The finger of blame..."
As Sure As I Am - (the part with distant vocals singing something like "No-one will be left, no-one will be spared"?)
Distant Sun - "And I'm lying on the table..."
Truth - "They have showered me with riches..."
Last To Know - "And who I wonder..."
Weirdo? If so, silent stream, you have plenty of company. I've been thinking on and off for quite a while about how amazing some of Neil's "middle eight" sections are. Actually, I like the term you coined: "magic musical midpoint." It's pretty apt. Some of his songs are completely transformed by that "midpoint"--"Take A Walk" is the first that comes to mind. The song wouldn't have half its power without that short section. Through most of the song, the narrator describes the peace he wants to recapture, but the driving music says he's not finding it. At the start of the middle eight, he finally touches that remembered joy. The sudden musical hush that builds to a shout of exultation sweeps the listener right through the epiphany with him. I can never listen to it without emotion.

I also love the middle eight of "Hole In The River" ("I hope she was / Dreaming of glory..."). That moment of reluctant warmth balances the harsh bleakness of the rest of the song. Same for "Love You Till The Day I Die," actually, in a slightly different way.

Some other fave middle eights:

"Log Cabin Fever" ("Time to break away")

"Something So Strong"

"Anytime" (The end of the section, "Let's make it right," reminds me somehow of "We Can Work It Out.")

"Nails In My Feet" (though you could argue that "Total surrender" is actually just a variation on the music of "Who is that calling")

"Can't Carry On" ("Honestly I want to free myself")

Thanks for starting a good topic.

Evvie
Just thought I'd revive this thread....

I heard 'Tall Trees' on the CD in the car this morning and, though I don't love the song, I thought the middle 8 was sublime...

"And the roses you grow
Have a powerful scent
They'll be breaking your heart
By the morning"

Followed by a mini guitar solo. Sweet!
For me it's the middle 8 of Don't Stop Now that turns it into a good song ("In a church house...") Some great musical moments there!
Even Neil refers to middle eights as bridges sometimes, like on the farewell to the world commentary, where he talks about the "better be home soon"-"bridge". He also mentioned how he thought "bridges should be the emotional highpoint of a song". It's an interesting view I think.

I know "Time on earth" isn't quite up there with the other CH albulms, but you gotta give credit to the fantastic middle eight in "english trees". Very moving, love the chord changes there!
Neil is a master of the middle 8, there are so many great ones. If I had to pick one I'd have to go with "Fall at Your Feet." ('The finger of blame has turned upon itself...') Sometimes when they would play it live they'd repeat the middle 8 at the end of the song which would really add to the song's momentum.
Bridge (from the dictionary):
Music.
c. (in jazz and popular music) the contrasting third group of eight bars in a thirty-two-bar chorus; channel; release.

Is this what people mean when they say middle eight? I've gotta say, in pop music we all know what a bridge is and I've never heard any pop song writer refer to it as a middle eight. I've heard both Neil and Mitchell Froome refer to the "bridge" of "Into Temptation" and we all know what they're talking about.

The bridge of "Distant Sun" is my fave, though the bridge of "Where is My Soul" basically makes the song!
Oooh, does anyone else have a headache after trying to sort all that through the brain cells?

All I know is I love their music, and you know when your heart nearly skips a beat when you're listening for the bit that's added in extra that is the 'magical musical moment' and whether you call it a middle eight or a bridge let's not argue over the pure magic that Neil writes into the (somewhere middle-bridge-possibly eight-possibly not) song!

Phew! Uber-headache coming on.... ! :-0
I'm not sure about all this middle eight and bridge business, but in terms of lyrics, well:

"Like a christian fearing vengance from above, I don't pretend to know what you want but I over love"

"It's the alter piece I'm praying too for the living and the dead"

"Expert in bed, come on now there must be something missing"

"The finger of blame has turned upon itself..."

"I will catch the taxi driver weeping like a wounded beast"
Middle eight, bridge, they're the same thing. Middle eight probably harks back to Tin Pan Alley with the 32 bar song form. Cole Porter, Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington etc... all masters of the 32 bar form.

My personal favourite is the bridge in Where Is My Soul.
I vote Fall at Your Feet, and it was even better when they used to do the bridge twice in the live versions.

As Sure as I Am is a personal favourite, while Lost Island is a lowpoint cause it was ripped off the former.
quote:
Originally posted by Kitsune Soba:
I vote Fall at Your Feet, and it was even better when they used to do the bridge twice in the live versions.


Yeah, I want to hear the bridge twice when they do it live too! Plus no one's singing Paul old harmony on that bridge either (he only sings it live, it's not on the record). I guess the audience members will have to sing it.
Yeah, I want to hear the bridge twice when they do it live too! Plus no one's singing Paul old harmony on that bridge either (he only sings it live, it's not on the record). I guess the audience members will have to sing it.

Have you not heard them do FAYF live lately? That high, shouted harmony has been further up in the mix than ever before; Mr. Hart is covering that bit quite nicely.

By the by, way too much semantics nonsense about "middle eight" versus "bridge"; we musicians are too fond of picking nits like that. Both are used to refer to the same part of a song, both express the meaning. Neil usually calls it a bridge, in the interviews I've seen.
quote:
Originally posted by Terry:
1. "Like a christian fearing vengance from above, I don't pretend to know what you want but I over love"

2. "It's the alter piece I'm praying too for the living and the dead"

3. "Expert in bed, come on now there must be something missing"

4. "The finger of blame has turned upon itself..."

5. "I will catch the taxi driver weeping like a wounded beast"


Sorry, but number 3 and 5 are not part of a middle eight. They're in the verse.
quote:
Originally posted by gph:
quote:
Originally posted by Terry:
1. "Like a christian fearing vengance from above, I don't pretend to know what you want but I over love"

2. "It's the alter piece I'm praying too for the living and the dead"

3. "Expert in bed, come on now there must be something missing"

4. "The finger of blame has turned upon itself..."

5. "I will catch the taxi driver weeping like a wounded beast"


Sorry, but number 3 and 5 are not part of a middle eight. They're in the verse.


2 is also part of the verse.
These are my top 3 (can't decide on just 1):
  • #3 - NAILS IN MY FEET: Actually, IMHO the Middle Eight is not "Total surrender, your touch is so tender . . ." but the instrumental part in major after the 2nd chorus, and boy do I love that one!
  • #2 - WHERE IS MY SOUL: "And I'll go up . . ."
  • and #1 - DISTANT SUN: "And I'm lying on the table washed out in the flood . . ."
Nice thread, although it's rather predictable that each and every Finnatic will have a fave all their own - eventually all songs with a bridge/middle 8/whatever will be spoken for
quote:
Originally posted by adidasman:

Have you not heard them do FAYF live lately? That high, shouted harmony has been further up in the mix than ever before; Mr. Hart is covering that bit quite nicely.


I have a couple of live recordings of FAYF in which at least part of the bridge is sung in three-part harmony, rather than the two parts that are on the studio recording and in most live performances I've heard (including a number of recent ones over the web). I have two versions of FAYF in regular rotation on my iPod--the studio version and the one with Mark Hart from Sessions on W.54th--and I usually find myself singing the third part to fill in the gaps.

Might this be what Painaporo is talking about?
quote:
Originally posted by Jeffcoop:
quote:
Originally posted by adidasman:

Have you not heard them do FAYF live lately? That high, shouted harmony has been further up in the mix than ever before; Mr. Hart is covering that bit quite nicely.


I have a couple of live recordings of FAYF in which at least part of the bridge is sung in three-part harmony, rather than the two parts that are on the studio recording and in most live performances I've heard (including a number of recent ones over the web). I have two versions of FAYF in regular rotation on my iPod--the studio version and the one with Mark Hart from Sessions on W.54th--and I usually find myself singing the third part to fill in the gaps.

Might this be what Painaporo is talking about?


Yes, that's what I'm talking about. =)
I like the one in Log Cabin Fever, ("Time to break away...") not so much for the middle eight itself, but for what it leads into. That song goes to a very dark place.

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