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NZ Musician 'takes apart' NWWY in their latest issue - though this is done with nothing but praise from the reviewer. Great for anyone who wants to be able to play the song. The article is not yet up on the website www.nzmusician.co.nz but if it doesn't turn up soon I'll use OCR scanning to post it up.
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Here's the article. Enjoy.

The X Factory with Stephen Small - Finn Brothers� Nothing Wrong With You

Welcome all. In this issue we will look to two of the legendary contemporary writers who dominate New Zealand popular music history: Tim and Neil Finn. Their recent album release �Everyone Is Here� has been hailed as returning to the classic Finn sound heard on Crowded House�s �Woodface� album.

The overwhelming features of the Finn writing style are balance of structure, great word-setting, memorable melodies and hooks, and inventive use of relatively simple chords to paint clear colourful images in music.

The similarities and influences of Lennon/McCartney are clear and unsurprising given the period when these men where teenagers (not an ageist comment), but the clarity of structure, melody and harmony is the hallmark of timeless songwriting technique and does not denote a �60s style. Look at other artists the Finn�s have aligned themselves with on the concert platform � these artists are arbiters of �classic� songwriting style also.

The album�s second song, Nothing Wrong With You offers an uncomplicated structure:

Intro, Verse x 2, Chorus
Intro, Verse x 2, Chorus
Bridge, Chorus x 2, Outro


The intro and Verse 1 rely upon the opposition of Bb and Gm7 (relative major/minor):

Gm7 Bb Gm7 Bb
Cm7 Cm6 Gm7 Bb


The Cm7 � Cm6 is a �signature� Finn progression found on many songs. Verse 2 offers much the same but the second line turns towards the chorus in preparation:

Gm7 Bb Gm7 Bb
Eb Bb F/A Eb / Bb


The strings enter with this verse and thus the tension builds. The substitute of Cm7 with Eb reinforces the Primary chords. The F/A (first inversion F chord) creates impetus towards a conclusion, and sure enough we get a cadence (full stop) from Eb to Bb � a Plagal cadence (�Amen�) in Bb. Thus the song effectively stops prior to the chorus, which is a great opportunity to reinvent or restart. The chorus roars into life and offers a new harmonic perspective:

Eb / Dm Gm
AbM7 Eb


The harmonic world shifts to Eb but soon returns to Gm which might suggest some sameness with the verses, but unexpectedly slides up to AbM7 which throws us back into the key of Eb. The chorus cuts off here, in an incomplete fashion and returns suddenly to a hushed intro. Brilliant! We are made to wait for a complete chorus � the car rot is dangled and then withdrawn.

Verses 3 and 4 follow the same pattern as verses 1 and 2. The piano enters in Verse 3 with a chromatic flourish reminiscent of Eddie Rayner and Split Enz. The following chorus emulates the previous but doesn�t back off this time, and completes itself with a Gm and F/A to take us into the bridge. Still no predictable double-chorus, and another first inversion chord to create forward energy. If you haven�t used first inversion chords you should try it � just move the bass instrument off the root and up to the 3rd degree of the scale. It makes a very insecure bass note and accordingly cries out to be settled again � forward energy!

The bridge solidifies Eb major thus:

Eb Eb/G F/A Gm
Eb Bb F / Bb


It also has an extension of an extra bar at which point the forward momentum is momentarily suspended, making the inevitable landing in the chorus that much more definite.

Finally we get a double chorus with slight variations in the harmony, so that after waiting all this time when it arrives it is not a carbon copy of previous choruses but a developed one:

Eb / Dm Gm
AbM7 Eb F Bb
Eb / Dm
AbM7 Eb Bb/F Eb Bb Eb Bb Eb out


The beauty of the writing is that we are suddenly unsure of the true key of the chorus; is it Bb or Eb (both are possible)? You need to listen to it to get this point, but it becomes clearer in the oscillation between Bb and Eb at the very end, simply because it reminds us of the same at the end of the verses. This suggests Bb as the key.
Of note is the dominance of the snare drum in the choruses; it plays on all four beats in every bar making the chorus even more declamatory, beyond the louder dynamic. At the end of the song the hi-hats disappear and we are left with a military march type rhythm on the snare.

The melodies are based on small cells with a great deal of repetition that is made potent with the subtle shifts in harmony and tonality. The contrast between simple nylon string guitar in the intro and verse, and the cranking chorus is backed up by the harmonic variation. Another Finn classic that presents a variety of techniques for tension and release � structure, harmony, melody, rhythm and lyric.

See you next year.

NZM December/January 2005
In the STF book, Mike Chunn commented that Neil's writing process was pretty arduous in that he starts of with a lyrical idea and then VERY SLOWLY shapes a song around it, investigating unusual chord progressions ...

So my guess is that they have a fair idea what they're doing, though not to the extent that it becomes too 'clever' (Natasha Bedingfield, anyone?).

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