check back next week kiddies!
Thursday Theory To continue with the last theory posting on the pop-punk chord progression, I’ll talk about some of the variants. The I-V-vi-IV (Major 1, Major 5, minor 6, Major 4) chord progression does have a few notable variants changing it from the “pop-punk chord progression” to: The Sensative Female Chord Progression: This variant is vi-IV-I-V. A classic example is Joan Osbourne’s “One of Us”. Doo Wop Chord Progression: Obviously it predates the Pop Punk chord progression, but this chord progression is I-vi-IV-V. Just go raid your parents records if you don’t know doo wop and if you do know doo wop, kudos! Other Variants: There are some other variants. Some involve a different order of the progression, and some are just chordal substitution (which we’ll get too). IV-I-V-vi. A chord progression seen in Lady GaGa’s “Alejandro”, Rihanna’s “Umbrella”. V-vi-IV-I. Spice Girl’s “Wannabe”. The V is also replaced by these different chords: iii(minor 3 chord) [Jessie J’s “Price Tag”], III (Major 3 chord) chorus to “If We Ever Meet Again” [Timbaland ft. Katy Perry], IV (Black Eyed Pea’s “I Got A Feeling”]. And so on. But this chord progression is so very common you can hear it in other songs from the likes of Rob Thomas, Jason Aldean, U2, Taylor Swift, Linkin Park, anywhere! This chord progression is a derivative itself of the famous chord progression of I-vi-ii-V (ii=minor 2 chord), the most common chord progression in music.
Fall Out Boy
Named after the plucky sidekick from the Radioactive Man comics in “The Simpsons”, Fall Out Boy are considered emo boy wonders. Formed by bassist/lyricist Pete Wentz and guitarist Joe Trohman, Patrick Stump would later join as the singer/guitarist and Andy Hurley on drums.
“From Under the Cork Tree” released in 2005 would launch this band to an unprecedented level of success. “Dance Dance” and “Sugar We’re Going Down” would bleed into the bands fourth album “Infinity on Hi”, which leads to “Folle Au Deux” before they went on hiatus.
Emerging from the Chicago hardcore scene, there was one thing I remembered about Fall Out Boy. I was in high school when the band released “From Under The Cork Tree” and you either liked/loved the band or thought that emo music was the biggest piece of crap out there, which we labeled Fall Out Boy.
But what the hell was the point of this kind of ignorance? Yea, we all find some faults in music, but it’s a pop punk band playing pop punk music. Same with all the other bands that got lumped into the emo category.
I’m not a huge fan of Fall Out Boy, but there stuff did grow on me. “I Don’t Care” and the newest song “My Song Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” (yea they like stupidly long song titles) are good rock songs! Highly produced? Yes. But that was the band! You listened to their stuff, and you knew that they were trying to put out top 40 type material!
Monday History Lesson: Fueled by Ramen Records
A subsidiary label of Atlantic Records and Warner Bros., Fueled by Ramen is most famous for being the label most associated with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz.
Started in 1996 John Janick and Vinnie Fiorello, the first major release from Fueled by Ramen was a 5 song self titled EP from Jimmy Eat World. The band would go onto bigger and better success as well as the band Jimmy Eat World.
As with most labels who have one successful artist, the other artists who sounded similar/drew major influence from Jimmy Eat World FLOCKED to Fueled by Ramen. Current major touring artists on the Fueled by Ramen catalogue include:
The newly reformed Fall Out Boy, Cobra Starship, Sublime with Rome, Fun., Gym Class Heroes, Paramore, the Academy Is…, and Panic! At the Disco.
Many of these artists/bands are associated with the Emo music phenomenon of the mid 2000’s, but they were and are at the core Pop-Punk artists.
Haven’t done a theory lesson in a while, and I thought I’d break that bad streak.
I’ve talked about chord progressions. Some of the more prominent chord progressions in music by traditional theory are V(5)-I(1), IV(4)-V-I, ii(minor 2)-vi(minor 6)-V-I, and ii-V-I.
But what’s more there has become a progression known as the “pop-punk” chord progression. This chord progression goes as I-V-vi-IV. So if a song was in the key of C Major, the chord progression would follow as C Maj, G Maj, A min, F Maj.
As a reminder, to determine which chords go where in a different major key, take the major scale and with the root of that scale as one (so if it’s C Major, when building that scale, the C is one) and count up.
There are variants of this chord progression that are common in pop music, but that’s for another time.
Monday History Lesson: Van’s Warped Tour
Started in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, the Van’s Warped Tour has been the premier punk/skate summer tour.
Since 1995 one of the primary sponsors of the tour is the skateboard shoe manufacturer Van’s.
Inspired by the “Vision Skate Horizon” and “Holiday Havoc” out in California, the Warped Tour was always intended to be a fusion of punk rock music and skate contests/skateboard exhibitions. Due to this part of the festival, the Warped Tour is predominantly held outside and is only played inside under the most dire of circumstances.
Since it was based out of California, California area bands were the main attraction musically. Sure there were some bands from different parts of the country, but it’s predominantly California bands and it was predominantly punk bands. Now it’s a nice mix of rap, punk, metal and pop (some alums of Warped Tour in the last 3 years include D12, Yellowcard, Yealawolf, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, and 3OH3).
With over 100 bands in a given day on tour, you have a great chance to finding something you like.
Double stops and chords are (on the bass guitar) more confusing than it sounds. The term originates from the upright bass, and other stringed instruments with a curved bridge. With that curved bridge, being played with a bow, it makes it significantly difficult to play two strings at once with the bow. So double stops refer to playing two notes on different strings with one bow stroke. There are triple stops (three strings) and quadruple stops (four strings) which make it seem more like a chord. Now, on a bass guitar, our bridge is flat and we have an easier time playing more than one note. So, in theory, when we play more than one note at a time, we are playing double stops rather than chords, even though we are playing power chords, and in some cases, major/minor/diminished/augmented chords (that enters into the realm of triple, quadruple, pentuple and so on and so forth stops). Like I said, it’s confusing. But look at it this way! Basslines are more defined by playing one string at a time, so when you throw in a 2 or 3 or 4 note chord, you’re playing a double, triple and quadruple stop instead of a chord.
Tuesday Profile Green Day. Like ‘em. Love ‘em. You know who the hell they are, and they are probably the biggest and most popular of the pop punk bands. They certainly are one of the more influential of all the pop punk bands (at least of the 90’s). Drawing as much influence from 80’s alternative bands like The Replacements and Hüsker Dü as they did from the Who, the Rammone’s and the Clash, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool have crafted a sonic landscape and legacy that few can come close to too (in the punk rock world). Yes, they have been signed to a major label since Dookie, but they signed to Reprise Records (a Warner Bros. subsidiary) but was due largely in part to just how successful they were as an underground band! Do they not have the whole D.I.Y. work ethic as other punk bands had? Not since they signed to Reprise in all likelihood. But the attitude, the snarl, the edge, the punk rock sound has always been there. As they’ve gotten older, they’ve become more of a radio rock band, which is a natural evolution of bands. To fully get the scope of the band as a punk band, the best places to start are their indie albums (39/Smooth, and Kerplunk), “Dookie”, “Insomniac” and “Nimrod”. While I don’t have their most financially successful albums on here, “American Idiot” is an album to listen to. It encompasses truly what they’ve done in their complete evolution as a band. There are straight up punk songs (“St. Jimmy”) and radio friendly ballads (“Wake Me Up When September Ends”). But it’s still one of the best damn albums of the 2000’s!
Pop Punk. We all have heard of it. Now that we’ve run a gauntlet of different areas of the punk rock genre (garage rock, straight up punk, hardcore, ska and the like), it’s best if we end it with the most popular and easy to digest form of the genre.
It is at it sounds, a fusion of punk rock with popular music. The chord progressions, the song structure, but most importantly (and in my opinion characteristically) the vocal melodies. There are actual melodies as opposed to in some instances, shouts and screams.
The production value is crisp, clean and concise. Bands like Green Day, the Offspring, blink-182, and Fall Out Boy have dominated the genre. But like most other genre’s, you have more underground pop punk bands that have some mainstream success, but not much. Look at the bands on the Punk goes Pop compilations. August Burns Red on Pop Goes Punk Vol. 2 and their cover of “Baby One More Time”, it’s a pop song certainly, but not really poppish in sound.
Monday History Lesson: Musicians Who’ve Acted.
In honor of the Oscar’s last night, I think it would be prudent to mention some of the more noteworthy music based movies/musician’s who’ve acted.
Probably one of the more noteworthy movies about a musician within the last decade was “Ray”. Jamie Foxx won the Academy Award for his portrayal of the legendary blind R&B singer.
Numerous musicians have brought home music related Oscar’s without having to act. Most recently Adele just brought home the Oscar for (what I find to be) a rather weak theme for a James Bond movie “Skyfall”. Bruce Springsteen has won several Oscars related to music, as have Bob Dylan, Elton John, and Phil Collins.
In total, there have been three singers who have won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Barbara Streisand, Liza Minelli, and Cher (these are recording artists of at least the last 50 years). There have been one recording artist who has won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and that’s Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls”. There have been two recording artists who won the Academy Award for Best Actor, Bing Crosby and Jeff Bridges (he’s been an actor longer, but won his first Oscar after his music career began). And there have been two singers who have won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Frank Sinatra and Burl Ives.
Not to mention, there have been plenty of musicians who have acted in other more well known movies. Madonna was in Evita. Justin Timberlake has been in plenty of movies, the most noteworthy being The Social Network. Beyonce was also in Dreamgirls and in the highly underrated Cadillac Records. David Bowie has had a prolific acting career. Will Smith is an obvious choice, and Mark Wahlberg from Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
This concludes this music related Oscar post.