It's The Little Things...

It's strange how the smallest thing can make a song. I've often latched on to what could be considered a relatively minor element of a track and proclaimed it the source of all the song's greatness (or something suitably grandiose). I'm not talking about the obvious things, like the hook or the lyric, but something small which only occurs once or twice, and probably only for a second or two. A drum fill, a guitar/bass lick, the pronunciation of a certain word... maybe I'm getting terribly geeky here, but I seem to keep noticing them.

Click the readmore for a few examples of what the hell I'm talking about.

The song that made me think of this now is a timeless classic, but one which I've always thought has a definitive 'best bit'. We all know that the solo in Something by The Beatles is awesome, but there's a tiny flourish towards the end which is the absolute king of throwaway guitar flourishes. It happens twice, and then slightly differently a third time, but the first one is so effortlessly perfect that it gets me every time.

The Beatles- Something

...and the little thing

Bon Iver's Creature Fear is a juxtaposition of subdued verses with choruses that seem to want to explode with emotion. At the end of each chorus the bass seemingly can't take it anymore and spills into a funky little lick. It's awesome.

Bon Iver- Creature Fear

...and the little thing

I'm quite a fan of the Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium, and typically, most of its highlights come courtesy of the godlike genius that is John Frusciante. When 21st Century slows down for a few bars it's Frusciante's guitar that teases the chorus back in. I might be overstating it's greatness here, but it's possibly the greatest two seconds in the history of guitar playing.

Red Hot Chili Peppers- 21st Century

...and little thing

Another example of a lead-in to a section turning out to be the highlight of the song: I've always thought the bass in Glass Danse by The Faint was great- simple yet effective- but apparently the bassist couldn't resist getting a bit funky just before the second verse kicks in. Thank god for the irresistible power of funk.

The Faint- Glass Danse

...and the little thing

I can't seem to think of any more of these offhand, but no doubt they'll jump out again when I hear them. Am I being reeeeally over analytic, or does anyone else pick apart songs into minute fragments like this?

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January 28, 2009 at 9:25 PM Anonymous said...

No, you're not alone. I don't think it makes a difference for actually liking the song, but something little like that for me - especially in the way a singer says certain words - can definitely make me love the song.