Monday, December 19, 2011

the opposite of the "The Police formula" and attention to detail

One of the most common arranging techniques of The Police was the "double-time chorus" formula: the verses are in some sort of 2-feel, often with the "one drop" drum pattern, followed by a more straight-ahead chorus in 4 with a more typical "rock" drum beat ("Roxanne," "So Lonely," "Can't Stand Losing You," "Don't Stand So Close To Me," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "Spirits In the Material World," etc.). It's an effective technique, propelling the song forward and often creating a "catchy" chorus. There's at least one song (considering my level of obsession with this band I should know for sure) that does the opposite.

Driven To Tears

This song hits the molasses when it reaches the chorus, the reverse of the typical Police formula. But one detail really sticks out, a detail that further solidifies the reputations of a band and drummer that didn't really need solidifying. Listen to the cross stick on beat 3 starting at 0:22, 1:04, and 1:53. Stylistically appropriate, yes, BUT. They also set up the half-time feel of the chorus! Those beats 3 translate into beats 2 and 4 in half-time, the "backbeat."

I very recently discovered this detail while driving early in the morning. It's a small thing, and I wasn't looking for more reasons to love The Police, but WOW what a nice touch that is.

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