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Songs without conventional structure

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Songs without conventional structure

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:01 am

I've been listening obsessively to Jack Greene's 1969 country smash "Statue of a Fool." Part of what's great about it is that in this arrangement, there's no verse/chorus structure to speak of. There's a long, winding, complicated sentence, followed by a short one. Basically it's recitative.

Doing without conventional pop song structure (verse/chorus, verse/chorus/bridge, verse/hook/bridge, etc.) like this is unusual, but there must be other examples. Anyone?

The hook is only heard once, at the beginning. Otherwise the song is basically hook-free. It shouldn't work. But it's tremendous.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby bdog » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:34 am

Ween.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:03 am

Whoops, sorry, "Statue of a Fool" is aria, not recitative. Duh.

My loving partner just named "High Noon." Good call.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Huckleby » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:15 pm

Erik Satie had a piece called "vexations" that was a theme to be repeated 840 times, written in 1893. I was just reading about it at Wikipedia, John Cage gave the first public performance in 1963. He charged $5 admission, and refunded 5¢ for every 20 minutes that the audience member stayed. The performance lasted 18 hours.

The songs on Van Morrisons' "Astral Weeks" just kinda roll along. I like "Sweet Thing"
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Galoot » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:04 pm

Great topic! The first one that occurred to me is Boots of Spanish Leather.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Kenneth Burns » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:08 pm

Indie stuff can be like this, Bright Eyes and whatnot. I prefer "Statue of a Fool."
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Walter » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:38 pm

A Well Respected Man by the Kinks.

AKA the Paul Ryan song.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Adam Powell » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:00 am

"Stairway to Heaven" is very strange structurally.

We're all sick of it now, but that one broke rules left and right. Next time it comes on listen to what happens with the tempo.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby brentron909 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:53 am

"Unchained Melody" is pretty weird for an old pop song.

For the obligatory Beatles unconventional song, I would submit "A Day In The Life".

Do prog music songs count? Most of those, even the more commercially successful ones, are all over the place with suites, movements, false endings, etc.

In the beloved song "Don't Stop Believin", they dont actually say "Dont Stop Believin" until the last chorus.

"Surf's Up" by the Beach Boys isn't exactly sing-along material.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby minicat » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:49 pm

10 Little Bottles by Johnny Bond. Which is also not a "song" necessarily, I guess.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:58 pm

"Can't You See That She's Mine" by The Dave Clark Five.

There are verses, a vocal bridge, and an instrumental break, but no chorus to speak of.
Always struck me as awesomely weird.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Kenneth Burns » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:42 pm

I believe "Unchained Melody" is the one I was trying to think of, thanks. A big hit with a weird structure, and the title is nowhere to be found in the lyrics. Oh yes.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Maggie » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:26 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:I believe "Unchained Melody" is the one I was trying to think of, thanks. A big hit with a weird structure, and the title is nowhere to be found in the lyrics. Oh yes.


"Unchained Melody" is from a movie with the same title hence the title of song. There is a verse and a bridge but no chorus as such so I have to agree it is an unusual structure. An extremely beautiful song in my opinion.

None of the lyrics rhyme in the song "Moonlight In Vermont"

"I Get Along Without You Very Well" has an odd structure despite having a bridge. I wish this song was done more often.

I love this topic. I will try to come up with some more examples and I am interested in hearing others.
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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:31 pm

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Re: Songs without conventional structure

Postby Kyle Motor » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:00 pm

A lot of Roy Orbison songs have odd structures. Usually building verses, a bridge somewhere, but no chorus.
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