Thursday, April 2, 2009

Building Bridges

Henceforth (! I just used henceforth, awesome), Thursday is going to be Top Five Day. Because by this point in the week, I'm pretty much scattered and need some structure to rein in my mind's wanderings.

Today's Top Five is about bridges. Not the cutesy covered kind in N.H., or the engineering marvels made of steel and cable, but song bridges. (Quick lesson, if you don't give much thought to music: a bridge is a departure from the song structure, a little something to shake things up about mid-to-three-quarters of the way into a song; not every song has one.)

Top Five Best Bridges (ha, better than stupid Nash Bridges)

5. Rocketscience - Day or Night
Man I miss this band. Andy Galdins sure had some velvet pipes. Anyway this bridge puts the breaks on the song and starts with a throbbing pulse, builds up in momentum, and delivers the genius line, "You could touch me a thousand times, and I won't even tell your boyfriend."

4. Radiohead - Creep
The soaring, belted-out break in Creep is the high point of the whole song and probably the very notes that put Radiohead on the map in the first place. I get teary-eyed just listening to a college cover band play this bridge. It steals the song.

3. Will Dailey - I Have to Get You Off of My Mind
Now this — this is a bridge. An honest to goodness bridge isn't really the focal point or climax of a song; rather, it sets up the crescendo. The music and lyrics here arrest your ears, ramp up, and crash into the final verse, complete with haunting violin. It makes for gut-wrenching beauty.

2. Weezer - El Scorcho / Holiday / Say It Ain't So
(What, you can't have three in one spot? Whatever, it's my list. Make your own list if you want.) Rivers Cuomo is a student of pop of course, so it shouldn't be a surprise. In El Scorcho, the bridge jumps into hyperactive double-time and he unleashes the Pinkerton passion; in Holiday, it slows down into a '50s doo wop/barbershop breakdown that builds into a slamming final chorus; and in Say It Ain't So, the jagged rhythms punctuate the lyrics — which complete the story.

1. Beatles - A Day in the Life
I never knew it until recently, but I guess this is the part of the song that Paul McCartney wrote. I love it; it's like a song within a song, and yet it fits in seamlessly... a mundane morning that melts into the more surreal, epic theme of the song and offers some chiaroscuro. Plus I love a bus with an upstairs. (An upstairs that you can have a smoke in, no less! Isn't it something how crazy that sounds now?)

And for the record? My favorite bridge of mine is the one in Ambush.

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