Friday, May 20, 2016

Repetitious, Not Tiresome - “I Need My Girl” by The National

     Songs that feature an almost continuous repetition of a few notes without becoming tiresome are rare. The degree of difficulty is highest if it’s a vocal repetition – the same few words dominating the length of the song. In comparison, the challenge is least difficult if the repetition is a bass line.
     Attempts at remaining interesting while being repetitive date back to the band that some music historians assert made Indie fashionable – Velvet Underground. In “I’m Waiting for My Man,” two guitars maintain their separate patterns for nearly the length of the song. “Heroin” features a single background frequency (the minor oscillations are probably not intended).
     More recently, a song that includes non-tiresome repetition is “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem. More than seven minutes of straightforward repetition, and yet the song is destined to be a classic.
     Even more recently, there is the guitar line in “I Need a Girl” by The National. It is not tiresome; a better adjective is “hypnotic.”

     “I Need My Girl” by The National

     “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem

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