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19/8 - Math Drumming 🥁

Four Analysis: Track 11 - Stockholm Syndrome

Man, there’s always gotta be one.  That song that would be absolutely fucking perfect if it weren’t for the incredibly problematic lyrics. Last album it was Little White Lies, and now we get this hot mess.

Stockholm Syndrome is a real thing; it is a disordered trauma response.  WHY ARE YOU USING IT FOR A LOVE SONG like what does that say about your relationship??  This is basically begging to be used in a Teen Wolf Kate/Derek vid, that’s how fucked up it is.

At the same time, some of the lines are genuinely lovely.  It’s disarming, how beautifully worded things can soften the impact of what they’re actually expressing.  It reminds me of Lolita, in fact, except that Nabokov wrote an exquisitely excruciating exposition of predatorial rationalising and victim-blaming, and it has value as social commentary as well as art.  Stockholm Syndrome uses a serious psychological disorder as a cheaply powerful metaphor in service of some love story at the expense of the gravity of the former and the gravitas of the latter.

I mean, I understand wanting to take the inevitability of falling in love and express the helplessness in extreme terms, but INAPPROPRIATE METAPHOR IS INAPPROPRIATE.

The bitch of it is that I adore everything else about this.  The vocals are absolutely on point the entire way through.  I’m especially struck by Liam in the bridge; he sounds rather like Adam Lambert in Whataya Want From Me and I love it.  (Compelled to point out, however, that Liam’s falsetto is not as strong.  But then, whose is?)  The instrumentation choices couldn’t be more perfect.  The particular mix of guitars feels archetypal of something, but I can’t think what (help a sister out, it’s been bugging me for months).

Then there are the technical elements of composition.  The compound meter (compound time = the beat of the music is divided into threes rather than twos), for starters, is so fresh for 1D.  It stands out.  Then there are the cross-rhythms and hemiolas, which I always enjoy and which are used to great effect (cross-rhythm = when two parts of the same piece of music have competing rhythms; hemiola = when something is in one meter and sounds like it’s in another because the accents/stresses have been moved around)

Illustrations from the text:

  • compound time: it sounds like this song is in 12/8.  That means there are twelve eighth notes to the bar, in groups of three, so we count four beats per bar, each one having three subdivisions: dadada dadada dadada dadada
  • cross-rhythm: idk just listen to the rhythm guitar, especially in the choruses and second verse
  • hemiola: “baby look what you’ve done to me” and most of the rest of the chorus after that - sounds like 6/4 instead of 12/8.  Ratio’s the same, subdivisions are not.

I mean, musically, this is really solid, to the point where I could go for an instrumental jazz cover.  It’s just a crying shame about the lyrics.