The song my group has gone with for the Soundalike Project is In The Summertime by Thirsty Merc. I’m not a huge fan of the song to be honest - I find it a little mundane and uninteresting to research and aim to replicate and whatnot, but it is a good example of a ‘regular’ pop rock song, and there is validity in the fact that many people like and enjoy it, so it is still valuable to critically analyse (every song is I guess!).
The song begins with an intro of just guitar, bass and drums - for 2 bars worth (if the tempo is 78/79bpm as I tapped into Ableton, and the time signature 4/4). The guitar is playing the main riff of the song, in the same style as in the chorus. The rhythm of the riff emphasis the first two eighth notes of the bars (both with dowstrokes), and the ‘three e and a four e and a’, with pick up sounds on the sixteenth notes in between.
The dynamics are quite large for such a small section, before coming right down - the drums drop out as the guitar plays a solo, with the same riff as the verses (a variation on the main riff), for eight bars; playing the up and downbeats throughout. The vocalist has some spoken word moments in this break too. With the bass coming in at the beginning of the eighth bar and the drums, playing the snare and floor tom, coming in on beat three of that of bar - playing eighth notes in unison leading into the verse.
The vocals come in on the last sixteenth beat of the first bar. This is Anacrusis, as the beginning of the vocals, “I”, precedes the first downbeat of the second bar (with “don’t” on beat one of the second bar). The guitar continues the same riff. The drums play a cymbal crash at the beginning of the verse, and continues with a snare, kick and hi-hat rhythm. He plays sixteenth notes on the hi-hat, with snare on beat 2 and ‘3e’, 4, and 4a (where he alternates sometimes between snare and open hi-hat) - this rhythm is syncopated with the guitar.
In the fourth bar, there is a solo hi-hat part of the fourth beat where he plays the sixteenth notes.
The key of the song I would say is E major; believing E to be the root note, and the E major chord to work better than the E minor chord.
The verse goes for only eight bars, and leads into the bridge (or pre-chorus).
The bridge goes for four bars. The E Major chord changes to F# Minor for the first bar (four counts), then A Major for four counts, back to F#minor for four and ending on A major (for two counts). The rhythm of the guitar is also different to the verse, and is grungier than before. The ‘one and’ counts are emphasised, with the drummer playing cymbal on both those counts to add to the feel. At the fourth bar the rhythm stops, with a sixteenth note build up for two counts by all the instruments. At the third count the instruments hit then drop-out to leave the singer to solo the words “take me back to the”.
All the instruments come back in with a crash on the first beat of the chorus. The dynamics of the chorus, and bright feeling, are added to by the drummer playing the bell of the cymbal throughout the chorus (on the sixteenth notes).
B major leads into the chorus, and changes to E major at “sweet times”. The chord progression is as follows:
E major, C#minor, A Major, E Major (approximately two counts / half a bar each), then goes to F# minor at “summertime” (third bar of the chorus), and A major at the second “summertime” (fourth bar of the chorus).
The progression repeats itself for the second part of the chorus. At the end of that part the chord changes to B major for “that is where I’ll be”. The instruments drop out again after the first count of this bar to leave the singer solo.
After the chorus there are two bars of the all the musicians playing the verse parts, then just the guitar playing the riff for a bar, the singer joining in, before the second guitar, bass and drums re-enter with an anacrusis of an open hi-hat.
The second verse has the same rhythm and harmony as the first, but with different lyrics, and only consists of four bars instead of eight, before going again into the bridge.
The second bridge has the same instrumentation as the first.
The second chorus is also the same as the first.
It leads into a guitar solo break, which goes for four bars, with a wild vibe, a lot of crashing cymbals and snare fills and a whiny guitar sound. To contrast the next part, where the vocals are softer and almost talk-like, alone except for some softly played guitar notes with feedback and tremolo for effects in the background.
In the fourth bar of this break, the guitar builds with a crescendo of sixteenth notes, before the drums take over with a solo (of different lengths depending on versions of the song, but this one goes for only two counts). Ending on the third beat of the first bar of chorus three. With the vocalist singing “take me back to the-” solo again.
This chorus has the same format as the others, except that the third count in the eighth bar leads in to another chorus, which is the same again but with small quirks to seperate it from the others and give it a fuller, stronger sound - such as altered vocals on “everything is gonna be alright” and a mini emphasised bass sequence/solo that is brought out in the mix.
The riffs are also more loosely played, with harder hits and a more ‘rough’ sound. This last chorus tries to build a fun-spirited vibe, reminiscent of summer activities etc.
At the end of this chorus they add two extra phrases of “in the summertime” (with a different before finishing with “that is where I’ll be”. Before ending with one final riff (four counts worth) and a unified hit at the end.
In general with the production and mixing, the track is very vocals based. The song isn’t very bass heavy, though it gets more so toward the end of the songs and within the choruses. The drum sound is very clean and crisp, with the high-hats and cymbals being emphasised (with a high, tinny quality). The guitars are more gritty and muddy (especially in the chorus), sitting in and around the middle of the mix.
The sound doesn’t seem altered a lot - I think the producing was focused more on corrective editing and mixing, rather than creative or experimental producing - the song has qualities of a live, normal rock sound, so should be okay to aim to replicate!
I think the hardest part will be replicating the guitar sound because it is very prominent within the song, though not extremely unique so it should be doable!
I plan to research the guitars and guitar equipment used more thoroughly in continuing this assignment!