Friday, October 25, 2013

TIME IS ON MY SIDE: I just saw Marsha's plug for Solisbury Hill's 7/4 time signature in the post a few days ago about the Hall of Fame and it got me wondering:  favorite songs with alternative time signatures?  Off the top of my head, there's Pavement's "5:4=Unity," which is basically "Take Five" for the skateboard set.  There's Julianna Hatfield's "Spin the Bottle," which manages to make 5/4 time seem less alternative and more juvenile, using the skipped beat (because the song wants to be 3/4, not 4/4) to convey the impatience of the POV character.  There are the twin 11/4 masterpieces (technically, 3/4 with a 2/4 thrown in every fourth bar)---PJ Harvey's exquisite "Miss Him" and the Allmans' nearly pentacostal "Whipping Post."  I'm not wild about screwing with time signatures just for the sake of screwing with them (ahem, Phish, and you too, deceased persons of Alice in Chains).  But all of the above are actual songs, not just etudes, and I have listened to each (other than "Solisbury Hill," for no better reason than that I only own it on LP and I haven't had a turntable since 1992) countless times for emotional, not intellectual, reasons.  Any others that you like? 

Don't say Phish. 


  1. Nikki Guntz6:03 PM

    "15 Step" by Radiohead is great!

  2. Nowhereman7:26 PM

    How about "March of the Pigs" from Nine Inch Nails: 3 measures of 7/8 then a measure of 8/8; it's strange that the "odd" time signature suggests a lurching forward similar to a lumbering march.

  3. janet8:35 AM

    Mumford & Sons' "Awake My Soul"

  4. Most famous pop song in 7/4 (likely moreso than Solsbury Hill, even): Pink Floyd's "Money."

  5. I love Bleu's "I Won't Go Hollywood," which alternates between 7/4 in the verses and 4/4 in the choruses. Good stuff, great power-pop songwriter.

  6. Marsha12:48 AM

    My husband would be mad if I did not mention Rush's "Tom Sawyer," which has some interesting rhythmic stuff going on.