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Old 05-19-2020, 03:01 AM
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"Every Breath You Take" in minor key


"Every Breath You Take" by the Police is one of those deceptive songs that has a meaning that's different than what a superficial listening would lead you to believe. It sounds like a typical love song but when you pay attention to the lyrics you realize it's about a stalker.

And this video makes that subtext overt.

Somebody took the original song and manipulated it with a computer so it's in a minor key. And now it sounds like a song being sung by an obsessive stalker.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:28 AM
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Phew! That's creepy!
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:49 AM
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There are a lot of those out there-- I think I remember seeing a thread on this topic here once before.

For the other side of the coin, here's REM's "Losing My Religion" in a major key. It's transformed from being a song of almost overwhelming existential angst and despair into a song about a guy who's maybe a little confused about things, but you know in the end everything's going to be aaaalright. The intro sounds a lot like "Shiny Happy People".
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
"Every Breath You Take" by the Police is one of those deceptive songs that has a meaning that's different than what a superficial listening would lead you to believe. It sounds like a typical love song but when you pay attention to the lyrics you realize it's about a stalker.

And this video makes that subtext overt.

Somebody took the original song and manipulated it with a computer so it's in a minor key. And now it sounds like a song being sung by an obsessive stalker.
I realized that ďEvery Breath You Takeď was about a stalker from the first time I heard it. And I heard it a lot when it was first released, it got some heavy airplay back in the days of radio.

But I only recently realized that ďEvery Little Thing She Does Is MagicĒ is sort of creepy stalkerish as well. I canít discern if heís in a relationship of sorts with the woman heís obsessed with in that song.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:10 AM
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Doesn't really work IMO; it messes up the chord progressions to a jarring degree. For example there's a I-II chord progression that depends on an unexpected major chord to build and resolve tension.

Yes it does sound a little creepy. Anything in a minor key sounds creepier to the western ear.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:44 AM
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Interesting. I've always thought EBYT was rather downbeat and frankly, kind of dull. I won't pretend I ever knew it was being sung from a stalker's point of view(until I read about it) but it's always sounded. . . off. I like the minor key version better but it doesn't sound that much "darker" to me; just better.

I have similar feelings about LMR. Can't really make that song sound joyful, imo.

On a side note, there's another thread here positing that Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett is the worst dancer in the business. I'd say Michael Stipe takes that (dis)honor.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:12 AM
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Wow!

The top comment under the video by somebody named Mattchester:
"The major key version is what the stalker hears in his head. The minor key is how it sounds to everyone else."

That nailed it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by minor7flat5 View Post
Wow!

The top comment under the video by somebody named Mattchester:
"The major key version is what the stalker hears in his head. The minor key is how it sounds to everyone else."

That nailed it.
That's goooooood. This discussion is certainly going to add some enjoyment for me the next time I hear that song. Generally I just turn it off.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:26 AM
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Is this a common thing for artists to record songs in different keys?
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:47 AM
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But I only recently realized that ďEvery Little Thing She Does Is MagicĒ is sort of creepy stalkerish as well. I canít discern if heís in a relationship of sorts with the woman heís obsessed with in that song.
He's definitely not in a relationship with her.

"I resolved to call her up a thousand times a day
And ask her if she'll marry me in some old fashioned way
But my silent fears have gripped me long before I reach the phone
Long before my tongue has tripped me
Must I always be alone?"


I didn't take it as stalkerish, more unrequited love.

BTW, are there ANY Police songs that aren't creepy/depressing?
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
. . .when you pay attention to the lyrics you realize it's about a stalker
I always thought from the start that it was about an obsessively possessive boyfriend, rather than a stalker.

That's why the original already has some strategically placed minor chords--it doesn't need to be so blatant as this remake.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:52 AM
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Walking on the Moon?
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:31 AM
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Major key Smells Like Teen Spirit is 100% a Weezer song.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:58 AM
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He's definitely not in a relationship with her.

"I resolved to call her up a thousand times a day
And ask her if she'll marry me in some old fashioned way
But my silent fears have gripped me long before I reach the phone
Long before my tongue has tripped me
Must I always be alone?"


I didn't take it as stalkerish, more unrequited love.

BTW, are there ANY Police songs that aren't creepy/depressing?
Well there's. . . um . . .Da Do Do. That's peppy (and kind of dumb). That's all I can think of at the moment.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:26 PM
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Is this a common thing for artists to record songs in different keys?
This would seem to be the original recording, processed by a third party using software like Melodyne.

It's pretty amazing what stuff like that can do!
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:25 PM
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BTW, are there ANY Police songs that aren't creepy/depressing?
Yeah, making a Police song sound disturbing isn't exactly hitting one out of the park.
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Old 05-19-2020, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
"Every Breath You Take" by the Police is one of those deceptive songs that has a meaning that's different than what a superficial listening would lead you to believe. It sounds like a typical love song
Not to me it doesn't; I've always heard it as dark and brooding and a little menacing.

Maybe it helps that I've never known the song without also knowing the dark, artsy, noir-ish video for it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:31 PM
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Not to me it doesn't; I've always heard it as dark and brooding and a little menacing.

Maybe it helps that I've never known the song without also knowing the dark, artsy, noir-ish video for it.
I think anyone over a certain age saw that video in tandem with the time it was a big radio hit. I always viewed it as classic "moody, arty, HAMMY Sting" And what young girl doesn't want to look at Sting,boring tune, and repetitive lyrics aside. I guess I always heard it as less menacing and more broody and longing. Because who broods and longs more than the Police?
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:53 PM
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Yeah, I never understood the people who used it as their 'song' in weddings. Really? This version doesn't work for me, though. Maybe if an actual musician re-did it in a minor key, it would work better. Or this one slowed down a bit. . . I dunno, it sounds off to me.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Telperion View Post
Major key Smells Like Teen Spirit is 100% a Weezer song.
The intro, at least, sounds like a comedy show theme, like King of the Hill or Malcolm in the Middle.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:25 PM
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Yeah, I never understood the people who used it as their 'song' in weddings. Really?
You don't understand how being married is like having a personal stalker?...

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
I'll be right there
Watching you
Every
Single
Relentless
Fucking
Day
For the rest of your life...


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Old 05-19-2020, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Asylum View Post
He's definitely not in a relationship with her.

"I resolved to call her up a thousand times a day
And ask her if she'll marry me in some old fashioned way
But my silent fears have gripped me long before I reach the phone
Long before my tongue has tripped me
Must I always be alone?"


I didn't take it as stalkerish, more unrequited love.

BTW, are there ANY Police songs that aren't creepy/depressing?
But heís trying to work up the nerve to ask her to marry him, not go out with him.

And then thereís this lyric
Do I have to tell the story
Of a thousand rainy days since we first met
Itís a big enough umbrella
But itís always me that ends up getting wet


So my thinking was maybe the guy isnít pining over the girl that doesnít know he exists, itís more like the POV of some guy thatís been friend-zoned. Thatís what I meant by ďsome sort of relationshipĒ.

But, then again, itís a song and these lyrics work well for many reasons. Maybe Iím overthinking it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:21 PM
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The whole point of the song is the "love song" in the singer's head dynamic vs the creepiness of the lyrics. It's music up, lyrics down -- it's a reasonably common music convention. Putting it in a minor key just ruins the whole thing. I mean, I have fun listening to these YouTube videos of minor key songs in major keys and major key songs in minor keys, but this one doesn't work for me. I do kind of like the major key version of "Losing My Religion." That one makes me giggle.

Last edited by pulykamell; 05-19-2020 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:25 AM
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... I do kind of like the major key version of "Losing My Religion." That one makes me giggle.
In an amusing bit of synchronicity, I googled "Losing my Religion" after I posted the major key version, out of curiosity to see exactly what the song was about, and I found this Wikipedia link that said Michael Stipe compared it to the OP's topic song "Every Breath You Take":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Losing...ion_and_lyrics
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:00 AM
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Is this a common thing for artists to record songs in different keys?
This guy, Chase Holfelder has put out a couple of albums of songs changed from major to minor. They make good listening when you are in the right mood. On his YouTube channel he has other oddities - songs with only a toy piano as accompaniment, songs sung higher than the original, Dance Monkey with an arrangement for 18 toys.

Here is All I want For Christmas is You turned all stalkerish. He makes no secret of the fact that he lays it on really thick and is going for big moments in his covers.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:15 AM
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Doesn't really work IMO; it messes up the chord progressions to a jarring degree. For example there's a I-II chord progression that depends on an unexpected major chord to build and resolve tension.
I thought it was less "super-creepy stalker" and more "batteries in my boom box are dying after 20 minutes".
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:22 AM
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Stupid question from someone who knows nothing very little about such things;when someone sings the harmony part of a song, are they singing in a minor key? If the song is originally in minor, would the harmony part be in major?
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:02 AM
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Stupid question from someone who knows nothing very little about such things;when someone sings the harmony part of a song, are they singing in a minor key? If the song is originally in minor, would the harmony part be in major?
I'm no musical theory expert, but I'll try to field this, until someone comes along who does a better job explaining: Major and minor keys are about the progression of notes, not the notes themselves. Two or more people singing harmony are singing different musical notes, creating a vocal version of a chord, like playing a chord on piano or guitar. I suppose there could be a song instance in which one person is singing in a major key and another is singing a harmony in a minor key progression (or vice versa) but I don't think so, it would most likely sound dissonant and bad.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
Stupid question from someone who knows nothing very little about such things;when someone sings the harmony part of a song, are they singing in a minor key? If the song is originally in minor, would the harmony part be in major?
Oh, this can get really complicated with the explanation, but to keep it simple, no. The harmonies follow the chords, whether they're major or minor. The key doesn't change for the harmonized part. But do note that if you're in a major or minor key it does not mean all the chords have to be major or minor. Usually, there's a mix. In major key songs, there are some chord progressions where you don't mix in minor chords, but in minor keys, there's usually a good sprinkling of major chords in there, sometimes more than minor chords. For example, a song like "Hit the Road Jack" is in a minor key, but the progression only has one minor chord and three major chords (in the key of Am, it would be Am - G - F - E7).

I can go on about this, but let's just leave it at that, and if you have follow-up questions or want a finer level of detail, I'll see what I can write up.
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