Song Analysis

Love The One You’re With – Stephen Stills

The song is in 4/4 with a simple beat but the song has a full texture.

The instruments include:

Acoustic guitar: The acoustic guitar introduces the song but has a weird fade in to it. It fades in more on the left first and then fully comes in on both sides to start with. The acoustic guitar is very trebly and sounds as if it has chorus effect on it. The guitar runs over two chords for most of the track.

Roland Keyboard: The Roland comes near the end of the second chorus but it is very quiet and playing once every bar. But then it bursts up and does a solo. The producer made it louder for this part. The Roland doesn’t play in the verses after than only in the chorus’.

Congos/Percussion: The percussion starts at the start of the song. Wooden blocks or clicks play at the start with a heavy reverb. Congas play continually with their own rhythm. There are also more wooden blocks with different pitches on the last chorus, again with reverb applied. A xylophone is used at the end chorus hitting two notes at a time running over four chords until the end. These all give this song an African style to the folk song.

Vibraphone: They start on the first chorus playing individual notes giving the song a very atmospheric vibe to it. The notes drone and it could have been recorded in a large room or it might have just had reverb added to it. These only play in the chorus’.

Vocals: Backing vocals

Sweet Talking Woman – ELO

The rhythm of the song is a simple 4/4 beat all the way through the song.

The instruments of the song include:

Violin, Cello and strings: The strings start the song with a very clean recording track. Then the whole string orchestra (which has reverb on) after the electric guitar plays a little riff before starting the verse. The strings do not play in the first verse. They start playing again a little before the chorus. They seem to play  little runs up and down the pentatonic scale during the chorus. Also other strings play long chords following the same as the guitar chords during the chorus. The strings are using a chorus effect in a certain section. Its only used for this section where the whole band stop playing except for the chorus effect string until the whole band come back in to play the chorus again.

Electric guitar: The electric Guitar starts with a little riff that fades in before the song properly starts. After that during the verse the guitar plays chords played as stabs. Also in the bridge and chorus the guitar plays stabby funky styled chords with a few little riffs played too. During the chorus the electric guitar is mainly panned to the left. Theres also a second part where the whole band cuts out, but this time its only the vocals, guitar and bass drum. The guitar tone is trebly and has a little bit of compression to make the notes sound more stabby.

Acoustic guitar: The guitar starts in the build up to the verse strumming one chord. The acoustic guitar is playing the chords through all the song. On the chorus the guitar plays the chords with a beats structure playing on every beat except cuts out in-between the second and third beat. The track also pans the acoustic guitar to the right. I think it also has reverb on it, this is because it sounds full with a drone effect on the singular strummed chords. Its also very treble heavy.

Bass guitar: The bass guitar starts at the same time as the acoustic guitar. The bass guitar rhythm is matched with the kick drum. The bass is mainly following the root notes with a few notes in-between. The bass tone is very bassy I don’t think much effects were on the bass. It is panned in the centre.

Vocals: The main vocals sound very smooth and sounds double tracked. They are slightly compressed and a little reverb has been added.. They are panned centrally too as they are the main vocals.

Harmonies/backing vocals: The backing vocals are common for bands in this era, such as ‘The Beach Boys’ as they used a barber shop quartet style singing with a band. So you can hear bass vocals singings over some of the bass lines. Some of them are singing higher than the main vocals and harmonising with them. I think most of the harmonies could be fifths or thirds of what the main vocals are singing. The back-in vocals represent the use of other instruments such as brass, bass, high strings. This gives more of a full texture to the song.

Drums: The drums come in at the same time as the bass and acoustic. It keeps a constant beat throughout the song. The drum kit is very compressed as you can hear when the drums are hit, they sound dampened. But the cymbals don’t sound too compressed. But I think the drums cut off some of the noise and it suddenly stops the ring of the drum, especially on the snare. This is because they used a noise gate on the drum track.

Vocoder: The vocoder is like a voice box and it isn’t used that much in the song but it does get used in the intro. It comes in when the full orchestra comes in at the start but then cuts out for the rest of the song. You can only hear it again at the end of the chorus. The vocoder has a chorus effect on.

Piano/Keys: The piano starts at the same time as the acoustic again. The piano mainly plays the same chords as the acoustic but plays stabs on the verse but I think it follows the electric guitars rhythm on the chorus. it has reverb on as an effect, but sometimes the piano is very quiet and is panned more to the left.

The song uses more techniques. When the instruments cut off for the little breakdown parts the whole track is cut except for the few instruments playing. This is because you can hear the instruments just cut off instantly at the same time. Also at the end, the whole song fades out.


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