Melodie Group – Updownaround

Melodie Group

Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Choruses
Encyclopedia Brown and Sally Kimball, his junior detective partner and confidante, were sautering new pickups into Sally’s Kay archtop, when a man came into the garage. He was tall, and had messy hair.
“Are you Encyclopedia Brown?” he asked. He had a CD case in his hand and looked worried. “I need someone to solve a case for me by the end of the night. I have a record review due, and I think someone may have stolen the hooks from this pop album.”
“It will cost a quarter,” Encyclopedia Brown said, nodding towards the can on his desk, “but I will see what I can do.” The reviewer put a quarter in the can, and handeed Encyclopedia Brown the CD case.
“The band is called Melodie Group,” he said, “and seems to be a side project of Roy Thirlwall, who is the lead singer of The Windmills.” He put the CD in Encyclopedia Brown’s stereo and pressed play. “Roy is really good at selecting instrumentation appropriate to each song. In this first song here – ” The man nodded meaningfully as the song placed. “The mix is done well, and even though the instrumentation is sparse, the singer’s voice is strong enough to carry the song.” The song was simple, but sounded pleasant enough. Sally tapped in time to the music. Suddenly, barely 90 seconds into the song, it faded out sharply, without entering a chorus, or going through any dynamic changes. Encyclopedia sat upright. “Where did the song go? It was just about to get really good!”
The reviewer frowned. “This is why I hired you. All of these songs are missing a hook or strong chorus. The verses all sound good, but none of these songs feel complete. Either they substitute a different lead guitar part in lieu of a chorus, or they simply cut out, like that first song. Listen to this next song; you will see what I mean.”
The man advanced the CD to track two, “Hold,” and an awesome song started to play. “This sounds like I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One-era Yo La Tengo covering the theme to “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” Sally shouted, excited. “This is great! The singer’s laid-back delivery fits it perfectly!” Encyclopedia nodded his agreement. “How can this go bad?” he asked the reviewer, skeptically. The reviewer looked sadly at Encyclopedia and motioned for him to wait and listen. Sure enough – two minutes in, everything but the cowbell dropped out, but the song came back in to the verse figure, and all that was added to spice it up were background vocals. At another two minutes, the cowbell dropped out again, and the song ended. Sally jumped to her feet. “That can’t have been the whole song! There must have been, at the very least, a key change stuck in there! Where did it go?”
“That’s just it,” the reviewer said. “I got the album just like this, but I can’t believe that this is all there is. Look – ” He scanned through the rest of the tracks. “‘When Love Comes Along’ fakes a chorus by having the vocal melody dance around in key, but the guitar part doesn’t change. ‘Xiao’ starts off with a ridiculously bassline-synth swell combination, but the delineation between first and second verse is a crappy distorted guitar line, and 30 seconds after that someone splices in calliope music for no reason – and then the verse just starts up again!” He frowned, frustrated. “Encyclopedia – what is going on?”
Just then, Bugs Meany rode up on his ten-speed, a boombox on his shoulder. An energetic, twee-pop song was playing on it, and Bugs was snapping his fingers. “Hey, who cares,” he sneered. “I heard you jerks talking from a mile away – I say, who needs choruses? ‘I Do Not Not Love You’ goes through a bunch of permutations in the middle, and sure, they aren’t choruses – but you get handclaps! This song is great! And what about ‘Inner Space 1971?’ The song hinges around its gradual, constant buildup and warbly alien-raygun guitars! A chorus would just muck things up! I say, who needs choruses?” With that, he spat his gum out onto Sally’s wire strippers, and rode off.
The reviewer whirled to face Encyclopedia and yelled, “I bet it was that no-good Bugs Meany who took the choruses from Updownaround. Why, I’m surprised he didn’t stick an asinine 30-minute loop onto the end of ‘Summerness’ just to make the critics’ foreskin crawl.” Encyclopedia put a hand on the reviewer’s shoulder and shook his head.
“Listen to yourself,” Encyclopedia said, sadly. “Bugs Meany doesn’t have access to Melodie Group’s masters; he doesn’t even know how to use ProTools. Heck, I even had to show him how to shut off his IPod. I’m afraid that Melodie Group simply have a little maturation to do before they pen the album we all know they’re capable of. Instead of rushing off to pound Bugs in the face – which I’ll be doing myself as soon as I prove that it was him who left my In on the Killtaker 12″ on the radiator overnight – maybe you should just write a review that gently points out that taut arrangements do not, alone, make pop classics.”
The reviewer nodded slowly, and said, “I think that I will do just that.”