Daily Song Study

Everclear – Santa Monica

In songs on January 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

As discussed earlier, sometimes a song’s eventual arrangement can be driven by the forces prevalent at its release. For instance, this is a country song:

I know, because I’ve heard Joe Tucker play it live, and it was indistinguishable from the other country tunes in his set.

However, the song was released in 1995. Which is immediately obvious from the arrangement here, Smells Like Teen Spirit guitar plot & all. But because it’s a country song, there are elements present here that make it stick out. The high harmony is straight-up hillbilly, as is the melody.

Mind you, I’m not criticizing any of this. It’s a great track, one that can be played well in many styles. But studying the elements behind its construction is a good exercise.

Those who know a bit about Everclear are obviously aware that Art Alexakis has, in the intervening years, written and released pretty much this same song at least 5 times with different lyrics. But if we write off early tunes based on later indiscretions, we’d have to chuck the Beatles catalog into the fire as well.

What we have here is a solid hook, delivered with authority, which instead of simply pandering to its era’s zeitgeist, added something distinctive. Well played.

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