Happy Sad Songs and Sad Happy Songs, by The Gregory Brothers
April 24, 2014 8:15 PM   Subscribe

Happy Sad Songs and Sad Happy Songs, by the Gregory Brothers [SLYT]

Song list from the video:

0:07 - Happy
0:30 - Dark Horse
1:02 - All of Me
1:24 - Dream On
1:40 - Empire State of Mind
2:03 - Radioactive
2:25 - Stay
2:51 - Let It Go
3:21 - My Funny Valentine
3:36 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow
3:48 - Eleanor Rigby
4:02 - More Happy´╗┐

Bonus Song: Wrecking Ball Country Version

Major-Minor/Happy-Sad conversions previously featured on the Blue.
posted by Doleful Creature (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Dark Horse sounds like every twee ukelele cover song ever, and Let It Go sounds like Cascada. I'd love to hear full-length versions of a lot of these (I'm guessing the EP they advertise at the end has them?).
posted by divabat at 8:59 PM on April 24, 2014

Also on MeFiMusic: http://music.metafilter.com/home/challenges/64

I love that country Wrecking Ball! It works really, really well as a country song. I guess the fact that it uses a construction metaphor helps?
posted by capricorn at 9:25 PM on April 24, 2014

This also reminds me that it's been almost five years since Auto-Tune the News #6, which is one of my favourite songs of all time.
posted by ovvl at 9:30 PM on April 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Which one is Somewhere Over the Rainbow supposed to be?
posted by Small Dollar at 9:46 PM on April 24, 2014

I don't keep up with current pop music, so there were a lot I didn't know the original of, but I've always loved this concept, and I liked this a lot. It was very well executed and fun. Somewhere Over The Rainbow didn't sound too different, though. I don't know music theory, but to my mind it has a very nontraditional chord progression, which probably mixes major and minor elements.
posted by matildaben at 6:30 AM on April 25, 2014

I saw them perform Wrecking Ball live at the Bell House. It was a revelation. I'm still in awe of the Bros - they're the performing equivilent of a five-tool player: musicianship, humor, cultural knowledge, great ensemble chemistry and killer voices.
posted by ericbop at 10:04 AM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also on MeFiMusic

Yeah, I did that challenge too. It was super fun!

I don't know music theory, but to my mind it has a very nontraditional chord progression, which probably mixes major and minor elements.

I know music theory, and I'd say you've got a pretty good handle on the issue. To elaborate further, the minor/major "feel" of the song (often referred to as tonality) is
crafted from a number of factors:

1. The "key" of the piece (e.g. Songs in the Key of A minor, Symphony No. 39 in G minor)
2. The chords used
3. The melody

Most of the time these things are all related, but they can be altered in a number of ways that make the piece's tonality a little more difficult to locate. For example, Blues songs are technically in a major key, and technically only use all-major chords (I-IV-V), but the melody --and sometimes the chords-- will include a lot of flatted thirds which may give the song a more minor feel.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow is definitely in a major key, and most of the chords are major..BUT a lot of those major chords are slightly jazzier versions, like Fmaj7, which is the major IV chord of the song (when sung in the key of C)...with an added "major 7th" interval on top of the original major triad. This creates tonal ambiguity; a major 7th interval is also an inverted minor 2nd.

Another interesting thing about major 7 chords: They are two chords combined in one: the major tonic (I) and the minor third (iii) or, in the case of the Fmaj7 in Somewhere Over the Rainbow, it's the major subdominant (IV) combined with the minor submediant (iv)!

Put more simply, it's not just that the song has both major and minor chords, it's also the fact that some of the major chords have SEKRIT MINOR CHORDS HIDDEN INSIDE THEM


Theory all aside, other things affect the happy/sad feel too: pacing, rhythm, timbre, and of course lyrics.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:24 AM on April 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods does something like this: the opening (eponymous?) song is in a major key. It's bouncy and light and generally fun. The characters singing it are all excited about life, and going on an adventure into the woods.

At the opening of the second act, the characters sing the same song, but one single note from the tune is changed, and it puts the whole thing into a minor key, and makes the song forbidding. Now these same characters are being forced to do something scary by having to go into the woods.
posted by nushustu at 12:08 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

My favorite of theirs is AutoTune the News #8. Those geese are cooked.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:06 PM on April 25, 2014

Those geese is cooked. On very thin ice.

(Love mixed metaphors.)
posted by ovvl at 4:36 PM on April 25, 2014

Showed this to my high school class today, actually. They released these videos on Instagram and Vine over the last few weeks and I kept thinking, "WHY DIDN'T THEY MAKE A WHOLE VIDEO OF THIS AMAZINGNESS?!"

Glad they did. Some of the best musicians out there today. And Autotune the News/Songify the News is one of the best things on YouTube.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:56 PM on April 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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