Read all 5 events for 16 December at diary.QueenSongs.info
Composer: Freddie Mercury & John Deacon
Meter: 4/4, shuffle beat
Key: C-Major, d-minor, F-Major, (D-Major, b-minor)
Intro (AA) | Chorus I - I' | | Verse 1 | Chorus I - instr. | Solo 1 (AA) -| Bridge | | Verse 2 | Chorus I - I" | AAAAAA Outro Solo 2 (AAAAAAA...)
This song can be nicely pigeonhole into the motown genre. Diana Ross's voice would fit it perfectly, just like Freddies actual falsetto singing (see also "Cool Cat" another Deacon-Mercury contribution in 1982).
In terms of formal cleverness "Pain..." goes beyond the usual motown songs. We have two verses with completly different lead vocal tune. This is something we saw first from Roger in the seventies ("...Funster", "Drowse") but in the eighties Freddie and John also used this trick ("Breakfree", "One Year Of Love"). With this alternate verse we have four different vocal sections, which results in long built in lead vocal melodies compared to more repetitive songs.
The harmony spends most of the time in C-Major one borrowed chord (bVII) and without the iii chord. The end of the Verses take an excursion to the neighbor F/d tonality.
The arrangement is dominated by synths and bass. The bassline is predominantly walking (see also "Crazy Little Thing").
The intro suggest different key where the first verse starts. Retrospectively it can be threateted as ii chord, a relatively rare way to start a song. The bassline is played on synth (see also "Body Language", "Breakthrou")
/---- 2x ----\\ | Dm | C/D | | ii | I |
The Outro with a long guitar solo and whispered title words prolongest this hook throughout (shifted up a whole note) resulting in a b-minor feel supported by the guitar solo played in minor mode pentatonic mode.
We have three choruses with AA' subsections setting certain level of repetition that is well-needed in pop-songs. The 8 measure subsections show a 4+4 phrasing.
C: |C(6>5)| - | G | Am | | I | - | V | vi | | Dm | Am | G | -7 | | ii | vi | V | - |
The arrangement is added reagge-esque guitar chords on the even numbered beats more clear to hear toward the end of the song.
The second half of the second chorus is instrumental except some backing vocal harmonies.
The second half of the third chorus and the rest of the song shifted up a whole note. Note the short blues "piano" lick at its end.
We have two melody and lyrics-wise different 13 measure verses with two measure phrases except the ending with a pivot modulation back to C-Major. The first 4 measures make use of the "Doing All Right riff" progression with chromatic descending inner line. The next two phrases change the last chord, but the chromatic inner line remains. This change provokes a modulation to d-minor which shortly afterwards fades to F-Major without strong V > I cadence.
C: | C | G/B | | I | V | | Bb | F | |bVII | I | | C | G/B | | I | V | | Bb | A | |bVII | V/ii| d: VI | V | | Dm | Gm | | i | iv | | F | Bb | d: III | VI | F: I | IV | | F | G | -7 | F: I | V/V... C: IV | V | - |
The arrangement of the second half adds chopped synth chords in m.8 instead of 9. This makes the transition less contrasting.
The backing track is mainly the same except the backing vocals and other changes (eg. Dm/G in m.8, F/A in m.9 and m.11 ). The lead vocal in the second half of the section makes frequent use of triplets (hemiolas?).
The Bridge grows out from the first minimalistic solo backed by the intro hook. The bridge itself consists of two phrases (4+4 AA'). The vocal phrases are attached a guitar hook. The key seems to be F Major making the preceding Dm hook acting like vi in this context. The harmony is driven by step-wise bass movement.
F: | Bb | F/A /G | F | G1 Bb1 C1| | IV | I | I | 2... | | Bb | F/A /G | F | G Bb1 B1| | IV | I | I | V/V | C: IV | V |
The first vocal subphrases are harmonized.