Build-up in Silverchair’s Straightlines

Recently Aussie band Silverchair released a fantastic song called “Straightlines” which won awards downunder and proved that they can come up with great pop songs. This song has a great rhythm, melody and harmony, but one feature I love about it is the build-up.

It starts out with the throbing rhythmic keyboards with soft piano riffs leading into the first verse (but don’t ask me what “breathing from a hole in my lung” means), and then continues the build-up into the chorus with guitars and a steady kick drum, which hits a climax just at the end with loud guitars, leading into the next verse.

So if you have a song which seems “flat”, ask yourself, where is the climax? Is it obvious to the listener? How can I build into the climax or create contrast? Structuring a song like this helps give the impression of telling a story, or leading the listener on a journey. It’s grabbing the listener rather than giving an impression of monotony.

Another thing I like about the song is the balanced, “call and answer” feel of the chorus, with the chords or harmony acting like a kind of counter melody with their descending lines, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, have a listen…



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