My Friends by Oh Wonder

Track: My Friends
Artist: Oh Wonder
Genre: acoustic, alternative, singer-songwriter
Music Rating: 10/10
Lyrics Rating: 9/10
Overall: 9/10
Sounds Like: pure beauty, friendship, and pianos
(Idk, you guys. I can’t make comparisons on this. The originality is too potent for me to draw parallels.)
Interesting Fact: Anthony and Josephine also wrote on Lewis Watson’s latest album, which happens to be one of my favorite things to ever happen.
Best thing about this track: The bravery, simplicity, presence, and pure heart infused into every ounce of acoustic imagery.
(Negative space, people. Take note of its correct usage.)
One thing I wish was different: More strings sooner? Idk. This is a delicate mix, and while my inclination is to pile on more brilliance, the greatest thing about the tracking is the beautiful restraint shown. Everything about this feels quite intentioned and pretty genius, tbh.
Website: Oh Wonder

Buckle up, my friends, because it’s about to get jazzy up in here. I’m going to try to keep the theory at a minimum, bet let’s be honest: the beauty of this piece is really in the simple intricacies of chordal theory. Let’s start out with the bare bones of this song structurally, and then we’ll zoom out to the overall picture, shall we?

The treble identity of this song is simply a back-and-forth bantering of the first and second of the key, rearranging in chordal sets of 3. The bass in the verse follows a chromatic scale downwards with a large leap towards the end. The bass in the chorus follows along with the 1-2 treble conversation slightly more closely (with appropriate harmonic modifications for diversity and interest).

Such a simple motif (at first glance) becomes increasingly intriguing as the utilization of the fifth as a pedal tone combines with the two separate directionalities to build a really interesting and somewhat complex overall progression featuring wacky inversions, a minor fifth chord, a half-diminished sixth, lines ending on the minor second, and lots of interesting and unusual musical shenanigans that play brilliantly with resonance and dissonance.

(For those of you who were curious as to the specifics of the structural breakdown, I clocked it as such:)
Verse:  I V v vi7 vi7b5 ii
Chorus: I7 V I     ii7 I IV     ii7 I IV     I ii I
(Bassline: verse = 1 7 b7 6 b3 2     chorus = 571  214  214  343)

So, now that I’ve bored you to tears with the absolute jaw-dropping, stunning artistry of musical theory dry numbers, let’s get down to the bottom line. Where is the brilliance and whimsy in these intervals? Why do these specific tones build and convey such epic emotion? If you’re a music nerd, it doesn’t need to be explained. It’s innately in your bones. You understand the language of sound and how and why intervals and degrees are chosen. You’ll see the creativity and artistry being crafted. For those of you who aren’t theory geeks, I shall try to interpret.

Imagine the purest spark of creative energy — a pure, unburdened expression of humanity, not yet crowded out by the noise or flow of traffic of the universe. Now imagine that idea, that spark of energy, could be nurtured, cultivated, and fed until it gained wings and burned into a beautiful flame of original thought, beauty, and art. Something simply unique, and bold enough to be unbothered by its own simplicity. It is unashamed, and desires no more than to be seen. It aspires to be no more than what it is, because it knows it’s strength and beauty. It knows also its peculiarity. It stands in line with creative principles and ideals, yet defies traditional movement and flows upstream, against the current. It flies against the cosmic traffic and feels the rush of the opposing energy, but rather than being slowed down by the friction, this incorporeal wind gives it flight.

That is what you are listening to. That is true beauty.

Words are entirely inadequate to express why this song is amazing. Open your ears and pay attention to the brilliant, masterful creativity coming to life before you. It’s amazing. If you don’t think this is amazing, you’re wrong.

Basically, what I’m telling you is that you should probably keep your eyes on Ant & Josephine, because they are absolutely brilliant writers and musicians. I truly believe there is nothing they cannot do, and I truly cannot wait for this album to come out in its entirety. It’s gonna be epic.

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