Understanding Blister In The Sun

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) Blister In The Sun is one of those songs that doesn’t really make sense, not because it’s too complicated, but because it almost doesn’t feel complicated enough. On the surface it’s extremely simple, and that simplicity made it a hard sell to the record label that was supposed…

Understanding The Man Who Sold The World

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) The Man Who Sold The World is a haunting song with a haunting legacy. Its story is ambiguous and vague, leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Who is this man, who did he sell the world to, and most importantly, what even is a gazely stare? It’s hard…

Understanding Carry On Wayward Son

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) Carry On Wayward Son is one of those songs that’s both totally unique and perfectly emblematic of a larger musical movement. There’s nothing quite like it, but it still captures the sound of rock music in the mid ’70s, and that blend of the unconventional and the iconic…

Understanding The Black Parade

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) There are few albums quite like The Black Parade. It’s a reflection on mortality and death, a rock opera exploring the uniquely tragic experience of dying young and alone. It’s all wrapped in the dark, sarcastic trappings of mid-2000s emo, but at the same time it feels timeless,…

Understanding Tiny Dancer

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) Tiny Dancer is one of Elton John’s most iconic songs, but it wasn’t always. When it first came out, it barely made an appearance on the charts, and when he played it in concert, he described it "going down like a lead zeppelin". Like most of the songs…

You Don’t Need Music Theory

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) Or, I mean, you do, but it’s complicated. Get 20% off Hooktheory’s interactive books and a lifetime subscription to Hookpad: https://www.hooktheory.com/12tone It’s a simple question: How much music theory do you actually need to know? And fortunately, this time it even has a simple answer: Pretty much none.…

Understanding Seven Nation Army

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) Seven Nation Army is arguably the most iconic bassline ever recorded. It’s been adapted by countless musicians, and it’s even become a stadium chant. But how did that happen? How did this humble walk down the minor scale become such a global sensation, and what can it teach…

Understanding All Along The Watchtower

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) What makes a great cover song? It’s a hard question to answer, so let’s take a look at the greatest cover song ever made and work back from there. All Along The Watchtower was already a good song when Bob Dylan recorded it, but it wouldn’t become truly…

Rethinking Tonality

From “12tone”. ( YouTube / Nebula ) Or why I don’t like the idea of "tonal ambiguity". Get 26% off CuriosityStream and a free Nebula account: http://www.curiositystream.com/12tone and use promo code "12tone" For a long time, I’ve felt that the way we talk about keys is maybe a bit… outdated? Like, clearly keys matter, but…