Remember hearing a key change in a song for the first time and how it made you feel? For me, it feels like the song is ready to take on new meaning and ready to fly away! At least that’s how Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Michael Jackson songs make me feel.
It seems that the key change is sort of a dying art these days, as you don’t hear them as much as you used to. Some of my all-time favorite songs have key changes in them, like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Man In the Mirror,” “I Will Always Love You,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “Penny Lane,” “My Girl,” “Build Me Up Buttercup,” and (OF COURSE) “My Heart Will Go On.”
So what happened? Where did the key change craze go?
Here are my picks of artists that have embraced the key change in the last 10 years…
“Go Ahead” – Rilo Kiley
Not all key changes have to be grandiose and life changing like “Man In The Mirror” (you KNOW you get chills when it happens). Rilo Kiley has managed a very simple and understated key change that happens at 1:51.
“The Blower’s Daughter” – Damien Rice
This song is ridiculously good and makes me all sentimental every time I hear it. The video is a tad bit cheesy with scenes from the movie “Closer,” that I guess this song was in, and images of Damien Rice singing his heart out and looking longingly at a woman singing back to him while her hair blows in the wind. Stalker song or a guy in love? Key change at 3:24.
“The Youth” – MGMT
Mellow song, goofy 80’s style video with some kids that can seriously dance. Good stuff and an understated key change at 2:35.
“Love Story” – Taylor Swift
Boy meets girl, girl sings about it with Shakespeare references with a dramatic key change at 3:18. It gets me every time. I love this song I don’t care what you think. 😛
“Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” – She & Him
Cartoon, Ha-Ha death is funny, violence with Zooey Deschanel. M. Ward seemed slightly confused about this video as well. Key change happens at 1:25.
“Love On Top – Beyoncé
Key changes all up in this song!!! Four of them to be exact, with great wardrobe changes at most of them. First one is at 1:44 with some snazzy gold suits. Second one is at 2:04 with B getting a white suit and the boys in grey with bow ties. Third one is at 2:25 with top hats and tails. And the fourth and final one is at 2:45 with no wardrobe change except B rips her pants off and has little shorts on for the rest of the video. Oh Beyoncé. She knows if you’re going to do it, do it right.
– Submitted by Mandi LeBlanc, Music Design