Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post Reply
mileswide
Different Class
Posts: 394
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 5:08 pm
Location: Nottingham, England

Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by mileswide » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:44 pm

Hi all, I know I've not been here for long, so I'm not sure if I'm getting ideas above my station or if I'm even going about this the right way but Honorio and I have been discussing this- what say we to a celebration of that most unheralded section of the 32-bar form, the middle 8?

A middle-eight can change the mood of a song, make it feel more substantial or give it a jolt of energy but would anyone out in AM-Land be down for a middle-8 poll?

And if so, should we restrict it to the vocal section where the melody changes before the last chorus or include instrumental breaks, breakdowns, drops etc. before the last chorus? Do rapper guest spots count? What should be the minimum number of entries?

Sorry if I've bombarded you all with too many questions but I'll leave you with a rough top 5 off the top of my head:
1. Pulp- Common People ("Rent a flat above a shop..")
2. The Byrds- All I Really Want to Do ("I don't want to fake you out..")
3. Die Toten Hosen- Kein Alkohol (ist auch keine Lösung) ("Ganz ohne Drogen geht es nicht...")
4. LaVern Baker- Wrapped, Tied & Tangled ("You whisper sweet words of love in my ear...")
5. Estelle feat. Kanye West- American Boy (Kanye's second rap "Who's killing 'em in UK..." if we're taking a loose approach to the definition)

Thoughts? :mrgreen:
Everybody talking to their pockets

Jirin
Die Mensch Maschine
Posts: 2494
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:12 am

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by Jirin » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:01 pm

For those of us who aren’t musicians would help to first have discussions about what a middle 8th is and it’s inpact on the song.

Nick
Die Mensch Maschine
Posts: 2253
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:28 pm
Location: New York State

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by Nick » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:49 am

mileswide wrote: 1. Pulp- Common People ("Rent a flat above a shop..")
I'm not a musician, nor am I versed in music theory, but I always thought this section was part of the chorus, not the middle eight (which is synonymous with the bridge, right?).

Wouldn't the middle eight of "Common People" be the part that begins with "Like a dog lying in a corner"?

Hymie
Die Mensch Maschine
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:37 pm

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by Hymie » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:59 am

In "A Hard Day's Night" Paul sings the bridge (or middle eight) twice because John could not hit the high notes that were required.

"When I'm home...."

Harold
Die Mensch Maschine
Posts: 1948
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:56 pm

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by Harold » Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:55 am

Nick wrote:
mileswide wrote: 1. Pulp- Common People ("Rent a flat above a shop..")
I'm not a musician, nor am I versed in music theory, but I always thought this section was part of the chorus, not the middle eight (which is synonymous with the bridge, right?).

Wouldn't the middle eight of "Common People" be the part that begins with "Like a dog lying in a corner"?
No - that's the beginning of the last verse. However, once it gets to "You will never understand/How it feels to live your life..." - I think that part qualifies as a middle eight. Which is actually different from the bridge ("Rent a flat..."). The distinctions can be a little confusing.

And, I'll ask again...

Where's that confounded bridge?

BobPatience
Different Class
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:24 am
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by BobPatience » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:46 pm

TL;DR: Writer don't always write songs conventionally. People on the internet call the same thing different names (or different things the same name). And music is awesome because works in the most interesting of ways.


I personally think it's kind of silly to single out bridges/middle eights. A song isn't defined by it's middle eight, many great songs don't even have one (e.g. "Like a Rolling Stone"). But it does sound like an interesting idea, as they can do a lot for a song in a very small time frame.

It also seems like the internet doesn't agree at all what is what. The confusion I've seen most often is that what in US English are called 'pre-chorus' and 'bridge', in UK English they're referred to as 'bridge' and 'middle eight' respectively. (Thus to some people, (who call the pre-chorus a bridge), "Like a Rolling Stone" would actually have a four bridges). Now, I don't know how correct this is, as I have personally never seen the pre-chorus being called a bridge or the 'middle eight' ever being referenced in regards to modern music. But at least it's clear to me that the terminology isn't fully set.

And of course there's the middle eight as the B-section in songs in AABA (or extended versions like AABABA ("Hey Jude") or even AABAABA ("A Hard Day's Night")).

Now, with both older and modern songwriting not always confing themselves to the current common form of Intro-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus-Outro (or variants thereof), you get to see silly scenes when people try to fit in unconventionally formed songs.

E.g. dividing Hey Jude in Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Verse, which still looks kind of ok, until you look at what people do to AABAABA song 'From Me To You'. Dividing it in {verse-chorus}-{verse-chorus}-bridge-{verse-chorus}-{break-chorus}-bridge-{verse-chorus}, which still makes kind of senses, or even Chorus-Verse-Bridge-Chorus-Post Chorus-Bridge-Chorus.

But in the end I think that, if you really want to call the A-part the 'verse', that calling the B-part either the 'chorus' or 'bridge' is wrong. Just call it middle eight.

A more modern example: 'Midnight City', what is the verse, chorus or bridge in this song? Can you call the instrumental section between 'verses' a chorus? Or are the 'verses' actually the choruses? Can you consider the repeating line in the end a bridge? Or is it just a modified verse/chorus?

Now looking at 'Common People,' it's just alternating between two different chord patterns.
1: Verse
2: Chorus
1: Verse
2: Chorus
1: ("Rent a flat...")
2: Chorus
1: Instrumental
2: Chorus
1: Verse
2: ("You will never...")
1: ("Rent a flat...")
2: Chorus

If you were to just listen to the single, the the "Rent a flat..." part would pretty obviously sound like a bridge. But what's the "You will never..." then? I'd say: Be creative! Call it 'post-verse', 'pre-bridge', 'interlude', 'choral verse', 'versal chorus' or, my personal choice: 'second bridge'. Why two bridges, with one bridge appearing twice? Isn't that very unconventional? Yes, it is! But a song with an unconventional length of 5:55 calls for unconventional means to keep it interesting.

Yet another example of an unconventional song would be 'Feel Good Inc.' which' form is Intro-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Break-Break-Chorus-Outro. With neither of those breaks really acting like a bridge. The first break is just a repeat of the intro, using the same chords as the preceeding verse (you could call it a 'refrain'), and the second break is just a sparse instrumental version of the upcoming chorus.

I think what I'm trying to get at is that any part of a song beyond verse or chorus can be called a multitude of different things depending on the song, the songwriter, the era, the form, your language, your feelings about the song, etc.

So I would propose that, for the purpose of this poll, we'd accept any 'short' section of a song that's not the intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus or outro. But including the B-part from AABA-form, bridge, second bridges, interludes, breaks, solos or w/e else you'd name the parts that break up the 'flow' of the song that was set by the A-part or the verse-chorus.

(If you read this, sorry if it made no sense or if I wrote something stupid, I guess that the topic brought out the rambler in me)
Festina Lente

Jirin
Die Mensch Maschine
Posts: 2494
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:12 am

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by Jirin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:35 pm

So we’re talking bridges in songs with no chorus, or choruses in songs with two verses before the chorus like Lightning Crashes?

BobPatience
Different Class
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:24 am
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by BobPatience » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:25 pm

Jirin wrote:So we’re talking bridges in songs with no chorus, or choruses in songs with two verses before the chorus like Lightning Crashes?
No, a chorus in a song that starts with two verses is still a chorus. The 'bridge' part of "Lightning Crashes" would be the instrumental break and the 'Oh, why' section between chorus 2 and 3.
Festina Lente

mileswide
Different Class
Posts: 394
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 5:08 pm
Location: Nottingham, England

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by mileswide » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:02 pm

What uncertainty have I unleashed?? :D I feel bad for attaching Honorio's name to this as well! I'm grateful for everyone who has replied to my original question though, I'm glad it's inspired debate, albeit an equal amount of confusion, sorry about that...
Nick wrote:Wouldn't the middle eight of "Common People" be the part that begins with "Like a dog lying in a corner"?
Also speaking from a non-musician's perspective but "Like a dog lying in the corner" is the same melody as the verses as far as I can tell- I don't even know any more!
Harold wrote:No - that's the beginning of the last verse. However, once it gets to "You will never understand/How it feels to live your life..." - I think that part qualifies as a middle eight. Which is actually different from the bridge ("Rent a flat..."). The distinctions can be a little confusing.
"Rent a flat above a shop" is more in a grey area (for a layman like me at least) but what say we target something easier to define, like choruses and verses?
BobPatience wrote:I personally think it's kind of silly to single out bridges/middle eights. A song isn't defined by it's middle eight, many great songs don't even have one (e.g. "Like a Rolling Stone")
You've got a stellar point as well, BobPatience, some of the finest songwriters never use middle-eights. Your example of Dylan's particularly suitable to the point that the Dylan-written song I included in my introductory top 5 (All I Really Want to Do) doesn't have a mid-8 in its original version.

Would anyone be amenable to either a choruses poll or a verses poll? I for one would be on safer ground if no one else as much as I love (what I think are) middle-8s!
Everybody talking to their pockets

Nick
Die Mensch Maschine
Posts: 2253
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:28 pm
Location: New York State

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by Nick » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:32 pm

mileswide wrote: Would anyone be amenable to either a choruses poll or a verses poll? I for one would be on safer ground if no one else as much as I love (what I think are) middle-8s!
I'm absolutely on board with a choruses poll!

User avatar
andyd1010
Rust Never Sleeps
Posts: 871
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:08 am

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by andyd1010 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:34 am

I made a topic about bridges a little while back.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7113&p=99744&hilit= ... %3F#p99744

I love them too, although this discussion has shown that there is a lot of grey area about defining them.

I'd be happy to do a choruses (or verses) poll as well!

mileswide
Different Class
Posts: 394
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 5:08 pm
Location: Nottingham, England

Re: Greatest Middle-Eights of all Time Poll?

Post by mileswide » Fri Jul 19, 2019 6:03 pm

Nick wrote: I'm absolutely on board with a choruses poll!
andyd wrote: I'd be happy to do a choruses (or verses) poll as well!
That's good enough for me, thanks everyone, I'll open up a new thread to discuss the details of a choruses poll :mrgreen:

Interesting what you said in your linked thread about the correlation between your favourite bridges/middle 8s and favourite songs, andyd- I think there would be close correlation between the two for me but others might have a greater percentage of their favourite choruses within their favourite songs than I would...

Let's find out though before I sound any more like a failed statistician!
Everybody talking to their pockets

Post Reply