AUD210 - Blog 6 - Song Structure

This AUD210 series belongs to an assessment from college.

The song to be analysed is called 'R U Mine?', from Arctic Monkeys. 


The image above was taken from an audio analysis software called Variations Audio Timeliner. 

Intro:

  • The key signature is F# minor, and the tempo is 97 bpm at a 4/4 measure. However, when I mapped the click track in Pro Tools, I noticed that the tempo fluctuates up and down by just a tiny bit. The lowest value I got was 96 and the highest 98. It gets a bit faster in the chorus and returns to its original tempo during the verses. 
  • The song begins with a what it seems to be a quick tremolo guitar and a punchy and over the top drums. 
  • It seems like the powerful drums sound was achieved by sampling and compressing some elements in particular, such as the kick, the snare and the toms. 

Verse 1:

  • The lead vocal sound a bit distorted;
  • The backing vocal enters by accentuating "strings" and it sounds like it's doubled, being one on the right and the other on the left, or maybe it's only one with a delay effect;
  • The lead guitar and bass enters on the downbeat of the first phrase;
  • The bass is artistically distorted;
  • The guitar is scratchy but not 'airy' -- it allows space for the cymbals in the high end.

Chorus 1:

  • The guitars change to a different harmony, more agitated;
  • The backing vocals support most of the downbeats up until the end of the chorus.

Verse 2:

  • At 1:07 in the video above, it sounds like there's a disk scratch. As I'm not familiar with guitars, I'm not sure it's a sound it can reproduce;
  • The backing vocals are more present this time;
  • There's a guitar tremolo panned to the right, as soon as the backing vocal enters.

Chorus 2:

  • Maintains the same characteristics as chorus 1, with one clear and interesting exception: the backing vocals take over as if they stop being secondary when the singers say 'are you mine tomorrow?' at 1:43. Mixing wise, it sound like the mixer would ride the faders during that line and then they would lower them down once all the instruments came back;
  • The drums become more intense.

Bridge:

  • We hear the toms loud and clear. They sound full and punchy;
  • The guitars and bass change the harmony;
  • The backing vocal are present at the end of the bridge.

Solo:

  • An interesting guitar solo begins; one guitar on the left, then one on the right and the last one in the middle;
  • There's a hi-hat opening and closing that keeps on marking the beats alongside the guitar solo.

Verse 3:

  • Following the guitar and drums, we hear a small portion of the verse being sung in acapella by both the lead and backing vocals until the last chorus.

Chorus 3:

  • Maintains similar characteristics from the previous choruses--there's a delay set closely to 250ms present applied in the backing vocals. They're also more agitated than before;
  • Close to the end, the 'hidden' drum elements, such as the ride and the toms are increased to provide an urgent feel to the song's climax;
  • There's also a different and quite subtle guitar panned to the right, giving a different tonality to the mix.

Instrumentation:

Guitars: 

  • Gibson Les Paul for the main riff, and amplified by a Selmer Zodiac amplifier model;
  • Gibson SG for the rhythm through a Magnate amplifier.

Bass:

  • Fender Precision amplified using an Ampeg Portaflex.

Drums:

  • Ludwig Drumkit

Effects:

  • There is a bit of distortion applied to the lead vocals and a subtle telephone effect on the EQ;
  • The reverb seems quite long. In fact, there are some moments where I could count up to 1,5 seconds;
  • As mentioned a couple of times above, the backing vocals are processed with a fast-to-intermediate delay time;
  • There are two moments where the guitar presents a tremolo effect: one is the intro and the other one in the second verse, at 1:13s;
  •  Vocal delay was produced using soundtoy echoboy for a smoother R&B style;

Production Techniques: 

  • Vocals were recorded with the Bock 251 but uses the SM57 for the crunchier vocal part;
  • Backing vocals were recorded on a Neumann U67 through Neve and a UA 1176 compressor;
  • Drums and bass were recorded together to get a good rhythm-section feel with a guide vocal;
  • The kick drum was recorded alone for a take followed by the snare drum to get an isolated sound.