Ok, if you read this blog last year, you remember about me and sentimental ballads, right? And how much they make me want to hurl? How did I forget that Oscar-nominated songs are almost always sentimental ballads?!
Oh well. I'm still having fun this week. Yesterday's song was "Coming Home", and tonight I've gotten started with "I See the Light".
In the category of unusual modulations, we have "Coming Home" (start about 2:45 on the video to check this out): it goes up a whole step after the second chorus, plays through the first two phrases of the chorus minus the patter lyrics, then it goes back DOWN to the original key of C major. Who does that!?!? The song was written by Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey, so apparently they do. Or maybe some arrangers who aren't credited as songwriters were involved here.
"After the second chorus" is usually the bridge. I like bridges. I mean, I have to, if I ever want to get out of Manhattan (there are piles of dirty snow everywhere, and more freezing rain on the way - right now I'm thinking cross a bridge into Queens and get the next flight to Puerto Rico). Song bridges are great because they are your chance to get out, musically speaking, of the 'hood for a while. Then come back to Manhattan for the end, because you know you love it here. On the bridge, get a change of scenery: change the chord progression, the melody, the rhythm or rhyme scheme of the lyrics.
...Or maybe just the key. I can't say for sure, because I haven't seen Country Strong or how the song is used in it, but I'm guessing there isn't a profound cinematic reason for that key change up a step and back down. I'm guessing it's some songwriters/arrangers who found a cheap trick to "write" a bridge. Hm. I will steal that cheap trick and put it in my own bag for later use.
Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow's character has to cross a bridge to get back home. A bridge that's a step up. And then back down.