What song sounds like This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies?
January 3, 2013 8:52 PM   Subscribe

What song or songs sound like This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies?

My boyfriend and I were driving up to NJ on Sunday, and I was playing The Zombies - Odessy and Oracle. When the song "This Will Be Our Year" came on, my boyfriend became obsessed with the idea that it sounds very much like another song. (Not a cover -- just another song that is similar in chord progression and melody.) I think he may be right -- but we've so far come up lacking as far as figuring out what that song could be.

We think it MIGHT be some sort of power poppish thing from the 70's or perhaps early 80's (Nick Lowe? Elvis Costello?) or maybe something like Weezer, or maybe something like Queen? Something with a very similar piano-based chord progression and vocal line - but maybe with a guitar playing the solo/lead?

Help! It's driving us berserk!
posted by capnsue to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Longshot guess: Ben Folds, Gone
posted by jeffch at 9:01 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Queen's "You're My Best Friend" perhaps?

The thing it made me think of immediately was Doubleback Alley by the Rutles, which was of course a pastiche of the Beatles' Penny Lane.
posted by usonian at 9:03 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Before coming in, I was thinking Queen too, mainly bits of "Don't Stop Me Now."
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:08 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

and there is this cover c/o Beautiful South
posted by philip-random at 9:08 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I apologize in advance:

The first half of the main piano riff is Home Sweet Home by Mötley Crüe.

The rest of the song sounds like if Jon Brion wrote a more twee version of Mr. Blue Sky by ELO. And the production and mix (and the overall feel) remind me a bit of Summer '68 by Pink Floyd or an extremely low rent version of Penny Lane.
posted by The World Famous at 9:22 PM on January 3, 2013

I too immediately thought Ben Folds. Then Queen. Then this song.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 10:15 PM on January 3, 2013

It also reminds me of a Guster song. Working on which one...
posted by professor plum with a rope at 10:23 PM on January 3, 2013

Maybe it's driving you crazy because there's no one single song? It manages to echo bits and pieces from lots of things-- in rapid succession I hear the ghosts of (among others):

Wings/Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed
The Beatles - I Want to Tell You
Crosby Stills Nash and Young - Our House

What those songs all have in common with yours (based on googling guitar tabs; I don't really know music theory) is that they all start with a piano chord in A major, and they all have sections where you hear, one quickly after another, a major, a minor, a seventh, and a major chord again. To my ears, it's happy, then sad, then quivering in ecstatic awe, then happy again-- in other words, the sound of love requited at long last. Which is something the *lyrics* of all those songs have in common, too.

This Will Be Our Year
Main: A/ C#m/ A7/ D/ F/ E7/ D/ A
Bridge: B/ Dm/ A/ B/ Dm/ D/ E
Ending: Bb/ Dbm/ Bb7/ Db/ E/ D#7/ Db/ Bb

Maybe I'm Amazed
Intro: A/ D/ Dm/ Em7/ A
Main: Bb/ F/ C/ Cmaj9/ Bb/ F/ C
Bridge: D/ Dmaj9/ D7sus2/ G/ Dm+9

I Want to Tell You
Main: A/ B/ E7/ A/ A/ B/ E7/ A
Bridge: Em/ E7/ A/ B7/ Bm/ Dm6/ A
Ending: A/ B/ E7/ A/ A/ B/ E7/ A

Our House
Main: A/ Amaj7/ F#m/ A/ D/ A/ D/ E
Chorus: A/ Amaj7/ F#m/ A/ D/ A/ D/ A/ D/ A/ D/ Bm/ D

posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 12:45 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

A bit surprised nobody's mentioned it yet, but what immediately jumped out at me was Bowie's Oh! You Pretty Things"

Queen & some of McCartney's contemporary stuff is a pretty good comparison as well.
posted by ShutterBun at 3:40 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

The cadence and the bounce of the piano strongly reminds me of "Close To You" by the Carpenters.
posted by jbickers at 6:24 AM on January 4, 2013

I love The Zombies and that song. While I think it's a special tune for sure, I agree that there are many different songs with similar texture, melody and harmony that you could be thinking of. I have some ideas though.

The chord progression is pretty Lennon-McCartneyish (although I want to say a bit more of the latter), and there are several different tunes in The Beatles canon that feature similar devices to those employed in This Will Be Our Year. Although the emotional tenor of the song is somewhat different, one of the first that comes to mind for me is In My Life.

Both songs are in A major, although that shouldn't actually be very important unless one of you has perfect pitch. But more significantly, they both have similar verse-bridge structures, and the verses of both songs feature a similar descending bassline, a similar harmonic rhythm (i.e. length of each chord), and similar distinctive harmonic surprises.

In My Life's verse: A E/G# | F#m A7 | D Dm | A

This Will Be Our Year's verse: A C#m/G# | A7 D | F E7 | D A

Although the 2nd chord is the V (E) in In My Life and the iii (C#m) in This Will Be Our Year*, both put the 7th scale degree in the bass, providing a downward-stepping motion from the initial I chord (A).

Both progressions also feature the A7 to D cadence, which provides the chromatic movement of G natural to F#, the G natural being borrowed from the key of D major rather than the home key of A major.

And perhaps most distinctly, although it's Dm in In My Life and F in This Will Be Our Year** both progressions feature a chord with an F natural, borrowed from the parallel key of A minor, followed by a chord with an E natural (A in In My Life and E in This Will Be Our Year), providing another bit of chromatic voice leading. This use of the minor iv chord in a major key where the major IV would be expected, creating that half-step movement (which is highlighted in the melody several times in the Beatles song e.g. at the end of the bridge when John sing "In my life / I love you more; off the top of my head, it's not as present in the Zombies melody) was pretty characteristic of The Beatles. Alan W. Pollack refers to the device here as "John's much favored minor iv chord motivated by the chromatic descent of an implied inner voice." Another place it occurs is in You Won't See Me (another not-too-dissimilar tune from Paul), in which song Pollack again highlights the same chromatic voice leading.

The bridges of the two songs aren't as close a match, but again both prominently feature a distinctive harmonic trick, in this case the deceptive cadence of the V of V chord (B major) to the same borrowed iv chord from the verse (Dm), providing another chromatic F# to F natural movement. This chord movement occurs in both phrases of the Zombies bridge, but only in the 2nd phrase of the Beatles bridge. (The same B major chord shows up in the bridge of You Won't See Me, but in that case it resolves as expected to the V chord, E.)

Some others worth thinking about might be Penny Lane (very similar downward chromatic bassline in the verse, piano and trumpet texture) and For No One (yet another downward chromatic bassline in the verse, piano and French horn this time), both McCartney tunes.

*From memory I would've said it was an Amaj7, but since I can't listen right now I'll go with the transcriptions I found via googling. It's pretty much the same thing anyway.

**Similarly, I've always thought of this as a Dm in This Will Be Our Year, but again it's functionally the same.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:17 AM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

« Older Online psychologist or help for overseas vet?   |   How to fight fair over controversial topics? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.