I don't mean Switched On Bach, either.
March 17, 2013 9:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for examples of polyphonic pop and folk music.

I want to play some examples of polyphony in pop music for my students in a very general music-in-the-humanities class. I thought it would be great to have clear examples of two or more equally important melodies that aren't Bach inventions. I'm having trouble coming up with examples offhand, though. Anyone got some good ones? Especially pop and hip-hop would be awesome!
posted by daisystomper to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Scarborough Fair/Canticle
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:29 PM on March 17, 2013

clear examples of two or more equally important melodies

Collective Soul - December (starting at 3:40)

The Beatles - I've Got a Feeling (the last verse)

The Beatles - Eleanor Rigby (the last section)

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek (starting at 3:39)

The Chiffons - Sweet Talking Guy (1:40 to the end)

Bad Religion - 21st Century Digital Boy (starting at 2:30)

Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike (around 3:30 till the end)

The slow interlude in Radiohead's Paranoid Android ("That's it sir, you're leaving...").

The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations

A comment in this thread (which is broader than your question) suggests the musical Chicago.
posted by John Cohen at 9:42 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wearing the Inside Out, Pink Floyd. (The choruses, starting about a minute and half in.)
posted by The Deej at 10:02 PM on March 17, 2013

Madeon - Pop Culture

Pretty much all of Daft Punk - Alive 2007. It's a mashed up live version of already fairly complex beats weaving in and out of each other. Around The World / Harder Better Stronger Faster is a great example that presents the building blocks and starts stacking and modifying and weaving them into something entirely new. (The linked video is good, the album version is even better.)

Kanye West - Lost in the World

Spoon - Stay Don't Go
posted by clearly at 10:56 PM on March 17, 2013

#1 when the harmonies come in.
posted by solarion at 2:14 AM on March 18, 2013

Benjamin Biolay - Little Darlin

Penguin Cafe Orchestra - Discover America
posted by amestoy at 3:01 AM on March 18, 2013

Tripoli - Pinback

Shumba - Thomas Mapfumo
(Lots and lots of Afro-pop would work)

Saint Simon - The Shins
posted by umbĂș at 5:06 AM on March 18, 2013

Almost any trance record is composed this way- multiple melodies of equal importance is more or less a defining characteristic of trance.

Sasha-Xpander is a classic example.
posted by empath at 6:44 AM on March 18, 2013

Boys II Men -- Anything
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:25 AM on March 18, 2013

For something less cheesy, try a band with two guitarists who play melody-based solos. My favorite is probably Television, anything off Marquee Moon.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:32 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Girlyman does great folky acousticy rocky polyphony. Check out Everything's Easy and Postcards from Mexico.
posted by hydropsyche at 10:16 AM on March 18, 2013

Perhaps a little more opaque, but Grass Widow has some post punk-y, polyphonic vocal melodies + interlocking bass/guitar lines.
posted by black_lizard at 10:45 AM on March 18, 2013

Porcupine Tree 's Mellotron Scratch. So beautiful, around 5.40
posted by hollyanderbody at 12:43 PM on March 18, 2013

Through most of "Evergreen" by Angelica (punk-pop band from Lancaster, UK) there are two lead vocal lines. I can't find a YT, Spotify, etc. link but you can hear a 30-second clip at CD Universe.
posted by mountmccabe at 6:23 AM on March 19, 2013

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