I’m not going to lie to you folks. Halfway through recording the third installment of The “Baby” Project, I started to get sick of the Justin Bieber hit song that I’m paying tribute to. I’m reminded by this exercise that I am a big fan of interesting harmonies and chord progressions, and to say that this song lacks either of those things is an understatement of epic proportions.
So to keep things interesting, I’ve taken the opportunity presented by my genre of choice for this installment–indie rock (or maybe alt rock? If you have a better genre label for this music, let me know in the comments)–to get a little more creative with the arrangement and to highlight the subtle yet important countermelody in the chorus:
I’m referring to the “high-low, high-low, high-low, high-low” countermelody that’s played on the synth in the original and on both piano and synth in this version. I won’t blame you if you haven’t noticed it until now, but listen to the original again (I know you want to) and focus on that part:
I honestly think this is one of the many small, unique things about this song that, taken together, propel it past “run of the mill” generic pop tune into ultra-platinum hit. “High-low, high-low, high-low, high-low.” It provides a steady platform upon which the busy melody and drum parts can rest, and it sits at a higher register than those parts, thereby cutting through the rest of the noise and giving the song much of its unique sonic fingerprint. It’s a small work of musical genius, and it deserves the time in the spotlight I’m giving it in this rendition and analysis.
Also of note in this rendition: I’ve axed the Ludacris rap almost entirely. I did include “When I was thirteen/I had my first love” at the end so it wasn’t entirely omitted, but no more than that. Some of you may be relieved, others may miss it, but I had two good reasons for cutting it: one, it’s too distracting and takes any rendition of this song directly to “camp” territory, and two, it would have made the whole longer than I would have preferred, given the song’s slow tempo. That being said, I’m open to bringing it back, but please do let me know how you feel about it in the comments.
And let me know what genres should come next! I’m pretty sure I’m going to end this with a Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” 60’s pop version, but I’m not sure when that will be or how many other versions will come before then. So get your suggestions in now while you can!
Previous Installments of The “Baby” Project