It’s a Right I Defend: Songs With a Powerful Key Change
Whether the weekend was excellent or terrible, it can be hard to get the routine of the week going again. The daily rhythms which keep us sane can suddenly seem so mundane, so I like to inspire myself with some dramatic musical moments, specifically songs with a powerful key change. When those chords start stepping up the scale, I feel the buzz of anticipation for belting it out, higher and longer. These songs can be secret enemies of the karaoke singer, but if you’re prepared, it’s a classic way to shut it down. Here are some of my favorite songs with key changes.
Let’s warm up a little with a classic to help clarify my parameters:
I love this song not only for use of the word “instinctively”, but also “thee”. As in, “I say to thee”. Oh yeah, Diana kicks it like the King James version. However, this song doesn’t quite have the key change I love best — singing bridges in a different key is nice, but what I really consider the classic key change is the one that comes near the end of the song, after a big build. It’s like, we want to do the chorus ONE more time, but this time we REALLY mean it. The rest of my examples follow this model of key-changing.
This is a favorite of mine to sing at karaoke, and watching this video I realize I’ve stolen some of those moves too. They must have infiltrated my conscious at an early age. Olivia’s hair is pretty amazing, and I appreciate her combination of pink and orange, too.
I actually prefer Wanda Jackson’s cover of this song, but there’s something compelling about this video of Shania flirting with all these men in the diner who are so far out of her league. Those mom jeans are almost as powerful as the key change at the end, which gives me chills every time I hear it.
It couldn’t be a song post about key changes (or a song post on Fry Butter, in general) without a little Babs. Someone beat me to this song at karaoke last week, and I was a little jealous. This fan video is pretty stellar too — I see you, bathtub scene from A Star Is Born!
However, Barry might have Barbra beat with this number: it has TWO key changes. Oh man, this song about having moved on to a new and better lover, while still feeling longing and loss for the one who got away — you need multiple key changes to manage all that angst.
Soft rock radio has key changes out the wazoo! I’m pretty sure Laura got dumped the day before singing this live performance, because it is raw.
Ok, damn, sorry to bring it down a notch. Let’s brighten the mood a bit with the next song.
I still don’t know what the hell she’s singing about in the lyrics, I sing along variations of “yabba-dabba-dabba-doo-be-doo”, but the video is like The Fifth Element all poppy and giddy on E. The key change at 3:40 is sweet and simple.
Next we have her brother Michael, whose song not only has a key change, but it happens when the chorus sings out the word “CHANGE!”
Not all key changes have to be bombastic; the set closes with a little ditty by Jenny Lewis and company to ease us back into the daily rhythms of Monday. Now get back to work.
What are your favorite key change songs?