-JT and the Heartbreakers (“I Wanna be Loved”)



The song I selected is written by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers. They have been one of my favorite bands ever since I developed a taste in music, when I was a kid. “I wanna be loved”, the song I chose, is one the more famous songs the band would perform in the late 1970’s.

“I wanna be loved” has a relatively simple rhythm that centers around a basic pop/rock and roll drum beat. The meter of the song is duple and is in a “4/4” time signature (the singer counts 1-2-3-4 at the beginning of the song). The downbeats and upbeats are accentuated throughout the song through the use of syncopation. The drums are also accompanied by an electric bass guitar, which additionally helps keep the songs rhythm by hitting a note every time the drums are hit. This song, much like many other Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers songs, is a relatively fast song (allegro). Throughout the song there are no changes in the time signature, tempo, or meter.

The timbre of the song is a little abrasive. The vocals are delivered with high energy and  are performed half-hazardly. Much of the singing has a nasally sound and delivered forcefully. Vocals are coupled with the guitar, which sound punchy, simple, and tough at times and aggressively stylized at other times. the instruments used in the song include two electric guitars, a bass guitar, a drummer and has a layering of vocals. The guitars and the drums are the most dominant elements in the sound. During the chorus the drums make a clamorous, crashing sound. Once the song gets to the guitar solo, the timbre of the lead guitar switches to something reminiscent of a screeching cat. The only really ‘sweet’ or ‘smooth’ parts in the song are the back up vocals. Overall, the song is tough, clamorous, a little sloppy, and occasionally screeching and violent.

The melody is simple but varied through subtle means throughout the song. There are two melodies in this song. Instead of playing the same note in the same octave, the guitars will skip to the same note on the next octave. One of the melodies can be found in the verse while the other is in the chorus. The largest amount of melodic complexity seems to exist in the solo. All of the notes executed throughout the song are all in the same scale. Fundamentally, the two melodies in this song each only contain two root notes. Even in the solo, the lead guitar follows the melody used in the verse and chorus. In other words, when the lead guitar solos over the verse part of the song, for example, it is imitating the basic melody of the verse. It is only occasionally that the lead guitar seems to bend the limits of the scale by rapidly sliding into notes, bending notes, or intentionally using dissonance.

The harmony of the song is found in how forceful it all sounds together. The rhythm guitar violently punches out the basic melodies of the verse and chorus, while the lead guitar either plays the exact same thing or is playing lead guitar melodies that conform to the basic melody. Furthermore, the drums and bass match each other, while the bass provides a direct link between the drums and guitars by playing the root note of all the guitar parts. The various melodies all are in harmony because they are all derived from the same scale. All the instruments harmonize because they essentially reinforce and re-state the same thing all the other instruments do. In the end it sounds like a wall of noise but is still in harmony.

As far as dynamics are concerned, the song is, simply put, a loud song. The vocals are all performed through shouting and the instruments are all loud and mesh together all form a punchy sounding wall of noise. The dynamic of this song is connected to its harmony and its texture because all of how the song is homophonic. It is because of the songs homophony that it is able to have a wall of noise effect.

The form of the song is simple. There are two melodies split between a verse and chorus melody. These two melodies are repeated in varying amounts. Structurally the song is similar to a twelve-bar blues song. There are the two melodies, but they are structurally linked to complete a whole sequence of measures. The whole song is relatively symmetrical and repetitive for this reason.

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