music theory

Major Keys

The First Song on Radiohead’s Debut Album Predicted Their Future Greatness

‘Pablo Honey’ turns 25 this week, and its opener “You” set the template for the weirdness that Radiohead would follow for years to come.
Phil Witmer
2.22.18
Major Keys

Soulja Boy's "Kiss Me Thru the Phone" Warned Us That Phone Sex Is a Chore

The song was ten years ahead of its time, but its counterpart "Turn My Swag On" suggests a different kind of love that's equally relevant to now. It also totally borrows from Toto's "Africa."
Phil Witmer
2.14.18
Major Keys

Björk Uses Her Voice Like an Army Horn for Earth Spirits

On 'Utopia,' the Icelandic icon doubles down on her triad melodies and her quasi-ASMR obsession.
Phil Witmer
11.27.17
Major Keys

There Are No Good Halloween Songs Except for This Lost Will Smith Classic

I’m tired of hearing “Monster Mash” every year, give me the Fresh Prince.
Phil Witmer
10.31.17
Internet Videos Of Particular Importance

Frank Ocean’s New Live String Section Is Great Even on Shitty Phone Footage

Attempting to appreciate magical countermelodies through the hindrances of modern technologies.
Phil Witmer
8.11.17
pop science

The Music Theory Behind Why Rihanna's "Sex With Me" Is So Sexy

Includes a link between the bonus track's chord progression and, well, Wagner.
Emily Bootle
8.3.17
Essays

21 Savage's 'Issa Album' Sounds Chilling Because Science Says It Should Be

Horror movies and our own natural expectations of musical tones help explain why the street rap of the South is so ghoulish.
Phil Witmer
7.12.17
Essays

The Extremely Nerdy Music Science Behind Why You Love Drake's "Passionfruit"

The 'More Life' standout says more with its chord progression than its groove or its lyrics.
Phil Witmer
3.20.17
Essays

Here's the Music Theory Behind Why Lorde's Songwriting Is Objectively Kickass

Let's get real nerdy about the extremely alt-rock trope she shares with Nirvana.
Phil Witmer
3.3.17
Deep Ass Questions

Is PARTYNEXTDOOR Secretly a Production Genius?

No one has mastered Toronto’s murky beats like Party has.
Phil Witmer
5.26.16