Hey, c’mere, you (podcast)

Here’s my second music theory and Interpol podcast! You can hear it on Soundcloud (see below) or on Mixcloud. Below is my musical transcription of C’mere (or, “come here”), followed by my analysis of the song’s form, and then a transcript of what I say in the podcast. You’ll notice at the end of the podcast I’ve included a MIDI-export of my transcription (which I then ran through Studio One using some of their built-in sounds); I did this because I thought it might be helpful to parse out the individual instrumental lines without all the fancy production that’s used in the real recording of the song.


Click on the image to open the full PDF.

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 7.36.26 PM


0:00 It’s way too late to be this locked inside ourselves
The trouble is that you’re in love with someone else
It should be me. Oh, it should be me
0:30 Sacred parts, your get-aways
You come along on summer days
Tenderly, tastefully
0:53 And so make, we make time
Try to find somebody else
This place is mine
1:04 You said today, you know exactly how I feel
I have my doubts little girl I’m in love with something real
It could be me, that’s changing!
1:27 And so make, we make time
To try and find somebody else
Who has a line
1:43 Now seasoned with health
Two lovers walk a lakeside mile
Try pleasing with stealth, rodeo
See what stands long ending fast
1:58 Oh, how I love you
in the evening, when we are sleeping
We are sleeping. Oh, we are sleeping
2:21 And so make, we make time
We try to find somebody else
Who has a line
2:37 Now seasoned with health
Two lovers walk a lakeside mile
Try pleasing with stealth, rodeo
See what stands long ending fast

Transcription of the podcast:
Welcome again to Sound Meets Sound! Today I will be talking about the song “C’mere” by Interpol.

“C’mere”—to me—is the closest we’re going to get to a happy or uplifting Interpol song. Or maybe I should put it this way: this song has always made me feel warm and fuzzy. Yes, like most of the ANTICS tunes it’s bouncy and you want to dance around your apartment when you listen to it. But there’s just something warm and comforting about it, at least musically speaking (I honestly hardly ever know what Paul means by his lyrics so I can’t really speak to those).

You know I love to talk about pitch collections so let’s go there first. Like a lot of Interpol’s music, the pitch collection is hexatonic, that is, consisting of only six notes because they really like to omit the leading tone (aka the seventh scale degree of a diatonic scale). Specifically, it’s F major hexatonic, because the music clearly centers around the F major triad. The only time we hear the leading tone is in what I call the “post-chorus” section (where Paul sings “now seasoned with health”) and the outro, which is essentially an extension of the second post-chorus.

In the post-choruses, the leading tone—the note E—is played simultaneously with an A. This weakens the effect of the leading tone, because A and E together in an F scale imply a iii—or, mediant—chord, which is not a “directional” chord; it’s doesn’t pull you very strongly anywhere harmonically speaking.

Interestingly, in the outro, the E is paired with a note that is VERY directional in this context, that note being B natural. While one of the guitars plays the part heard in the post-choruses—that is, the F major collection with the simultaneous E and A—the other guitar shifts to F lydian by stacking E and B-natural and having those resolve very firmly to their resolution tones, F and C. I’ve always loved this outro, it just feels so much like the culmination of the whole song. Little did I realize at the time that there were these crazy cross relations happening (a cross relation, also known as a false relation, is a type of dissonance in which we hear a note in one voice, and immediately afterward we hear a note that is one half step higher; both of the notes go by the same name but belong to different pitch collections. In this case, the B-flat is part of the F major collection, and the B-natural is part of the F lydian collection).

Since we’re talking about pitches let’s just touch on Paul’s vocals. He overwhelmingly emphasizes the note A, specifically the A below middle C, throughout the song. The note A being the third of the F major collection, it’s like he’s trying to make it as clear as possible that this is a major key, and by centering his whole vocal line around A he both stagnates the sense of harmonic movement while also maintaining just the slightest bit of tension. That is, his melodic contours don’t move toward and away from and back again to the tonic, they just hover on that very non-directional note A.

I think the other aspect of this song that makes me feel all warm inside is its texture. For the majority of the song the texture is both homophonic and homorhythmic. Homophonic in that the instruments provide back-up for the vocal line (as opposed to playing their own independent melodies), and homorhythmic in that the instruments play basically the same rhythms. In verse 2 we do get a guitar countermelody, but as it creates a voice exchange with the voice melody and is more of a little riff than a melody it doesn’t disrupt the sense of homophony much (a voice exchange happens when one part moves down a third at the same time another part moves up a third, all on the same notes).

The only time in the song where we hear polyphony—which is independent melodies stacked on top of each other, and very common in Interpol—is in the “now seasoned with health” section, and by extension the coda.

This juxtaposition of simple homophony with moments of polyphony, I find it extremely effective. The homophony is comforting somehow, like, the boys are all getting along together in this safe hexatonic pitch space. But it wouldn’t be an Interpol song without at least *some* polyphony, which coincidentally is the only place in the song where we hear the leading tone.

Ok, that’s it for today! I’ll be looking at Same Town, New Story next time. Until then…

~ by megwilhoite on April 30, 2017.

2 Responses to “Hey, c’mere, you (podcast)”

  1. I’ve always felt this was one of Interpol’s more uninteresting songs in terms of “music theory” but you’ve managed to make it interesting. It is interesting how you mention their music is hexatonic. I never thought about it, but I think a lot of rock music (other than metal) tends to avoid the 7th degree. Why is that? Jazz music tends to exploit it and damn near preserve it in all instances to get that “leading tone” but can’t that same pull be done from ii, V, I?

    I also find it kind of funny how you sell this song as warm and upbeat. The lyrics are awfully depressing.

    I hope you add A Time to be so Small to your list. The arrangement at the end of the song right up to the last “chord” is incredibly beautiful.

    • ha yeah when a reader requested I analyze this song (it was so long ago I can’t remember who it was) I was like, hm what is there to talk about? But it held a couple gems (I’m glad you found my analysis interesting!). The leading-tone avoidance thing in rock I think has something to do with wanting to differentiate itself from the blues; going pentatonic or hexatonic also means there is one fewer “wrong” note, which I’m thinking is appealing for a genre in which the musicians are not generally “classically” trained (unlike in metal and jazz). lol Paul’s lyrics are a complete mystery to me, I have like zero poetic intuition. Officially adding A Time to be so Small to my list! thanks for reading and/or listening!

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