Last evening as I was listening Maxïmo Park (to get in the mood for their concert today), I found the song Apply Some Pressure quite interesting. I learned to play it on my guitar and analysed the harmony a bit. Here is my recording of the song (courtesy of my turbo webcam microphone 9000) with annotated chord progressions:
- The song starts off in a key of D. The riff is composed of pentatonic notes and the chords D (I) and A (V) (accompanied with the leading tone c# and d in the singer’s melody).
- h- (VI) G (IV) – we’re still in D.
- The riff is now all in chords h- D A.
- Interesting part! Modulation to the key of E (through their common chord f#- (III in D, II in E)). Chords: f#- (II) H (V) E (I) H (V). The vocal melody reinforces this through tones d# (VII) e (VIII).
- A long f#-… Kind of boring, except for the syncopated rhythm. We’re still in E, but…
- Another surprise! An h- ?!? Followed by D and A – are we back in the key of D? No, there’s an E as well! So, we modulated to A major: h- (II) D (IV) A (I) E (V). The third key.
- And back to the original D major and the familiar riff.
Now that you know the theory, you can enjoy the song in its full splendor 🙂