Saturday, March 09, 2024

Three part songs with themes and variations: Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” (1969) and Taylor Swift’s “The Best Day” (2008) and “Never Grow Up” (2010)

In Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" (from "Clouds", 1969), the three verses each have their own theme (clouds, love, and life), as well as a turn in the middle at "but now". Then the choruses all refer to looking at those themes "from both sides now" and "not knowing" each theme "at all." Such a three-part theme with variations offers a model for writing songs; it can also be found in Taylor Swift's "The Best Day" (from "Fearless", 2008, with its three "best days") and "Never Grow Up" (from "Speak Now", from "Speak Now", 2009, with a small child, a young teen, and a young woman who has just left home). (Andrew Shields, #111Words, 9 March 2024)

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