The Key Change (Part 1)


As those of you who know me well will understand, there is nothing I appreciate more than a well executed key change. I’m not talking about Mozart’s perfectly executed modulation to the dominant, or Bartok’s unexpected modulation to some far-flung “key”, but the “cheese change”. That semitone shift in the final sections of a pop song that makes everyone go ‘ohhhh’. Sometimes they shock the system, coming from nowhere, unprepared and unexpected. On other occasions, the song breaks down and everyone listening knows exactly what’s about to happen, and has time to mentally prepare.

Here on my first blog post are the 10 best (or worst, depending on your philosophical bent) key changes;

10- When We Collide (Matt Cardle)

The single worst key change in modern pop music? Quite possibly.

The single key change in modern pop music that makes everyone go “Ohhhh”? Almost definitely

Go from 2.50 for full appreciation.

P.S The original was key change free, and a fantastic song.

9- I Want It That Way (Backstreet Boys)

No post on key changes would be complete without a mention of the best-selling boy band in history, The Backstreet Boys. I recommend watching the whole thing, if not for the music but for the world-class lesson on how to make a truly fantastic music video.

8- Love Story (Taylor Swift)

The modern Queen of Country Music drops a perfectly crafted key change (as only she can) ย just as she deviates away from the plot of Shakespeare’s play. Which is definitely a good thing, as a song ending in double suicide probably wouldn’t sell that well…

7- Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)

The crowd pleaser, a wedding DJ’s set list staple, and one of the best songs of the 80’s. A perfect key change from an album entitled “slippery when wet”.


Thats just the tip of the iceberg, check back next week as the countdown continues…





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s