Development Of The Chorus
To accompany the change from verse to chorus, the dry, tight snare of the verse is replaced with a reverbed clap in the choruses. This subtle change accentuates the shift to the chorus without relying on effects, risers or additional sounds to create the lift.
During the chorus, the synth parts develop every eight bars. For instance, at the start of the chorus at 0:57, the bassline plays on its own before the long, filtered synth chords come in over the top for the second half of the chorus. During the eight-bar bridge that follows, the synth now interacts with the bass rhythmically, adding to the syncopation and shuffle of the rhythm.
It’s also worth pointing out the subtle 5th (Bb, Eb, F) playing above the bass notes (Eb, Ab, Bb), fattening the sound of the bass in places. Here’s how the bassline looks on the piano roll:
In the following audio clip, the bassline plays twice. The synth patch includes a square wave oscillator mixed slightly quieter than the others. In the first repetition of the bass riff, this oscillator is tuned 12 semitones (an octave) up from the others. In the second repetition, the oscillator remains at the same amplitude but this time it’s tuned up another 7 semitones to form the 5th:
Vocals And Anacrusis
A lot of care has clearly gone into the arrangement of the vocal line and its interaction with the other elements of ‘You And Me’. Disclosure’s work with vocalists is another factor which lends their music an overtly commercial edge, again drawing on the traditional verse/chorus/verse song structures typically found in pop. In a recent interview with Spin, Howard Lawrence briefly discussed Disclosure’s approach to working with vocals, saying: “We’ve never really done the remote thing, it just doesn’t work. Normally, [when we started] we’d write the whole song without the vocals, and since we didn’t have a good mic or anything, we’d go up into London, and meet up with the vocalist and write the vocals with them.” It’s an approach which clearly works to great effect.
The anticipation built in the verse by having just one chord and a one-note bassline underneath a wandering vocal melody makes the simple rhythmic chord progression of the chorus so much more satisfying, but there’s another element to the vocals of ‘You And Me’ which is frequently overlooked in dance music production.
Working with loop-based sequencers – and particularly in software, where music is so often arranged in coloured rectangles on a screen – it’s easy to fall into the trap of arranging those building blocks so that everything lines up neatly in four-, eight- or sixteen-bar increments. However, the vocal melody to the chorus of ‘You And Me’ starts half a bar before the first beat of the chorus section.
The words “So please don’t…” are what’s classically referred to as an ‘anacrusis’, with the first beat of the bar actually landing between the words ‘let’ and ‘go’. (A regularly cited example of an anacrusis in music is the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, in which the first downbeat of the first bar lands on ‘birthday’.) It’s worth noting that this technique isn’t just for vocal melodies – it can be applied to any element of a track in order to break away from the rigid, loop-based structures many of us often fall into. Starting a melody or rhythm in the last couple of beats of the previous section is a great way to link parts of a track together and provide a more cohesive overall structure.
‘You And Me’ is a classic example of how creative arrangement and good pop-influenced vocal writing can turn the simplest of musical structures into an incredibly catchy track. As Disclosure release their debut album, Settle, in just over a week, prepare to hear a lot more of the Lawrence brothers’ music over the next few months.