GOT7’s newest comeback, Eclipse, features such attractions as a moon-shaped window, collapsing stairs, and musical portrayals of separation and brokenness. Let’s discuss these in reverse order in this episode of Classical Composer Breaks Down the K [intro plays] Eclipse is a song about doubt, about things falling apart, and this division is foreshadowed musically from the outset — rather than just starting with chords or a melody, it starts with chords and a melody and a second modified vocal countermelodic line. So the harmonic part is doing this
[plays the chords and bass on piano.
Like F#m9. That’s a nice chord that’s in this] And vocal line is doing this
[plays the melody on the piano] And the countermelody is doing this
[plays that as well] Putting it all together it sounds like this
[look at that video editing] The texture is clearer in the actual song when all of these layers are in different timbres, rather than all being played on the piano But while the main vocal line will probably draw your attention the most if you don’t concentrate on something else, the fact that all three parts begin simultaneously slightly overwhelms perception, giving a sense that more is happening than you can fully process at once. Many Kpop songs reach this level of textural complexity, and a song like LOOΠΔ’s Butterfly builds up to a significantly denser texture by the end, but starting a song this way makes a statement — GOT7 aren’t easing you into this with a gradual buildup of layers; they’re starting with a texture already divided. and, while the main vocal melody is pure, the countermelody is made up of vocal fragments, chopped electronically into little shards of sound, often panning between sides. Like the texture, this isn’t inherently unusual in Kpop, but its use here supports the themes of Eclipse — of something so familiar and human as the voice being fragmented. Let’s move forward to the first chorus, which lands with a drop, which is appropriate, because eclipses are part of nature, and drops… …are also a part of NATURE.
[clip from the drop of NATURE’s “썸(You’ll Be Mine)”] It’s a nice solid bass note, but it’s not on the tonic — that is, the most stable note of the key. Eclipse has been somewhat ambiguously either in E major or C-sharp minor but the bass lands on F-sharp, so it drops, but not onto something quite stable — Like it landed on a floor that was tilted, and it’s still trying to move toward true stability. And it does move, with the bass working its way up to C-sharp, a sort of stability, or home, but it reaches C-sharp at a point that is rhythmically de-emphasized, before being thrown back down to F-sharp on the next strong beat. And, speaking of rhythm, it’s a 3 3 2 — that is, the bass notes have lengths of [demonstrating on piano] one two three, one two three, one two within the measure this adds a bit of syncopation and energy compared to putting them straight on the quarter notes such as
[plays a version with the bass on straight quarter notes] Which would be rather square and boring. With the 3 3 2, it sounds like
[plays the correct version on piano] The 3 3 2 pattern is still fairly common; they’re not doing something unusual rhythmically, but they’re going somewhere with this, and we’ll come back to it. Everything I’ve been talking about applies to the second verse through chorus, but let’s move on to look [screenshot from GOT7’s Look] at the bridge The bridge starts out sparse, in contrast with the generally thick textures of the song up to this point, but then starts building up with triplet rap [obligatory bdg screenshot], which is normal, and the chopped voice sounds, which have been happening, and then adds in the “bddd.” Now,
Sean: is a fairly common vocal technique at this point; various groups, Including GOT7 in past songs, have used it, and it’s very similar to the technique used to produce flutter-tonguing on wind instruments But its usage in the context of this song continues the theme of fragmentation. It’s a way, without electronic manipulation, of taking what could be a smooth pure sound [sings a note], And breaking it into a few tiny bits of sound Umu: bdddddddddddddddddddddd
In this, the year two thousand nineteen, Umu dabbed.
That is a thing that just transpired. And then we hit the third chorus. Now, I’m aware that the drop/dance break is not in the album version of the song, but I’m going to talk about it here, because it is in the MV, which you’ve presumably seen if you’re watching this video, and it makes the song better, not just as an opportunity for dance, But as a culmination of the concepts that have been developing throughout the song thus far. The 3 3 2 pattern from before is back, but this time is at half-speed with the kick drum hitting [clap] one two three [clap] one two three, [clap] one two The slower pace adds emphasis, making each beat feel heavier. The 3 3 2 being half speed could risk losing energy except that there’s a much more elaborate drop happening than before, with a glitchy-sounding bass which, in its glitchy-ness, continues the fragmented texture from the
Stealth Umu: bdddd Sean: And so it feels more emphatic, more active, and more broken than the song’s previous drops. After almost continuous singing for over three minutes, they lose their voices for about 10 seconds, and so the return of their voices after that absence adds intensity to the final part of that chorus. Eclipse, while using elements familiar from other music, [moon returns] assimilates them to complement the lyrical and visual themes of the song by musically dividing and breaking apart into fragments and layers. As for the collapsing stairs, there have been warnings about the stairs. We have been told about the stairs, and yet it keeps happening [SBaHJ and Dave fall] As for the conveniently-shaped and -sized window, the moon acts as a piece filling in the space, almost like it’s a…Puzzle Moon [that’s a GWSN song] Filling in the 창문. And any window is a door if you’re committed enough to defenestration, so it could even be…a moon 문. [remember 2013 memes? I do.] Thank you for watching this episode of Classical Composer Breaks Down the K. A link to GOT7’s Eclipse is, of course, in the description. Also a link to a playlist of other episodes of Classical Composer Breaks Down the K.