0

I was playing along to Poison and noticed a curious chord progression:

[Verse]

(in Dm)
i            VI       III         VII
Dm           Bb       F           C
  Your cruel, device, Your blood, like ice


(in Gm)
i          VI           III     V
Gm         Eb           Bb      D
  One look, could kill, my pain, your thrill
 
 
[Chorus]
 
(in Gm)
i         VI              III         VII
Gm        Eb              Bb          F
  I wanna love you but I better not touch
  
(in Cm)
i         VI              III    VII
Cm        Ab              Eb     Bb
  I wanna hold you but my senses tell me to
  
(in Am)
i            VI             III         VII
Am           F              C           G
stop - I wanna kiss you but I want it too much

(in Dm)
i         VI                  III      VII
Dm        Bb                  F        C
  I wanna taste you but your lips are venomous -
  
i    VI  III VII
Dm   Bb  F   C
poison

       i      VI       III        VII
       Dm     Bb       F          C
You're poison running through my veins you're

i    VI   III VII
Dm   Bb   F   C
poison

i       VI     III         VII
Dm      Bb     F           C
I don't wanna break these chains

Apart from the leadup into the chorus, there seems to be a i VI III VII progression (if I've labelled those correctly) that runs throughout; looking at the chorus, the key changes from Gm → Cm → Am → Dm, staying in Dm for the last few lines.

I couldn't see any consistent relation between those keys (or with the last chord of the previous progression) but the chords obviously work well with the melody; does anyone have insight on how Cooper might have chosen those key changes or if this is a known technique?

1 Answer 1

1

It's just a walk "up" the cycle of fifths. The reverse VII-III-VI would be a common pattern; in a minor key, it tends to would like V-I-IV in the relative major. The reversed pattern doesn't sound like one is moving to the relative major. I don't know if that's the reason it was composed, it is an effect. One important point is that the voice-leading is going to be fine so things sound good. Reversed cycle of fifths movement isn't unusual; it isn't strongly functional but does make a nice passing progression.

3
  • I'm not sure if I follow walking up the cycle of fifths, if we're walking up from G, it would be G -> D -> A -> E?
    – xdl
    Jul 13, 2023 at 14:08
  • Yes. Here it's Bb-F-C.
    – ttw
    Jul 13, 2023 at 17:37
  • Ah apologies, I realise I wasn't asking the question clearly (have edited it from chord progressions to the key change) - I've seen i VII III VI used a lot in pop music (youtube.com/watch?v=E6dlIJrjmME) and as you pointed out the last 3 are cycle of fifth walk ups - my question was more around why those key changes were chosen (Gm → Cm → Am → Dm)
    – xdl
    Jul 13, 2023 at 19:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.