Linkin Park's 'Easier to Run'
The other day I blogged about the permanent Picardy third in the choruses of Linkin Park's 'Somewhere I Belong', and how it's the first example I've ever encountered that completely convinces me of the concept. This morning I found the second example that convinces me: 'Easier to Run', four tracks later on the same album. In this case, the mode mixture packs a visceral punch at the onset of each chorus, which compellingly conveys the emotional trauma of the lyrics. This is first-rate songwriting!
This fall I will be teaching a section of Music Theory 3, in which we will cover the Neapolitan chord. In common-practice classical harmony, the Neapolitan is almost always used in first inversion and functions as a predominant (it leads to V). But in pop music, it is almost always in root position and functions as an upper leading tone to tonic (it leads to I). And that's exactly how Linkin Park employs the Neapolitan in 'Don't Stay', the second track of their 2003 album Meteora.
The song is in B minor, with prominent C major (Neapolitan) chords throughout the verses and at the end of the bridge.
Here's a handout based on this song that I'll go through with my students in class. I'll play the whole song for them and have them analyze using Roman Numerals, and then circle all the Neapolitan chords.
Aaron Krerowicz, pop music scholar
An informal but highly analytic study of popular music.