Lo-Fi Friday #3: Two Chord Songs

A big part of the mythology of punk music is that you only need three chords to start a band and make good songs. Dm7? F9? F#m7sus4? Who do you think you are, dude, Steve Vai? However, by the logic that songs with three chords are better than, for example, songs with twenty chords, songs with two chords are proportionally better again.

Half Japanese – 1,000,000 Kisses

This entire post is basically an excuse to post this Half Japanese song that I really like. I’d heard of them before, but it was the serendipitous ‘two unexpected mentions in a week’ that actually motivated me to go through the stress and strain of googling, clicking, waiting 60 seconds, clicking again and un-RARing an album. One was on the Facebook page for the YXIMALLOO gig (which I didn’t go to), in the form of a comparison. “A Japanese Half Japanese”. I thought that was funny. The second was on Cinnamon Songs, a ‘song a day’ type Irish blog I really like, clicking tags arbitrarily.

Anyway, this song has two chords. They are G and Am, as far as I can tell. They repeat in the same rhythm for the entire song. It is still a really, really good song. The opening lines are some of my favourite from any song: “It didn’t work out as I had planned it/But it did work better than I thought it would.” There’s just something really telling in the delivery.

Velvet Underground – Heroin

This song also has two chords. They are C# and F#, I think. It is by little known Lower East Side art rock band the Velvet Underground. It’s a good example of how a song can be based on basically nothing, the most common and simple chord change in pop music, and still end up sounding like a huge long journey.


Moldy Peaches – Anyone Else But You

This is another little known Lower East Side art rock band, probably. I don’t think the song has been in any movies. It’s really nice. The chords, by my reckoning, are G and Cmaj7.

Galaxie 500 – Snowstorm

Dean Wareham from this band is playing in the Workman’s Club tonight with no support, starting at 8.15pm. This song has two chords. They are G(maj7) and D. It is amongst the saddest songs ever written.

None of these songs are fuzzy, but so what. Doing some subtle canon-building here.

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4 responses to “Lo-Fi Friday #3: Two Chord Songs

  1. I was scrolling down this post and about to leave a comment about snowstorm. You got there first bro.

  2. Squarehead – Fake Blood too.

  3. Molly’s Lips, by Nirvana = two chords of goodness

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