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Sometimes a song can have the same tempo, chord progressions, instrumentation, even melody – and yet, have a completely different sound, message, and feel.

Such is the case with Coldplay’s “Politik”, and the B.R.M.C. song “Evol” off their most recent release, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo.

Listen to the first 14 seconds of “Evol” here.

And now listen to the first 27 seconds of “Politik” here.

Isn’t it interesting that both songs start out with the same chord, the same notes, and nearly identical tempos?  The difference happens when one song resolves out to a major chord (Evol), and the other one resolves in to a minor chord (Politik).

Even the structure of these songs is similar.  Both stick to their two-chord motifs, expanding only for a chorus (in Evol) or a bridge (in Politik).  In the case of Evol, the chorus remains in the same key, but an additional chord progression is added (a progression that would look like this:  ii -> iv -> I, or supertonic, to subdominant, to Tonic).  This keeps the song in the riff-rock category, because it doesn’t deviate from the main rhythmic or harmonic motifs, or “riffs”.

In Politik, the pre-bridge modulates to a new key, and remains there for the remainder of the song.  The original  rhythmic motif is then repeated in this new key.  This helps advance the story of the song, bringing an opportunity to voice a new idea.

Even though nearly every element of these two songs is the same, the songs obviously convey completely different emotional messages.  Have you ever heard any of these cool musical coincidences?  I listen for them every time I listen to music.