The Song - It doesn't matter what genre of music, a hit is a hit and they all closely follow a form. "I Need A Doctor" is no exception. This form uses chorus as an intro, followed by a verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, and last verse with a final chorus. This is just about as close to a formula form as you can get.
The Arrangement - There are 4 elements always in the mix (see yesterday's post for an explanation of arrangement elements). In the verse, chorus (except the intro) and bridge, the foundation of the track is held down by the drums, and the rhythm is by the right hand of the piano. In the intro and verses, the pad can be attributed to the left hand of the piano playing whole notes. In the chorus, the bass acts more as the pad (which is opposite from most songs where the bass is part of the foundation of the song). The lead element is held down by Eminem and Dre in the verses and Skylar Gray in the chorus.
The arrangement development is also classic, with the intro fairly sparse with only piano and vocal and sound effects, and the verse sees the introduction of the drums and an additional synth on top of the piano. The chorus gets very big with the introduction of the bass and the 3 part harmony. The bridge adds an additional pad element with the introduction of a high synth pedal note, then it drops down to a sparse last chorus which Dre raps.
The Sound - For the last 10 years or so the sound of most records was very much dry and in your face, but "I Need A Doctor" returns to the bigger sound of 70's and 80's. The drums are John Bonham-like huge (almost too big for the record, especially the kick), and as a result, the other instruments have to be a lot smaller to fit into the mix. The vocals are drenched in delay and a long reverb, which is a welcome return to slicker sound from long ago.
The Performance - Eminem just smokes this song. You can feel his passion, his heat, his aggression jump right through the speakers at you. Skylar Grey is one of those vocalists that sings well with herself and the harmonies sound bigger than just stacked parts as a result.
Like most hits, "I Need A Doctor" is a twist on a well-used formula that never lets the listener down.
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