Sensitive Female Chord Progression

November 11, 2009


Last December, Marc Hirsh wrote a terrific article for the Boston Globe called “Striking a chord” about how a chord progression [think: Joan Osborne’s “What if God were one of us? Just a slob like one of us?” and you’ll hear the progression] that has shown up in a lot of songs recently. Marc’s blog dedicated to the so-called “Sensitive Female Chord Progression” lists them all. I’ll post a few here. I love it that the ur-SFCP song is the Door’s “Crystal Ship.” [I can’t help but think that Elgar may have done it first.]

1967
The Doors: “Crystal Ship”
Scott McKenzie: “San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)”

1976
Boston – “Peace of Mind”

1977
Iggy Pop – “The Passenger”

1982
Toto – “Africa”

1985
Heart – “What About Love”

1987
Heart – “Alone”
Loverboy – “Love Will Rise Again”
The Smiths – “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet, Baby”

1988
Midnight Oil – “Beds Are Burning”
Roxette – “Listen To Your Heart”

1989
Alice Cooper – “Poison”
Ani DiFranco – “Fire Door”
Starship – “It’s Not Enough”

1990
Jeff Lynne – “What Would It Take”
Yanni – “Almost A Whisper”

1992
Bad Religion – “Generator”
Gin Blossoms – “Until I Fall Away”

1993
The Smashing Pumpkins – “Disarm”
Therapy? – “Screamager”

1994
The Cranberries – “Zombie”
The Offspring – “Gotta Get Away”
The Offspring – “Self Esteem”

1995
Ani DiFranco – “Shy”
Guster – “Window”
Jewel – “Foolish Games”
Joan Osborne – “One Of Us”

1996
Social Distortion – “Don’t Drag Me Down”
The Waifs – “Brain Damage”

1997
Sarah McLachlan – “Building A Mystery”

1998
Eagle Eye Cherry – “Save Tonight”
Jewel – “Hands”
Madonna – “The Power of Good-Bye”
Neutral Milk Hotel – “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”

1999
Melissa Etheridge – “Angels Would Fall”
The Offspring – “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Otherside”
Britney Spears – “Born To Make You Happy”

The whole list is here.

Here’s one more from the Red Hot Chili Peppers “Snow (Hey O)”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Roger Bourland November 12, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I just realized that a fragment of Imogen Heap’s HIDE AND SEEK also has the SFCP. The SFCP progression is: vi IV I V which repeats. The tonic is somehow assumed before the vi but not actually articulated. The chord progression for her song is:
I V vi IV which, when repeated over and over, gives you the vi IV I V.

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