Plug & Play Set Task 4 – Yousemes

Select one song and highlight your understanding of the musemes function within track (200 words + link to track).

Paramore – Hate to See Your Heart Break

The presence of a string section throughout the song gives the sense that whatever the song is about is delicate. There is a subconscious association between strings and more orchestral instruments and pop songs about love or heartbreak, and in this sense, Paramore’s use of strings conforms directly to this association. In relation to this point, the strings also convey a deep level of care for the person Hayley Williams is singing about as if the string section is an extension of her investment in their wellbeing. A final note on the strings of ‘Hate to See Your Heart Break’ is that the bridge section presents a rising melody that makes it seem as if it’s possible to escape from whatever is holding you down.

Another feature I noticed about this song is that during the choruses there’s an instrument that sounds very much like a wind-up music box, just gently reinforcing the vocal line. The association we can draw from the use of this instrument is one of familial love or Storge. A music box is often a gift given to a little girl by their mother or grandmother, or left to a relative in a will and carries with it the reassurance that family is always there for you. The subtle use of this instrument builds further on the theme of care and love portrayed throughout the song.

Finally, possibly the most basic of techniques employed in this song is the use of a clean rather than overdriven or distorted guitar. Clean guitar tones have a way of soothing the listener and allows them to relax and take in the other aspects of the song. In a way, the guitar parts in this song are mostly structural, chords to reinforce harmony and small melodic motifs to give a sense of movement. The use of this instrument is sparse and uncomplicated, a stark contrast to the theme of ‘love’, and creates space for other instruments to reinforce the subject of the song.

All in all, hearing this song, even without a vocal part, and taking in the functions of each instrument it’s clear to infer what the song is about, a longing to help somebody that you love move past an emotional low point. Delicate and sparse, fragile and evocative, Paramore’s use of musemes within ‘Hate to See Your Heart Break’ is intelligent and highly effective.


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