Souljacker Part 1 by Eels – blues without the V chord

Artist: Eels
Song: Souljacker Part 1
Album: Souljacker

At the heart of this simple, instantly memorable song is an infectious rockabilly-esque riff that drives both the verse and chorus. That’s it, really. There’s not much else.

The structure of the song, like the riff, is uncomplicated, but full of surprises. The riff starts off muted in the E position, then repeats in the E position unmuted. One expects it to progress to the A position. That would be the natural move. But twist number one, the whole sequence is repeated. The move to A is delayed. Only after the whole sequence in E is repeated do we finally get to the A position, with no change to the pattern of the riff. Then we’re taken back to the E position. OK, so now our brains are tuned in, the next chord or position should be B. Why? Because the song appears to be following a standard blues progression based on the I-IV-V chords in the key of E. We’ve had positions I and IV, E and A. Next should be position V: B. But no. We’ve been hoodwinked. At no stage does the song progress to B. It just goes back to E. No V chord or riff in the V position.

Apart from a manic lead break, that’s it.

The structure is:
Intro
Palm-muted riff in E position
Verse
Palm-muted riff in E position with vocals
Loud riff in E position
Verse
Palm-muted riff in E position with vocals
Loud riff in E position
Chorus
Loud riff in A position with vocals
Loud riff in E position
Pre verse
Palm-muted riff in E position
Verse
Palm-muted riff in E position with vocals
Loud riff in E position
Chorus
Loud riff in A position with vocals
Loud riff in E position
Lead Break
Manic combination of chords and lead
Pre verse
Palm-muted riff in E position
Verse
Palm-muted riff in E position with vocals

Never be afraid of simplicity.

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