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Quickfire Deconstruction: Ski Explains the Chords to Mitski’s ‘Nobody’

Our fantastically talented Head of Curriculum Ski Oakenfull returns with another deconstruction, this time in a more stripped-back format. The track in question is the new single, ‘Nobody’, by Japanese-American songwriter and performer Mitski. Ski saw her deconstruct her vocals for the website Genius and decided he would make an instrumental accompaniment and deconstruct the chords, and all for your benefit, dear reader! Check out Ski’s catalogue of deconstructions on our YouTube channel, and don’t forget to check out our production courses in London and Online for more in-depth tuition.

Mitski has been releasing albums since the age of 20, kicking off her career with two classically-influenced albums in ‘Lush’ and ‘Retired from Sad, New Career in Business’. Her third LP, ‘Bury Me at Makeout Creek’ marked a departure to a more lo-fi, guitar-driven sound, earning her a cult following in the process. It was her last record, 2016’s ‘Puberty 2’, however, that catapulted her to her current position as one of the most exciting songwriters in the business (she has been described as such by the likes of Iggy Pop). The album is totally disarming, marrying a sensuous sense of proximity with more intricately layered instrumentals, and her undeniable talent for writing lyrics, almost uncomfortable in their directness.

Two years on and we are at the beginning of another album cycle for Mitski. The subject of this deconstruction follows the first single from ‘Be the Cowboy’, ‘Geyser’, with the album slated for release on 17 August. Where ‘Geyser’ trod a familiar path of swelling, dynamic instrumentation and aching vocal delivery, ‘Nobody’ veers closer to pure pop, with a four to the flour beat and more than a hint of disco. She also returns to the piano for the first time since her second LP and, as Ski reveals, demonstrates an impressive mastery of chord progressions. It’s infectious and catchy yet, as is Mitski’s wont, hidden beneath its sunny disposition lie poignant and relatable snippets of this emotional life. Why wouldn’t you want to learn to play it?

These deconstructions are a tool we use frequently to teach elements of composition and arrangement, but to get the full picture we recommend you study with us. The most comprehensive study we offer is our flagship degree programme, the BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering (also available online). We’re also launching a brand new degree next semester, the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice. Both are quality-assured by Middlesex University and you can still apply for this year via clearing. Get in touch if you have any questions.

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