Analyzing Doublewhiskeycokenoice by Dillinger Four
Dillinger Four's song Doublewhiskeycokenoice is one of their most popular songs. It emulates many of the standards of punk rock music, such as using the same traditional instruments, playing heavy, repetitive riffs, producing fast chords, and rocking loud music until your ears bleed. But what really makes Doublewhiskeycokenoice a hit is the incorporation of unique style elements in form, texture, rhythm, melody, and timbre. While the song is much like many other punk songs, it has its own individual characteristics that make it stand out over other songs of the genre.
Dillinger Four, a punk band out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, writes songs that definitively fall into their chosen punk subgenre: hardcore punk. One such song, Doublewhiskeycokenoice, has become a recent hit among fans, generating almost 130,000 plays on Dillinger Four’s Myspace page. But what exactly makes that song a hit? Every element of the song has special characteristics that define it as popular in the punk community. Through analysis of the song’s form, texture, rhythm, melody, and timbre, one can discover how Doublewhiskeycokenoice has become such a hit.
In terms of form, Dillinger Four’s Doublewhiskeycokenoice has quite a few unique elements that set it apart from other common songs in the punk genre. It begins with a sample of what sounds like a schoolchild choir song. Immediately following this comes the intro, which in turn transitions well into the main melody of the verse. The melody in the verse consists of three repeated patterns and two bars of a single-strummed A power chord, making a total of eight bars in the verse. Next the chorus comes in, taking up sixteen bars. The melody phrase in the chorus is only eight bars long, but it is repeated to make sixteen. Dillinger Four again plays the verse and chorus, and this stanza-refrain repetition is common in most popular music. After the repeated verse and chorus, an interlude is played, eight bars long, with the same chord progression as one phrase of the chorus. The interlude differs from the chorus in rhythm, dynamics, and style and the addition of another sample, this being from Otis Redding’s Stay In School radio spot. Then the chorus is played once more for sixteen bars and the song concludes with a twelve bar outro ending on a held D power chord. Doublewhiskeycokenoice seems to mirror a common structure among punk songs, which, although lacking some originality and creativity, has become almost a standard for all popular music. One interesting thing about the structure, though, is that no lyrics are repeated for the chorus. But the song still follows a standard structure music-wise. Dillinger Four simply took a popular musical idea and incorporated it into their song to make it popular as well.
As in many punk songs, the musical texture of Doublewhiskeycokenoice only goes so deep. Dillinger Four has two guitarists, but both play the exact same melody throughout the song. Their unison monophony just creates a thicker and louder sound, emphasizing the melody more and driving it home. Once the vocals come in during the verse, the melody switches to a call and response antiphony between the vocals and the guitars. While the vocalist yells the lyrics, the guitars rhythmically strum their muted strings. Between the vocals, the guitars play a set of three chords. Each call and response line in the verse lasts only two measures. The song contains no harmony or countermelodies, proving that it is a definitive hardcore punk piece.
Punk rhythms tend to have similar characteristics, and Doublewhiskeycokenoice is no exception. The rhythm consists of mainly constantly strummed power chords in a specified chord progression and fast chord changes. The chorus contains the very common power chord strumming, in which each measure contains a quarter note chord followed by six eighth note chords. At about 185 beats per minute, the three main chords in the verse are played as quarter notes, so they change very quickly. In fact, at that speed, the three chords are all played in less than one second. The tempo also causes the eighth note strumming in the chorus to be at a heightened pace. Going back to the intro the listener hears a unique rhythm. The guitars play eighth note chords but change them in an uncommon way. The first and second chords are played three times; the third, fourth, and fifth are played twice; and the last is played once. A similar chord rhythm can be heard in Green Day’s American Idiot. As a matter of fact, the American Idiot riff is rumored to be influenced by the intro of Doublewhiskeycokenoice. Like most punk songs, Doublewhiskeycokenoice uses a lot of repetition. The verse contains a melodic rhythm that is repeated three times in each phrase, and the chorus’ rhythm is repeated in all eight bars of each phrase. The rhythm of Doublewhiskeycokenoice makes it an essential punk rock song, thus causing it to be a hit.
There is quite a distinct melody in each section of Dillinger Four’s Doublewhiskeycokenoice. It is pre-composed, given that both guitars play it, and it never changes in alternate verses or choruses. The shape of the music is quite unvaried as well. The chord range is very small, with a maximum distance of seven notes. The verse melody is very driving, with huge emphasis on the three power chords. The chorus is also driving but very busy with consistent strumming. Overall, the melody centers on an A chord, which begins most phrases. A D chord occurs mostly at the end of each phrase, acting as a resolve for the song. When the vocals come in, the melody continues to drive on, almost overpowering the vocals. The lyrics seem to add extra substance and take up space in the song, but at the same time they move around melodically much more often than the guitar melody. Dynamically, the song is fairly monotonous, maintaining a loud, powerful sound throughout.
Digging deeper into the source of the sounds reveals that Doublewhiskeycokenoice is obviously and purely a punk rock hit. Dillinger Four consists of two vocalists, two guitars, one bassist, and one drummer. In Doublewhiskeycokenoice, both vocalists sing with a grinding, yelling voice while still maintaining some tonal quality. The guitars and bass all use a pick to strike and strum the strings of their instruments, producing a low amplitude sound that resonates into the pickups and then into an amplifier. Out of the guitar amps comes a heavily distorted, loud sound that is common to many punk songs. The bass amp produces a highly amplified, room-shaking boom of a sound so as to create a powerful feel within the foundation of the music. The drummer, like any rock drummer, uses sticks to pound violently on his set, producing a heavy, steady beat to keep the music going. The overall sound of the song Doublewhiskeycokenoice is a power-driven, highly distorted, and chord-heavy series of melodic phrases. The tone is thick and harsh but has some amount of brightness in the chords. As far as punk rock songs go, the process of making sound for Doublewhiskeycokenoice is no different than almost any other punk song.
While it has several characteristics that make it a unique song, Doublewhiskeycokenoice is essentially very similar to most punk rock music. With its driving rhythms, fast power chords, and repetitive phrases, it embodies the standard that nearly every hardcore punk song shares. However, this does not mean that Doublewhiskeycokenoice lacks originality or creativity. The specific rhythms, chord progressions, style of play, and variance of vocals and guitars gives the piece a unique flair. The common elements used adhere the song to the genre of punk and provide listeners with the familiarity they enjoy to listen to while the unique elements bring something new to the table. The fusion of original and borrowed musical properties makes Doublewhiskeycokenoice such a popular song among punk rock fans.