Drunk, Running - Lizzy McAlpine | Free Sheet Music (Leadsheet / Chords)

Apr 6 ยท 3 min read

She's done it again! Lizzy McAlpine's new album "Older" is filled with songs that not only stir up all kinds of feelings, but she's also given us a whole new repertoire of songs to play. The chord progressions on this album are filled with surprises, and as usual with Lizzy - genius music expressions of the lyrics she's trying to get across.

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Verse Analysis - Drunk, Running

The song opens on an F9, hanging around for 2 long measures, and giving the listener a nice peaceful feeling. When Lizzy's voice comes in at the beginning of the verse, however, you realize that that F9 is actually the IV chord. Instead of being in the key of F major, you're actually in C. The verse is only 4 measures, and the chorus sneaks in without you even realizing it, but hit's hard with the name of the song - "even.. when you.. break your leg drunk, running." She finishes out the chorus with the lyrics "drink it backwards," which is a very non-cliche image, almost movie-like, and a very poetic way to say "turn back time" in the context of a drunk person. When she says those words, the chord progression changes ever-so-subtly from an entire measure of F9 followed by 2 beats each of A-7 and G, to 2 beats each of F and A-7 to a full measure of G. It's so subtle that I actually only noticed it while transcribing the song, but I think it gives the subconscious impression of playing the progression in reverse, to match the lyrics, without having to make it really weird sounding. Later in the production, there's actually some backwards vocal tracks around the time of the repeat of those lyrics, giving the feeling of rewinding a tape.

In comes the bridge

Then out of nowhere it seems, she hits this moment that has a real Beatles vibe. She hits a chord and melody line you really don't expect and sends you into what feels like a different world. In this moment, she's using a V- chord which is not diatonic to the key. This means that it's borrowed from another key, and uses it to pivot into that new key. The new key she goes to is F major, which is interesting because that's what you will probably assume the song is in on first listen because the F chord is the first chord (but again, it's surprisingly IV instead of I). This moment is so incredible, not only musically, but the way that the chords go with the lyrics is nothing short of magic. At least the way I'm hearing it, it sounds like the first verse and chorus are putting the blame on her drunk boyfriend. But in this moment of pivot into a new key, she's saying "what if it was all my fault, what if I drove you to it." She pairs the new perspective with a new key, and stays in both the new mindset and the new key through the bridge. She uses this time to look into herself, and consider the possibility of it being her fault instead of his. To get back into the original key, she uses this super trippy and ambiguous chord that has so many tensions, you can't really tell what it is. In this leadsheet I use G7(9,11) but really you can just play all the white notes on the piano and it will get the vibe across.

Same story, new perspective

When she goes back into the original key for the 2nd verse / chorus, she uses the same story structure but applies it to another perspective. This time it's about her instead of the boyfriend. Instead of saying "no one stops you, nobody takes it from your hand" (the booze), she says "no one stops me, nobody takes you from my hand" (the boy). She's using this tool to show the listener that she's just as flawed because she can't give him up.

I think one of the nicest things about this song that in both choruses (both perspectives), she's stating that the solution is that someone loves them enough to not let them hurt themselves. In the first chorus she thinks she should be that person for him, and in the 2nd - someone shouldn't let her do that.

What key is Drunk, Running in?

Drunk, Running is in the key of C major at the beginning, although it starts on an F major chord. In the bridge, the song modulates to the key of F major, but returns to C major after the bridge.

Drunk, Running closes with a very long instrumental section that actually follows the chord progression of the entire song. It finally ends on 6 measures of C, winding down to a single note.

If you like this check out our article: Bob Dylan Quiz

Danit Blackler
Atharo Music
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