Covering my most played song in 2020 (Bad Ideas – Tessa Violet)

I sometimes wonder why songs get stuck in our heads. In the case of “Bad Ideas”, I think what’s really interesting is how the chord progression in the song (C-B/C-Am-G-F-Em-Dm-G), which highlights the descending diatonic bass line, is really the “Pachelbel’s Canon” chord progression in disguise. Specifically, if you look at the chords that are different from the Canon chord progression in “Bad Ideas”, they are substitutions, sharing at least two notes in common:

C: C, E, G (same chord in both progressions)

B/C: B, E, G vs. G: G, B, D (compared to the G chord in Canon, the extra “E” in the B/C chord, and missing “D” is equivalent to a G6 – G, B, D, E – without the fifth)

Am: A, C, E (same chord)

G: G, B, D vs. Em: E, G, B (the G chord is equivalent to an Em7 – E, G, B, D, – without the root note “E”)

F: F, A, C (same chord)

Em: E, G, B vs. C: C, E, G (the Em chord is equivalent to Cmaj7 – C, E, G, B – without the root note “C”)

Dm: D, F, A vs. F: F, A, C (the Dm chord is equivalent to F6 – F, A, C, D – without the fifth)

G: G, B, E (same chord)