Riptide Piano Chords – Step by Step Tutorial on how to play the riptide song on the piano. Easy piano lesson for beginners, tabs included.
Since its release back in 2012 as the first single of the Australian artist Vance Joy’s debut EP ‘God Loves You When You’re Dancing’, the song Riptide has become one of the most popular hits of the present decade. There is also a touch of irony in the fact that despite the expressly dark content of the song, it has been able to garner huge popularity among schoolchildren and early teenagers.
In fact, the song is almost routinely sung by children during school recitals and functions. However, it is not difficult to gauge the reason for this. The song contains a simple and catchy melody that is easy to pick up plus a steady, lilting rhythm that has the virtue of immediately arresting the listener’s attention.
Riptide Piano Chords
The song is also highly popular with entry-level guitarists, keyboardists, and piano learners. And this is due to the fact that all through the verses, the chorus and the bridge, the song uses the same melody and the melody is made up of no more than four basic chords—Am, G, C and F. Also, the chord progression (Am, G, C, C) is homogenous throughout the entirety of the song, with the exception of the Bridge part where the F chord makes its way.
And these chords and the chord progression remain the same no matter whether you are playing the song on a guitar, a keyboard or a piano. In fact, this simplicity of the song’s chord patterns explains the fact that during the period the song was in preparation, Vance used to play it on his ukulele rather than on a guitar or a piano!
Let’s have a quick look on the 1st verse and the pre-chorus so you may have a better idea of this:
Am G C C
I was scared of dentists and the dark
Am G C C
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Am G C C
Oh, all my friends are turning green
Am G C C
You’re the magician’s assistant in their dreams
Am G C C
Oh, oh, oooooo
Am G C (sustain)
Oh and they come unstuck
And all of the rest of the song follows this same steady chord progression, except only the bridge, which goes as follows:
Am Am G G
I just wanna, I just wanna know
C C F F
If you’re gonna, if you’re gonna stay
Am Am G G
I just gotta, I just gotta know
C C (F)
I can’t have it, I can’t have it any other way
I swear she’s destined for the screen
Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer
That you’ve ever seen, oh
So, you can see for yourself how easy it would be to play Riptide piano chords and since the melody stays unchanged throughout the course of the song, this will help your singing-along abilities, too.
You’ll find many piano tutorial and sheet chords of Riptide on the internet as well as a number of YouTube video tutorials that will help you learn how to play the song on the piano. Check them and you’ll be surprised to find what a cinch it is.
Riptide: the History of the Song
On the Billboard Hot 100 charts, Riptide peaked at 30 upon its release. Many critics have praised the clever and ambiguous lyrics of the song. According to Vance himself, the song grew up more as a bizarre ‘mish-mash of ideas’ rather than following any coherent and easy to follow storyline. The content of the first verse talks about a shy-ish boy lacking the flair and confidence to strike up conversations with a pretty girl.
According to the artist again, the first two lines came to him back in 2008 but he couldn’t go any further with the song at that time. Slowly, the ideas evolved and the song (both the lyrics and the melody) was finally finished in 2012, four long years after its gestation. Many biographical references (such as a magician’s assistant Vance had met at the time of writing the song) found their way into the song as if ‘on their own.’ Similarly, the reference to Michel Pfeiffer wasn’t due to any special crush or obsession with the famous actress. It again just ‘happened’ to the songwriter and thus Feiffer made her way into the song.
The lyric, in the words of the artist, was more of a ‘patchwork’ where different ideas and words were put together in a predominantly random fashion. In other words, there was no conscious effort on the artist’s part to relate any definite story or experience through the lyrics. It was just that once the song came together, it sounded ‘right’ and as such, Vance decided to go ahead with it. This unconscious approach is partly evident in the many pop cultural references that are found in the song. For example, one cannot but remember the iconic film ‘Midnight Cowboy’ upon hearing the lines that talks about the man/ ‘cowboy’s quitting his job to come to New York City…and so on.
The melody of the song grew out in much the same way. Vance had played the tune on his ukulele on a lazy and leisurely afternoon (when his roommate was out) and then it suddenly struck him that the melody would go well with the song. The dark and grisly content of the song, which becomes more apparent on watching the official video of Riptide, actually goes well with the melody since, in an ingenious manner, the simple and easy-sounding melody provides a stark contrast and acts as a sort of counterpoint to the dark and not-too-savory tale dished out through the lyrics.
As to the creator of the song, the 31-year old Vance Joy is an Australian indie folk-pop singer and songwriter. Joy, born James Keogh, grew up in Melbourne and was already performing extensively in a number of Melbourne open-mic scenes at chic clubs, pubs, etc. since his early twenties. At that time he was also pursuing his degree in law. However, once he found some success, chiefly with his Bon Iver-inspired songs, Joy started to give serious thought about a career as a musician. It was around this time that he picked up the name Vance Joy from a Peter Carey novel and settled on this name for his ‘musical persona’. In the meantime, the laws were put to bed as Joy started earning increasing praise and success via his musical endeavors. And then in the year of the Christ 2012 came the defining moment with the release of Riptide. In no time, the managers from the famous labels were queuing up Joy’s doorway and this eventually ended up in Joy signing a multi-album deal with Atlantic. From 2013, he started touring internationally and at the same time, busied himself with recording songs for his first album for Atlantic. To date, Joy has released two albums, both with Atlantic: the ‘Dream Your Life Away’ (2014) and the ‘Nation of Two’ (2018).
George A. Smith received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Berkeley. George has been teaching music professionally for the past 8 years. George regularly contributes content to several music websites including LoadRecords.com.