‘The Minor Key’ song review: Global award-winning song features CPP alumni and faculty

Written by Cal Poly Pomona music professor Arthur Winer, “The Minor Key” is a folk alternative pop single released in September 2019. 

The words and music by Professor Winer were originally written in 2018 and recorded by the MacArthur band in 2019 through Canaveral Skies Music (ASCAP). 

This cleverly written piece has a country feel to it, as the music tells the story along with lyrics of the song. 

Lyrical and musical double-meanings mesh together within the music in an inventive and skillful way created to make a point about hidden truths.

The lyrics are inspired by Winer’s distaste for propaganda. He emphasizes his disagreement with the use of propaganda to hide truths in his writing of “The Minor Key.”

It features musical moments of major and minor keys where the placement and timing of the lyric and music coincide to mean something deeper. Winer describes the song where lyrics of “dubious truth have a major musical feel, while the hidden-truth ones have a more minor musical feel.” 

His ingenious music play continues throughout the song, including a chord within the song that is neither major nor minor, as a joke.

The orchestrated musical sound complements the waves of both major and minor keys without doing too much lyrically. 

For the most part, the lyrics stay somewhat hidden in meaning until vocalist Kylie Mayhew sings, “But the truth resides in the minor keys,” highlighting the main theme of the song but only mentioned once.

The new song “The Minor Key” features up-and-coming vocalist and CPP alumna Kylie Mayhew.
(Courtesy of Michael Arteaga)

Both music and words serve a double function to enhance the underlying message of the song.

Winer continued this theme of double meanings in making the title of the song “The Minor Key,” saying “even ‘key’ is a double entendre” because “it refers to both the music and to something used to open a lock.”

Mayhew, who sings the vocals on the track, offers the song a classic folk-style feel while still providing that lively, inviting element to pop-style music. 

The witty use of music and wordplay won the song a silver medal in Outstanding Achievement at the 2019 Global Music Awards.

The song, performed by the Los Angeles band MacArthur, featured vocals by alumnaMayhew. She is an up-and-coming vocalist and CPP alum. She has signed with music label Canaveral Skies Music. Her newest single, “Bruised,” is set to be available on all platforms Nov. 1.

Other CPP talent featured on the track includes drummer Jeremy Conrad, CPP alumnus and faculty, and music faculty, Ana Maldonado, who plays the cello.

Bass player David Gould forms part of the music along with Winer who performs in the song playing the guitar and mandolin.

The band MacArthur originally began playing rock in 1998 in New York at many famous clubs, but broke up later when Winer moved to Los Angeles. 

Since then, the now Los Angeles-based band has reformed with new members from our CPP family. MacArthur also released a 13-track album titled “The Fall Guy” back in 2014. 

“The Minor Key” became available on all digital platforms on Oct. 15 of this year.

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