Song name
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Janelle Monae - Cold War chords

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   / Janelle MonŠe    /  I still can't figure out why she begins to cry @1:40
  / Cold War         /  in the video! Maybe because this is an amazing song :D
 / The ArchAndroid  /

All the way through the song is alternating between part A and part B:

 A                                       B
||: Fm   |  Ab   | Eb/Bb | Bbm/F :||    ||: Bbm  |  Db   | Ab/Eb |  Ebm  :||

  capo on 1st fret
  ( Em       G      D/A    Am/E )         ( Am       C      G/D     Dm  )
e ---0--- ---3--- ---2--- ---0---         ---0--- ---0--- ---3--- ---1---
B ---0--- ---0--- ---3--- ---1---         ---1--- ---1--- ---0--- ---3---
G ---0--- ---0--- ---2--- ---2---         ---2--- ---0--- ---0--- ---2---
D ---2--- ---0--- ---0--- ---2---         ---2--- ---2--- ---0--- ---0---
A ---2--- ---2--- ---0--- ---3---         ---0--- ---3--- ---5--- -------
E ---0--- ---3--- ------- ---0---         ------- ------- ------- -------

 Song structure:
 A   Intro
 B   Verse
 A   Chorus
 B   Verse
 A   Chorus (breakdown)
 B   - 
 A   Bridge
 B   Verse
 A   Chorus
 B   -
 A   Guitar solo
 B   -
 A   Chorus (breakdown)
 B   -      (build-up)
 A   -
 B   Outro, end on Fm

 The theoretical corner:
The chords of this song are actually rather tricky, and it really put my ears
to work to see through what it was. Let me try to explain it!

The tricky thing is that the song constantly modulates between
the keys of F minor and Bb minor, which are two neighboring keys:
- The chords of part A are in the key of F minor.
- The chords of part B are in the key of Bb minor.
One note tells the two keys apart: G [F minor] or flattened to Gb [Bb minor].

Thereby the two keys share the four chords that don't involve either G or Gb,
which are: Fm, Ab, Bbm and Db.
Playing around with only these chords doesn't decide between the two keys.
And that's exactly what's happening in the changes between part A and B:
You don't notice the modulation until, well, until it's too late.

- When going into part B, the new key isn't revealed until the Ebm.
- When going into part A, the new key isn't revealed until the Eb/Bb.
(Obviously, Janelle can also sing both the notes G and Gb, and going into
 the verses [B] she DOES reveal the key a little before the chord does.)

To confuse things further, notice that the steps are the same in both keys:
I III VII IV - however, this is not relevant in terms of modulation.

Hope you can use this! :)

Jon Sebastian Frederiksen - 3rd /August /11
Just mail me at with questions, comments and corrections!
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