Chording "The Next Right Thing"

December 19th, 2023
music, solstice
One of the songs we're planning for this year's Boston Secular Solstice (more) is The Next Right Thing from Frozen II. It's sad and dark, but also hopeful and determined, and fits well with the program and theme.

I'm going to be accompanying it, and don't like the chords I can find online. Last night I spent some time listening to the recording and trying to convert it to something that lands well on guitar and works for group singing, and ended up with something I'm reasonably happy with.

The original goes up a half step partway through (around "I won't look too far ahead"), which is a nice effect but makes for awkward chords so I've kept it in the same key throughout. I've also pulled it down three semitones (Cm to Am) to be a better fit for typical voices.

The original melody for the verse section is hard to follow since Anna is talking a lot of the words, so these are the chords for a melody I've imagined that is reasonably consistent with the notes she does sing and is not bad to pick up on the fly [1]. What I've written as "G-" is a G chord with only the two low fingers.

          Am                        Bm
I've seen dark before, but not like this
        G-                             Am
This is cold, this is empty, this is numb

                     Am                 Bm
The life I knew is over, the lights are out
      G-                          Am
Hello darkness, I'm ready to succumb

              Am             Bm
I follow you around I always have
           G-                       Am
But you've gone to a place I cannot find

                      Am              Bm
This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down
      G-                         D     E
But a tiny voice whispers in my mind

         Am            D             G       C
"You are lost, hope is gone, but you must go on
    C                 G          Am
And do the next right thing"

Am                   Bm
Can there be a day beyond this night?
        G-                   Am
I don't know anymore what is true

                  Am                Bm
I can't find my direction, I'm all alone
    G-                            D    E
The only star that guided me was you

      Am             D                    G              C
How to rise from the floor, when it's not you I'm rising for?
     C                 G
Just do the next right thing.

       Am          C           C           Fm
Take a step, step again It is all I can to do:
    G          C           Am
The next right thing

[normal bridge, with poorly fitting chords ]

Dm                   C#m                            Bm
I won't look too far ahead, it's too much for me to take
                                                  Cm
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
          C                        E
This next choice is one that I can make

[ alternate bridge, using verse melody ]

        Am                           Bm
I won't look too far ahead, it's too much to take
             G-                                D
But break it down to this next step, this next choice
                  E
is one that I can make

[ end bridge ]

        Am                D                 G                  C
So I'll walk through this night, stumbling blindly toward the light
                      G
And do the next right thing

             Am               C
And with the dawn, what comes then?
                     C                                  Fm
When it's clear that everything will never be the same again?
          Dm                  Em
Then I'll make the choice, to hear that voice
    F      G          C
And do the next right thing

I'm not totally sold on the chords between "I won't look too far ahead" and "one that I can make"; if you have better ideas for this (or any other part!) let me know?

Update 2023-12-22: I've decided that, at least for solstice-sing-along purposes just using the verse melody for the bridge, with a few words dropped so it scans, is what I like. Here's a demo: (mp3)


[1] I've been singing the verse melody like this:

a    b    c    e    a  c   c   a    b
I've seen dark before, but not like this
b    c  b     b    c  b  b   b    c  b  a
This is cold, this is empty, this is numb

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