Turning 10 Words into Songs

This entry refers to the current Song Fu round. Check out the next update for details (and the song I actually submitted).

When the challenge was posted last week, my first idea was to do a flower song that goes something like “she loves me, she loves me not”; repetitive, but believable. Soon enough I had a nice little song that was heavily influenced by Per Gessle. I turned the lyrics into a lament of one of the characters in Wet Hot American Summer, a very enjoyable movie I had just discovered via Riki Lindhome (of Garfunkel and Oates fame). I played the song to a couple of friends and the feedback was, well, not good. The song is utterly harmless, and someone complained that Andy is a really bad name for the hot guy.

Discarded Song #1: The Flower Song (Coop’s Lament)

I spent most of Sunday working on the flower song, but already felt that it lacks something. Then I came across the dulcimer sound on my keyboard. Next thing I know, I was singing a shanty about Captain Tikapakabi (or something like that). It was hardly original, but had more drive and avoided the x loves y pattern some other challengers have (possibly) used. I stayed up late recording a drunk seamen choir, making up the song structure on the fly. I revisited the recording on Tuesday, re-arranging it, dropping the second refrain, and re-working the lyrics to actually be 10 unique words.

Discarded Song #2: Captain Tinglebaraby

I still felt that the 10-word restriction limited the songs’ potential. I made a fresh start on Tuesday night. I had always wanted to write a song about Alice and Bob. Their conversations shouldn’t suffer from a shortage of words. Still, I wished had two or three more words to use. And a better singing voice. Not to mention the lack of a female singer for the last verse. I recorded a demo, anyway.

Discarded Song #3: Alice (demo)

I had planned to focus on Captain Tinglebaraby on Wednesday, but alas, I ended up penning a punk rock song about Jimmi Simpson. I figured that 10 words might be used in a straightforward way. Instead of creating love triangles (or love-octagons), I pay tribute to a great actor. At least some of the visitors of QuickstopEntertainment.com are movie buffs who possibly appreciate this. In the end, the choice was somewhat arbitrary, because each song has its short-comings.

I was very happy that so many people voted for A Mallful of Brains in the first round (landing me an 8th place, yay!). This time around, I’m still not expecting too high a position. But we’ll see/hear. Others have apparently struggled with their songs, as well.

I really like Hank Green‘s entry for this round; neat melody, good vocals, and many, many words! Funnily, Molly went Metal, an option I considered, too. (“Steel! Pain! Death! Glory! Power! Heart! Dragon! Honour! Battle! Metal!”) Other ideas I didn’t/couldn’t turn into proper songs: the first 30-something digits of pi, the algorithm of evolution, “if you take … and … you might just get …; take care of … and … and…” with sounds and noise for the dotted gaps, e.g., bean eating noise and soda drinking noise = fart noise.

In other news, the death metal songs I recorded with my brother and a ‘singer’ a while ago were mixed last week. They rock! More on that after the second round of Song Fu.


  1. Angelastic:

    Wow, I’m astounded at how many songs you managed to record in the time given, to my untrained ear they all sound pretty polished.

    Everything I know about Jimmi Simpson and the shows he was in comes from the post below, so the song you submitted doesn’t mean much to me. It’s probably my least favourite, unfortunately. Hopefully other people will have different opinions.

    I particularly like the music in Captain Tinglebaraby, it’s very catchy.

    I wrote a sonnet about Alice and Bob once (http://angelabrett.wordpress.com/2008/06/29/four-of-hearts-alice-and-bob/) so I’m glad I’m not the only one who writes about them.

  2. Johannes Schult » Blog Archive » Jutze 52 #12 – Clouds Are Passing by:

    […] Manticess made for Song Fu last year) and that the middle part is basically the bridge from “The Flower Song“. The end result justifies the self-citations, I think. The main reason I omitted the vocals […]