Monday Aftermath #4: The Things

Monday, October 16, 2006

Here’s another Navel-Centric Examination, in which I take apart the Fiascos I create and show you how they got to be such fiascos.

This week, on Friday Fiasco #4:

  • How I painted myself into so many corners that, in order for me to be simultaneously in all these corners, there would have to be enough dimensions to support string theory
  • How many licks it takes to get to the center of the F# two octaves below middle C
  • The worst thing about The Phantom of the Opera, other than the other hundred worst things about The Phantom of the Opera
  • What this would’ve parodied if it hadn’t been The Presidents (with audio!)
  • What exactly Mark Foley was doing in the last lines of this song, and how many innuendoes I could’ve put into this bullet point instead of writing “What exactly Mark Foley was doing in the last lines of this song”
  • How the ending line about Mark Foley, although seemingly straightforwardly obscure, actually has enough dimensions to support string theory

All this is below the cut.

Welcome to below the cut.
Oh, how I enjoyed writing the lyrics, and how shabby the result sounds.

This was a textbook case of “I didn’t think this through.”

  • First, I determined a couple of weeks ago that I’d post Friday Fiascos on Fridays, and went as far as to adopt that name for this creative exercise. Probably somewhere subconsciously I was influenced by Friday being Thing a Week (and Pizza) day, but most of all, my idea was that if I was posting every weekday, I’d with luck get ideas that I could finish by the end of a week. However, I forgot that I have very little time during the week to record music. My bad.
  • JoCo’s original lyric is, wisely, in an abcb rhyme scheme. At some point early in the conception of this piece, I decided to try it in abab. This worked all right for a while, but it ended up hampering my Creative Spirit (i. e. it was hard).

Note that the original lyric, with people as its subject, can take the form “President X did Y.” I had to pathetically fallacify a lot of the songs:

Sometimes, I use the song title when I mean the song itself: “My Monkey’s chorus is quadruple-voice.”

Sometimes, I use the song title when I mean the character / narrator of the song: “Soft Rocked By Me wants to talk about emotions.”

Other times, I refer to the narrator as a character in the song: “The loser in Big Bad World One already knows the score.” (I’m spending a lot of time on things I disliked, but I liked this line, as well as the one cited in the preceding example.)

  • I arbitrarily decided to record in G, which is a key not well tuned to my voice. (That’s right, blame the key.) Actually, my voice isn’t well tuned at all, much less well tuned to any key. My tessitura is about five notes. Unfortunately, they’re not contiguous notes, or even consistently the same one between days. I discovered that I can just about hit the F# in the second octave below middle C, but only after I consume an entire Halls cough drop. Results:


  • Quarter note = 120 turned out to be a little slow. A little slow in that the joke dragged on too long, as in about 6 minutes long. But since I started recording at that tempo and in that key, I’d passed the point of no return: it would’ve taken longer to rerecord in a new key than to slog it out.

Note: The term “point of no return” originated in aviation, meaning the point after which there would not be enough fuel to return. This concept could not have been around at the time in which Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera was set. This is BY FAR the biggest logical inconsistency in the plot of The Phantom of the Opera.

It struck me that the easiest thing to do would be to increase the speed artificially. The final version here is sped up by about 20% (if I understand my Audacity controls correctly). I still butcher all the same notes, but I butcher them for 20% shorter durations. Also, it finishes in a reasonable amount of time. My enunciation, which was really the only thing that mattered to me at that point, is still intact, I think. So after all the mistakes I made, increasing speed actually worked properly. What this means is that before the end of this project, you’ll be getting Friday Fiascos with David Seville.

  • In short, I would’ve saved myself a lot of time and hassle if I’d gone with my other idea, an excerpt from which follows:


Odeo link

  • I also discovered (as mentioned previously) that I can’t play the piano anymore. I’m going to go and break my hand just so I can have this dialogue with a doctor:

Bry: (beseeching) Doctor, doctor, will I be able to play the piano again?

Doctor: (suspicious) I don’t know. Could you before?

Bry: Let me put it this way. I took eight years of piano and a couple of semesters of music theory.

Doctor: Oh, sorry. I thought you were joking. Yeah, you should be able to play the piano.

Bry: Oh, thank God! I’d forgotten how.

  • I think you could figure these out, but the “solos” are: Brand New Sucker, Flickr, Chiron Beta Prime, Just as Long as Me, SkyMall, Big Bad World One. If it hadn’t taken so long and been so long already, I’d have included the handclaps from We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions at the end.
  • I think, in retrospect, the last joke (the Mark Foley line) is too obscure, but I thought it was really funny right up until I heard my voice on the computer singing it to me. If you don’t get the joke, listen to the ending of the original.

Capisce? Great. Read on:

  • Ironically, my last line alludes to the line “I don’t like to make political statements” by making what appears to be a political statement. However, since I also don’t like to make political statements, the last line is a statement about political affairs that is not in fact a political statement per se. (Congressman Foley’s actions, however reprehensible, were neither politically motivated nor defended by any politicians or party.) Wrap your mind around that, whydontcha. (And then tell me what you’ve figured out, because I’m too obtuse to understand it.)
  • I wish I could say that the background noises audible in the first two solos was a Shop Vac reference, but it’s actually just that the piano is in a room next to the TV room.
  • When I first imagined this, it was going to be a lot more meta than it is now — more references to things that were going on in the Coulton community (videos, VTAWs, things of that nature). However, writing took so long that to simplify matters, most of them ended up being song synopses.
  • I use the rhyme “ended / splendid” altogether too much.



3 Responses to “Monday Aftermath #4: The Things”

  1. Good Lord, but I do ramble.

  2. […] As is my custom, I’ll dissect (or vivisect) this on Monday, so check back then to see all the awful things I have to say about this. (UPDATE: Here’s the link.) For the meantime, suffice it to say, yes, it’s artificially sped up. […]

  3. Janet (Jinx) Says:

    Hey, Bry — I thought the rhyming decisions were excellent, and it was an interesting way to summarize an amazing year. Well done!

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