Just a Few Musical Ruminations…


Lonely Boy

About music mondays

So as much as I love this song, it’s probably not one I would think to cover. It was actually only because my friend who’s a guitarist suggested us playing it together that I wound up learning it. It sounds a lot more recognizable with the guitar (understandably) and we played it up tempo and it sounded pretty legit. Once I played it by myself though, it’s hard to keep the energy up on just piano, so I went with something a little more… somber. (Big surprise right?) I think it works. It’s certainly fun to sing in any case, especially going up the octave for the end. Thoughts?


About music mondays, storytime

I have to say, I have really gotten far behind now that I have this full-time job.

Initially, I thought music mondays would be half videos, half recorded music. Obviously the recorded stuff takes a bit longer, what with editing and production and a general attention to detail that live videos don’t require. But lookee here, I’m about 2 months in and still have yet to put up something fully produced (aside from the film score I suppose).

Not that I haven’t been busy. Oh no no, not that at all. Of course, the commute robs me of a lot of my music time. But there was the film score, which was fun! But time consuming. There’s also the up and coming a cappella group, Sweet Caroline, that a couple of the girls from Cape Harmony and a couple of other friends are starting up. We meet every Wednesday plus I have to do arrangements once ever 2 weeks or so. And although I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to, I spent most of my time on the train mulling over lyric ideas and planning things out. I do have to say though, it is music mondays that keep me practicing. The fact that I haven’t missed one yet really lights a fire under my ass to get something done every week. So even though I’m resorting to posting a song that’s a year old–that I wouldn’t say is necessarily one of my best, although I do have a soft spot for it–I am a little proud of myself for following through. It’s like I’m growing up or something.

Storytime: I got business cards. And I’ve just been keeping them in my pocket, and I was thinking about how it would be nice to have something to carry them around in, so they’re not all over the place. And then it hit me–that was Columbia’s graduation present to our class. Seriously. An engraved business card holder. And at the time, I thought it was absolutely the most pretentious and ridiculous object I’d ever owned. I still do in fact. And that’s why I’m still carrying my business cards around in the pocket of my 3 year old jacket, and probably will forever).

too much music to even make a music monday

About songwriting

so i spent the weekend working on a film score for my friend and serious collaborator, clea. her work is always really inspiring to me and it was very exciting to write more music for her. but between that and a serious a cappella arrangement cram session happening right now (more on that later), i didn’t not have a chance to sit in my attic and record myself singing to myself. so sad.

in lieu of sad pop song music monday, here is the final piece of the score i finished yesterday. obviously it is not complete out of context like this… but consider it a teaser! i will post the movie, called Skinned, whenever I get my tired little hands on it.

skinned section 5

High Tide

About music mondays, storytime

So here’s a story about this song:

I worked at this restaurant the summer of 2010 on Cape Cod that sold a lot of lobsters. We had a lobster tank right when you walked in the door that drew lots of tourists in. We sold 1.5 and 3 pound lobster dinners, but one day when I walked into work there was a NINETEEN pounder. So huge that they had to duct tape his claws shut since they didn’t have rubber bands that big. We called him Duct Tape Charlie. Do you know how old a 19 pound lobster is? About 90. Homeboy saw submarine warfare for chrissake.

Anyway, the owner decided we weren’t going to sell him, that we’d set him back free in the ocean, but we’d keep him for the tourists for a couple weeks. Well, it was too late for Charlie. He died in the tank, of course.

I found this out while I was visiting my brother on Nantucket. I got a phone call from a co-worker after a couple drinks, and I just totally lost it. I do frequently get beer tears, but this was a bad one. My very accommodating brother tried to talk me down, saying that this anxiety was coming from the fact that I had just graduated from college, and I was about to move home after the best summer of my life and I had no real life trajectory–all of which was true. Of course I retaliated with, “Don’t say it’s not about the lobster. It IS about the lobster!!!!”

Anyway. Part hilarious, part horrible. Sounds pretty regular. Just figured I’d share. Charlie makes an appearance in this song, since he had a surprisingly large effect on my life for a lobster.

Lost In Time (Get a Boyfriend)

About music mondays, songwriting

So I wrote this song 3 days ago… It’s a bit of a departure from my usual technique, both in content and structure. I actually wrote the intro part a few months ago, just bored and playing random things, and the lyrics are pretty nonsensical.

But the meat of the song is the “Get a boyfriend, get a job, find a place to live; my reputation’s as solid as a sieve.” The concept of using “sieve” as an insult is actually something I learned from my dad back when I use to play indoor soccer–he jokingly would threaten to yell that at the opposing team’s goalies. What can I say? It stuck.

It may not need to be said, but my songs primarily deal with my, ahem, romantic life. It’s certainly the easiest thing to write about, not because I’m particularly active in the dating world, but because I generally feel like my songs are all the things I wish I could say, but not don’t feel like I CAN. Even more than that, I don’t usually delve into political stuff #1 because I’m not informed enough and #2 I don’t want to sound like an asshole. But the things I’ve been concerned with in my own life lately have dovetailed pretty nicely with the issues the Occupy movement is pre-occupied with as well (har har). Not that this song is political, per se, but I think it shares a certain idea–that the greatest measure of success is how much money one’s made–that has been a point of public contention lately. And as far as I can tell, Occupy hasn’t really seen any music yet, has it? Aside from, hilariously, Miley Cyrus? Guess I’ll have to dig around on the interwebs a bit more…

Ironically, my new office job starts tomorrow.

Ring Them Bells

About Cape Harmony, music mondays

From the archives: Here is Cape Harmony 2011 performing Bob Dylan’s “Ring Them Bells”… This is the last song we learned this summer, and one of my parent’s favorite songs, so it was awesome to arrange it. I’m definitely happy with how it came out, especially as a live recording. Enjoy!
Ring Them Bells

mercy kill

About music mondays, songwriting

So this is my newest song… I wrote it after I played the Brew Pub last week. I hadn’t played in a while, and it was definitely nice to get back out there. It was a quickie, just a 7 song set, but I played some of my new originals, like Guts, and then some of the old ones that the band used to play, like Weakest Force with some of the guys. Plus some Regina Spektor and St. Vincent. Gotta love those female singer-songwriters. And then I had a beer, of course.

I got home and was all warmed up, plus I’d been kicking around the lyrical idea of having to “put down” a relationship for a couple days, hence impromptu late night writing session. It was sort of a weird one, in that I had already thought of most of the lyrical material, not really knowing what the hook would be, and then the “don’t you know what being let go feels like?” just came out of my mouth. Sometimes I just don’t know where this stuff comes from.

I’m thinking the next song I tape should be a cover, since you guys loved that Toxic shit. Any ideas? I’d like to do another random one, maybe rap? Ha.

fix you

About music mondays, songwriting

So, this was one of the main songs that we used to play in the Cougarbait. It’s funny to play and listen to it now, without the band… I think it works solo, but I’m definitely missing the full sound to back me up. And I definitely don’t scream it like I used to!

I think what makes this song work, or at least what makes it catchy, is how stupid/desperate the rhyming pattern is. In general, I don’t make perfect rhymes a priority in my writing–I prefer to give the ends of lines a certain ring to them, but meaning definitely takes precedence. “Fix you” absolutely breaks away from that guideline and plays into what I normally try to avoid, writing the lyrics around the corny rhymes. I came up with the hook first when writing this (“I don’t want to fix you, I’m not one to remove your balls”–I’d been throwing around that idea since my dog got, you know, fixed) and then the rest of the song is just a pretty silly sing-songy follow up to it. But I think that’s what makes it memorable. Breaking your own rules can definitely be a good writing exercise, as long as it’s deliberate.


About music mondays

(as in, I hate yours) or (I wish I had some)

So this week’s music monday is an original… I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. I spend a lot of time by myself in my car, and I actually wrote all the lyrics to this when I was on a pretty long road trip (to South Carolina and back). It’s one of those rare songs that I just randomly got all the lyrics down, and when I sat at the piano it sort of materialized on its own. Sigh, the muses.

It also is pretty significantly missing a guitar solo, which is why you (unfortunately) get to see my very limited piano playing skills.

I like this song more than I expected, and I hope you do too.


About music mondays

All right, I guess it counts as Monday. Here’s a cover of everyone’s favorite fallen pop princess. Viva Britney!

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