Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller

More words about songs

Doctroid requested:
Hey, say a word or two about the songs with your name on them, OK? At least, I don't recall having seen mention of some of them before.
So, OK, you asked for it!

Two of the songs are Interrobang Cartel songs that Chris and I have decided to cover, if that's the right word: Editors at War and "Pumpkin, Mrs. Farnsworth". I suggested playing these to Chris because they have slightly unusual chords and I thought he would have fun soloing over them. By and large this has been the case. For more information on how they came to be written, etc. see the links above. For the rest:

Lady Luck

The first song I wrote explicitly for The Killdevils was 'Lady Luck'. I was originally thinking it would be a bluesy song, similar to my take on Pigskin Loofah, and the chord structure is pretty similar to that, but in the event it turned out to be pretty countryish; it had that tendency to begin with, and then Chris pushed it in that direction even more by adding a vaguely Hawaiian slide guitar part and a goofy backing vocal part.

At the time I wrote it (and to a large extent this is still true now) I tended to try to include a little surprise or twist into my lyrics. Here, the basic idea was someone who had some pretty crappy experiences but who was still maintaining a sunny outlook on life. The original bridge was a little too dark (I don't remember details); I was stuck on how to rewrite it, but I finally thought of those old Motown songs where the narrator consoles him or herself with some common proverbs and I was done. The lyrics are:
Well, I used to love Ramona, I thought about her all the time
Yes, I used to love Ramona, I thought about her all the time
Then one day she told me what she thought about me
Guess I'll have better luck next time.

Then I asked Stacy to see me, I said I thought she was divine (x2)
Well, she laughed and she told me to go straight to hell
Guess I'll have better luck next time

Well my luck's been pretty bad so far, but not for long, that's not my fate
For it's always darkest before it's dawn, and good things come to those that wait
I just gotta keep my chin up, that's my most solemn vow
I might meet the right person any time and it just might be right now

I married sweet Fiona, swore I'd be hers and she'd be mine (x2)
But now it seems that she's somebody else's
Guess I'll have better luck next time, I know I will
I know I'll have better luck next time, you know I will
You bet I'll have better luck next time

Roommate Blues

OK. By this point I was less interested in strange plot twists than I was in writing songs about things that, as far as I knew, nobody had written songs about before. (I have an excellent blues CD called The Best Of Excello Records and one of the things that I like about it is the diversity of topics, with maybe my favorite unexpected recording being Jerry "Boogie" McCain's 'My Next Door Neighbor', which is about a next door neighbor that kept coming over and borrowing things.)

There is still a bit of a twist in that in the first verse it's not immediately clear what I'm talking about. This is intended to add an element of surprise, but maybe it's actually a mistake. You'll notice that I use the same technique in a later song.

When I joined the snbprov one of the things I noticed is that a lot of the other members had stories about horrible experiences they had sharing apartments or dorm rooms. This struck me as a good idea for a song, so I wrote some lyrics. One problem I ran into was that the really horrible stories probably couldn't be included without destroying the song's credibility, and in fact I ended up toning down the one verse that was based on my own experiences (I got home after Thanksgiving one year to discover a turkey carcass on the floor of the kitchen and ants all over the place, after which I swore never to go into the kitchen in that apartment again).

Since the song was originally written I've made a bunch of tweaks to it (I originally played it on guitar and now I play piano on it, at various times I've slowed it down or sped it up, the lyrics keep getting tweaked, etc.) and I'm still not wholly satisfied with it, so more changes are doubtless still to come. The lyrics are (currently):
Well, you know I'm so disgusted and I don't know what to do
Yes, I'm horribly disgusted and I don't know what to do
Because my roommate drives me crazy, that's why I've got those bad roommate blues

I hear loud noises from your bedroom in the morning and late at night (x2)
Now I don't know what you got in there but I know it can't be right

Now I was reading in the evening, then I couldn't see a word
Guess you forgot to mail our payment to the goddamn electric board
And you're always borrowing my money just to get you through payday
But when it's time for paying back, well, you've forgotten, that's what you say

I came home one Sunday evening, and you know just what I found?
Some table scraps all on the floor and little ants, little ants all crawling 'round
And I'm always doing your dishes, and you know that's getting old
And when I went away for a week, man, I got back and the sink's all filled with mold

Now you drink up all my beer, and you eat up all my food
And you barge in on me without knocking, and you know, you know that's crazy rude
There's gotta be a change 'round here, can't stay the same, that's plain to see
I'm going to look for a new apartment, you'd better start looking for another me

Hybrid Car

OK, well, this one ... I think I came up with the basic idea for this one driving down from visiting my sister's family in New Hampshire. I was thinking about how SUVs have sort of taken over from sports cars as being symbols of masculinity, and I was thinking about hybrid cars, and all those blues songs where driving == sex, and, well, anyway, this was the result.

After I wrote the lyrics I sent them to Chris to see if he wanted to come up with music to go with them, since at the time I was not very confident in my ability to come up with blues arrangements that sounded other than generic. However, he wasn't that interested (a similar thing happened with The Robot Song) and so nothing much happened for a while.

Then this 'original music only' show came up, and we were faced with the need for an uptempo piano blues number to take the place of the covers that we usually use to rev things up. I remembered these lyrics and we came up with an arrangment. I then rewrote some of the lyrics, because I noticed that they didn't really make sense, and the end result was what follows. Despite the way this song came into existence I'm quite happy with how it came out and the folks at the show yesterday seemed to really enjoy it. Lyrics:
I know you love me, baby, because you know I’m what you need (x2)
And you know I’m built for comfort, yeah, I’m not just built for speed

Yeah I’m your hybrid car: you know you want me, don’t deny (x2)
‘Cause you know I handle great, now. Why don’t you take me for a ride?

I’m not like those SUVs, babe, yeah, you’ll be glad you made the switch (x2)
You know those things’ll roll right over, they’ll leave you lonely in a ditch

But I’m your hybrid car: you can’t resist me, don’t even try
‘Cause I can hug close to your curves. Why don’t you take me for a ride?

With other cars you can’t hear yourself think; they’re loud and they’re noisy too (x2)
But you listen to me purr, girl, and you know I’m the one for you

‘Cause I’m your hybrid car: you can count on me, and that's no lie
‘Cause I’m your hybrid car: you can count on me, and I'll tell you why
‘Case I never run out of gas. Why don’t you take me for a ride?

And that's it! You read it, you can't unread it!
Tags: lyrics, music, writing

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