Jacob Haller (jwgh) wrote,
Jacob Haller
jwgh

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Livejournal lyrics challenge concluded

The Challenge:

I asked people to let me know if I should look at the interests listed in their Livejournal profile, pick one or more of them, and write a set of lyrics based on the interest. I could pick whatever interests I wanted (they could request one but I was free to ignore the request if I wanted) and I made no guarantee as to the quality of what I came up with.

The Results:

are below. I am generally quite happy with them (although there are some weak spots), and I hope the people I wrote them for are too! It took me eleven days to write them all.

It's possible I might record some of them at some point, but I'm not sure when, and if someone else wants to take a whack at any of 'em feel free to do so (and do whatever lyrical tweaking you consider necessary).


Watching Esperanto Movies (and Baywatch in Lojban) [for urbeatle]

Notes: The 'interest' in this case was Esperanto movies. Esperanto and Lojban are both synthetic languages. (Esperanto was invented at the end of the 19th century and Lojban was invented in 1955.)

Also, the They Might Be Giants song 'Alienation's For The Rich' contains the lines 'And the TV's in Esperanto/You know that that's a bitch', and this song sort of grew out of that. I decided to make it a blues because that's what the lyrics he wrote for me were.

I've always wanted to see the future ever since I was a kid
I've always wanted to see the future ever since I was a kid
So I went and froze myself, you know that's what I did

I thought it'd be exciting, man, that's what I thought it'd be
I thought it'd be exciting, man, that's what I thought it'd be
But these suckers in the future, all they do is watch TV

  Watching Esperanto movies (yeah, yeah)
  Watching Baywatch in Lojban
  Watching Esperanto movies (yeah, yeah)
  Man, I wish I was in the past again.

[Trombone solo.]

Yeah, they can cure mad diseases, they can go out to Neptune
Yeah, they can cure mad diseases, they can go out to Neptune
But you find these future folks always in the TV room

  Watching Esperanto movies (yeah, yeah)
  Watching Baywatch in Lojban
  Watching Esperanto movies (yeah, yeah)
  I sure wish I was in the past again.

Man, this TV language is crazy, you know that that's a bitch
Man, this TV language is crazy, you know that that's a bitch
I wanna leave here any minute, I just can't wait to ditch

Think I'll take another chance, freeze myself just once again
Think I'll take another chance, freeze myself just once again
Maybe next time I wake up they'll be something good on channel ten

  And no more Esperanto movies (man, I sure hope not)
  No more Baywatch in Lojban
  Watching Esperanto movies (no, I don't care for that)
  Watching Baywatch in Lojban
  Watching Esperanto movies (oh, come on)
  Watching Baywatch in Lojban
    [repeat to fade]


Scorched Earth Party (for ronebofh)

Notes: The interest here was 'The Scorched Earth Party', a faux political party headed by Jeff Vogel which was created in December 1994. I wrote some Scorched Earth Party-related stuff myself back in the day, so writing a campaign song seemed like a natural.

When the folks you meet annoy you,
And the world seems too complex,
And that guy in the next car pushes you a bit too far,
It's the time for the party of violence and sex

And when the obstacles confront you,
And some stupid moron gets in! your! way!
And your worthless coworkers are as dumb! as! rocks!
Grab a big! lead! pipe! and make them all pay!

And join the Scorched! Earth! Party!
Join the one percent with the big lead pipes!
Yes, join the Scorched! Earth! Party!
Make your enemies pay for being asswipes!

[TROMBONE SOLO]

When we march our way down Main Street, U.S.A.
Our opponent's names will be turned! to! mud!
And when Chairman Vogel ascends to the throne
All the streets will run red with Fruitopia and blood!

So join the Scorched! Earth! Party!
We who promise to bludgeon Paulie Shore!
'Cause in the Scorched! Earth! Party!
We'll make the world safe for the next world war!


The Nomic Song (for doctroid)

Notes: Here the interest was 'Nomic', a game invented by Peter Suber in 1982. The rules are very loosly based on the United States Constitution, and gameplay (at least initially) involves getting the other players to amend the rules. One of the initial rules is that if someone succeeds in creating a rule that causes an internal contradiction to the game's rules, so that no further 'moves' are possible, then that person wins. Hopefully this is enough explanation for everyone to understand exactly why these lyrics aren't funny. (I commented at the time I wrote them: 'I think I probably got more pleasure out of writing this than anyone will out of reading it. Similarly, it would probably be more fun to record than to listen to.')

This song's a song in the key of C.
In the key of C it is.
Yes, this sing's key is the key of C.
Unless someone introduces change...es.

[random chord change]

And this song's rhyme scheme is ABAB.
That's how I made it rhyme.
Yes, ABAB's the way the rhymes must be,
Unless it's different next time.

And this song's time key is in 4/4
That's what it is, no less and no more
So listen to me, that's the way it be,
Unless something else's in store.

[song becomes a waltz, because I am too wimpy to try anything more complicated]

And this song is a vocal song
Though maybe it won't be for long
In fact, just you wait, I confidently state
That this statement will soon be wrong.

[Song halts in a dischordant mess. Pause, then faintly spoken:]

I win!


Programming Prose (for boutell)

Notes: I picked two interests here, 'programming' and 'prose'. A.I. stands for 'artificial intelligence'; writing a program that wrote stories would full under that branch of computer science.

I spent far too long trying to find a forced rhyme for Goethe.

I've never been much of a writer
I've never quite had the knack
So when I went to college to increase my knowledge
I gave computer science a whack

And now I've got my big diploma
With my insight I cut through the murk
When it comes to A.I. I'm really the right guy
To take an idea and make it all work ...

Now my program's become quite a writer
More quotable than Shakespeare or even Mark Twain
Makes you laugh more than Thurber, more dramatic than Goethe
And the twists in its plots would make Dame Christie faint

But now there are copyright questions
For the sales of its books has surpassed Stephen King's.
And the royalties come to much more than a crumb,
So who gets all the money's the thing.

So I wrote a programmable lawyer
Who considered the question of judgement in rem
And in due course we payed out the judgement it made
So now all of the money goes to I.B.M.


Life Expectancy (for restartsmyheart)

Notes: restartsmyheart's only livejournal interest is 'Life Expectancy', so I ended up writing this morbid little ditty.

I've known you since about first grade
And we've always been good friends
But I think I've gotta call it quits
I'm afraid this is the end

Yeah, I should pull myself together
I should try to make this work
But every time I'm around you
I always end up feeling like a jerk

I feel my life expectancy dropping
You're taking years away from my life
I get two years closer to dying
Every year you're in my life

Maybe there have been some good times
We've had some laughs I know
But we're poison to each other
I'm afraid I have to go

Yeah, I should pull myself together
Tomorrow I'll feel regret
But every time I'm around you
You make me wish that I was dead

I feel my life expectancy dropping
You're taking years away from my life
I get two years closer to dying
Every year you're in my life


Interests Are For Jerks (for sanspoof)

Notes: Another forced choice: sanspoof's livejournal interest section says only 'Interests Are For Jerks'.

Some people like comics, and others, they like cats
Other folks have children, they sure love those dumb brats
Some like to look at movies or stare at the TV
But none of that stuff holds too much appeal for me

'Cause interests are stupid, interests are dumb
Interests are for people whose brains have all gone numb
You might try to catch my eye
but that will never work
'cause interests are
for jerks

You might enjoy music or poetry or rap
But as for me, I'd just as soon be taking a nice nap
Not that sleeping's that great, but it's something to do
And it saves me the trouble of dealing with you

'Cause interests are stupid, interests are crap
They're for all those who just can't find their asses with a map
And you might try to catch my eye
but that will never work
'cause interests are for losers
They're for nincompoops and duds
Yes, interests are
for jerks


Oh, Batman (for paperclippy)

Notes: This is another combination of two interests, 'Brown University' and 'Batman'. The lyrics are a parody of Brown's Alma Mater song. I also tried writing a parody of 'Ever True To Brown' which combined the 'Brown University' and 'polytheism' interests, but the result sort of sucked, so I omit it here.

Oh, Batman, we call thee with loving devotion
And shine to the heavens your symbol of wings
Our hearts swell within us with fearful emotion
As the name of Batman in loud chorus we sing
The scariest moments of crime's fleeing victims
Have passed in the confines of Old Gotham's bounds
But the criminals triumph, as transient as showers,
You have quite o'erthrown in a way which astounds.


Pickle Postcards (for margo_virago)

Notes: Another two-interest song: 'pickles' and 'postcards', oddly enough. I originally tried to write a mean-spirited advertising jingle for soymilk, but I wasn't happy with how it came out. Anyway, I probably owe Arlo Guthrie some royalties now. (Maybe a nickle?)

I remember eating in Duluth
The best pickle of my youth
I think it was a dill

And in Memphis you can find
an okra pickle that's divine
I can taste it still

So I'm travelling the country, looking at the pickles
Going down the highways on my motorcycle
And I gotta keep on driving 'til I've seen every last brining
Facility
And I wish that you were near
But I know you can't be here
So I'm sending you a pickle postcard

In Detroit I went up to
The fifteen foot pickle statue
That's on the reverse

And it's seeing things like this
That make me feel the luckiest
Guy in the big bad world

So I'm travelling the country, looking at the pickles
Going down the highways on my motorcycle
And I gotta keep on driving 'til I've seen every last brining
Factory
And I wish that you were near
But I know you can't be here
So I'm sending you a pickle postcard


Avocados and Beer (for saucypunk)

Notes: Guess what two interests inspired this one? I tried to write a good ol' Merle Haggard-type country song here.

It's been a day and a half since you left me
And I've tried to make sense of it all
I didn't know you were unhappy,
I never saw we were headed for a fall
When I enter the empty apartment you left,
Well you know that it's lonely, my dear.
And I open the fridge just to see what's still there
To only find avocados and beer.

I know that I'm sometimes hard to get along with
But I didn't know I was that bad
And if I was insensitive, I'm sorry
'Cause you're the best thing I ever had
I should have listened to all you were saying
I understand why you had to leave here
It was still quite a shock to come home home this evening
To only find avocados and beer.

Avocados and beer!
All alone in the fridge, it's what's left of the life that we made
Avocados and beer!
I thought we'd never part, but now all of my dreams are betrayed
Avocados and beer!
I thought we were a great pair
But you've left now, and now I'm aware
We're not like beans and cornbread, I've afraid that instead
We go together like avocados and beer

Now I know that I drink maybe more than I should
My beer belly's gotten quite a few stares
But I always tried to get you whatever you wanted
That's why I bought those alligator pears
And I thought that together we'd make it at last
We'd conquer together our fears
But all of my hopes have transformed into pain
I've just got avocados and beer

Avocados and beer!
All alone in the fridge, it's what's left of the life that we made
Avocados and beer!
I thought we'd never part, but now all of my dreams are betrayed
Avocados and beer!
I thought we were a great pair
But you've left now, and now I'm aware
We're not like peas in a pod, we're like hotcakes and salt cod
We're like caviar and kielbasa, or strychnine and waffles,
We go together like avocados and beer


Molesting Yarn (for penelope_arcade)

Notes: The interest in question is 'Molesting Yarn', which penelope_arcade specifically asked me to use. I took the opportunity to allude to a few different blues songs that I happen to like: verse 1 is sort of similar to a verse of Charley Patton's 'Tom Rushen Blues', you could find lyrics similar to verses two and four in a bunch of different songs from the 20s and 30s (although probably not on the same exact subject), and verse 3 is based on Bo Diddley's 'Before You Accuse Me'.

I walked into a yarn store, happy as I could be
I walked into a yarn store, happy as I could be
Then the next thing you know, yarn store owner's shaking me

Now they got me arrested, charge of molesting yarn
Now they got me arrested, charge of molesting yarn
Now maybe I touched some but I sure didn't mean no harm

Now before you accuse me, take a look at yourself
Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself
Keeping all of this pretty yarn captive on that dusty shelf

Yeah, the judge sentenced me, ten years in that Cranston pen
Yeah, the judge sentenced me, ten years in that Cranston pen
Would have been twenty-nine but that yarn was just Lion Brand

Tags: lyrics, writing
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