Saturday, March 29, 2008

Another Dan Lewis original

And another song changes from relentlessly dreary to somewhat bouncy.

I've had most of the words for this song for a couple of years. I played it once for friends and it didn't have a real chorus. The word "stranger" was used repeatedly, which was pointed out to me.

So I realized through the process of this recording that if you want to repeat a word a lot, it has to be in the chorus. Of interest, every verse still has a rhyme or near rhyme for "stranger". So you can kind of guess how it went.

In music as in writing, if your audience says something is wrong, they're right. However, the audience does not always know how to fix it. I don't remember where I picked up that little proverb, but it is so true.

I discovered the guitar solo sound by poking around on the pedal. It reminds me a little of Mark Knopfler's signature sound (of course, he has real guitars and real guitar pedals; if I had to guess, I'd say he was playing on a hollowbody, for one thing). You narrowly missed hearing a guitar sound that was like a car going past you: neeeerrrowm. Repeatedly. I thought it sounded violinish.

The song's not autobiographical. It's the story of one complete relationship, like the seven ages of man (but there are only four verses, I spared you). I enjoy writing songs where you say the same thing over and over again, but its meaning keeps changing. I find a similar delight in The Simpsons' postmodern humor. And here is the Jargon File on hacker humor, which really explains it all:

hacker humor

A distinctive style of shared intellectual humor found among hackers, having the following marked characteristics:

1. Fascination with form-vs.-content jokes, paradoxes, and humor having to do with confusion of metalevels (see meta). One way to make a hacker laugh: hold a red index card in front of him/her with “GREEN” written on it, or vice-versa (note, however, that this is funny only the first time).

2. Elaborate deadpan parodies of large intellectual constructs, such as specifications (see write-only memory), standards documents, language descriptions (see INTERCAL), and even entire scientific theories (see quantum bogodynamics, computron).

3. Jokes that involve screwily precise reasoning from bizarre, ludicrous, or just grossly counter-intuitive premises.

4. Fascination with puns and wordplay.

5. A fondness for apparently mindless humor with subversive currents of intelligence in it — for example, old Warner Brothers and Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, the Marx brothers, the early B-52s, and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Humor that combines this trait with elements of high camp and slapstick is especially favored.

6. References to the symbol-object antinomies and associated ideas in Zen Buddhism and (less often) Taoism. See has the X nature, Discordianism, zen, ha ha only serious, koan.

See also filk, retrocomputing, and the Portrait of J. Random Hacker in Appendix B. If you have an itchy feeling that all six of these traits are really aspects of one thing that is incredibly difficult to talk about exactly, you are (a) correct and (b) responding like a hacker. These traits are also recognizable (though in a less marked form) throughout science-fiction fandom.

Oh, and it's called "Stranger For Your Love", obviously.

I just realized that the original hook, the reason for the song's existence, a cool sounding bass line, has vanished from the version I've got now... maybe if I had more friends to play music with? I wouldn't create these problems?

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