Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Frustration Calls - The Story

The lyrics you are about to hear in this remarkable song came out of an experiment to test a theory of mine.  In a recent lecture, I noted that writing lyrics is not that difficult as long as you can come up with a few key words. Once you have identified  two or four important words which represent the essence of what you are trying to say in that part of the song, you can use them as the ends of your lines and then find rhymes to precede those words. In other words, rhyming is best done backwards.  So for example, say you want to sing about frustration, which do you think is better:

Feeling the weight of deep frustration, I can’t go on in this situation.   -or-
I can’t go on in this situation,  feeling the weight of deep frustration.

I think the second serves better.  OK, it seems rather minor. But as I said, it’s a theory, and since I’m not a music teacher, and the talk I speak of was at one of our erstwhile student clubs, I can get away with it. 

A few nights ago, I came home from a night out a bit angry and emotional about things that had been said about stuff that’s going on at work. The other half of making lyrics writing is having an emotional or situational source from which to draw words.  Feeling so frustrated with my work life that night, I decided to write a song.  The result was the core of the words you see on this White Board.

Uncertainty and dissatisfaction at  work hasn’t been the only thing going on in my life lately. I’ve enjoyed an online friendship for years with Mr. Jon Duncan AKA mountain goat, AKA mess inside (I haven’t asked why he’s had so many different monikers) from Tasmania, Australia.  As I was contemplating this mess of words on the whiteboard and wondering why is it that everything I tried writing sounded like lyrics to a hip-hop tune, I remembered that Jon had recently invited me to please share anything I wanted with him and ask any questions I wanted to.  All right.  I took a picture of the board.  Sent it to him on the Internet with a note that I would love to discuss his thoughts on writing lyrics and went to bed.

By the middle of the next day, he had tweaked my lyrics to match a tune he had been working on, which he graciously applied to these, my rather personal thoughts. I’ve written lots of songs, but I can't remember my words expressed alongside such a cool-sounding tune.  After that, we each sort of made improvements to the draft in parallel lines. This is what we got.  I really like it.There's also Jon-solo and Joko-solo versions.

Of course, one might read all kinds of different meanings into any work of lyrics. Particularly when juxtaposed with all of the work product that you see in the video of, most of which I created, it may create the impression that this is an attack on my employer and colleagues. Who is the “you” in the lyrics.  Aren’t I worried that I’ll get in trouble posting such things?  In general, I would be, but there are much more important things going on in the minds of my bosses that what little old Joko does with his ukulele and video camera might be bothersome, but nothing’s going to happen. Who would discipline an employee for complaining that he works too hard? Maybe some of them will start taking me more seriously.  That would be great.

I hope you've enjoyed this first (but not last) collaboration between Jon and Joko (we’re going to have to work on that name – two other people used something too similar)

Checkout and download Jon Duncan's new release: A Short History of Everything at Halfacow Records



I thought I was going to retire there. I was the senior staff member. I'd been there longer than anyone. It. Is. Not. Fair.  But on the ...