Monday, November 1, 2010

SpinTunes 2 Round 3 Shadow, Continued

So, I'm working as fast as I can because I once again have very little time to work on this round. I've got a verse and chorus melody. I'm having the same problem I usually have, which is that my verses differ slightly, in that the exact melodic phrasing I use on the first verse doesn't seem to work on subsequent verses and I can't seem to make the natural sung rhythm of the words forced into such an iron-clad mold. It's at this point that I realize I'm not really certain how to write songs. I know a lot of songs I admire have verses where the meter of some parallel verse lines don't quite match up, but they tend to come back to matching pretty closely. Mine aren't quite working this time and I need to do a little rework.

I've got a recorded melody for verse 1:

I've spent my career teaching history
But my colleagues always mock me
They don't believe my first-hand stories
About Beethoven, and the Nazis
My papers are rejected
My letters to the editor aren't selected
But the truth is, I've met Newton
Galileo and Leif Ericcson
But I tell you this without much joy
For I was Mister Peabody's... boy

And a recorded chorus:

My life has been so ordinary
Since the day he went away
Now it's been almost fifty years
And I am old and gray
I've never stopped believing
That he'll come back for me
My master, mentor, friend Mister Peabody
Now you might think I'm just confused
And age has left me in a fog
But I never minded playing second fiddle...
To a dog

And a second verse, but the meter strays a lot from the first verse and I find myself putting in rests in awkward places trying to force it to match the melody:

My memories of those days are mostly a blur
Of crudely drawn animation
With our horn-rimmed glasses we'd explore
The pasts of many nations
His bowtie he always kept impeccable
His puns were completely unacceptable
I followed his every instruction
To assure our history correctly functioned
We righted wrongs and we had a blast
Fixing all the problems in the past

So that needs, I think, some rework. With just those two verses and two choruses I'm at about 2:30. But I've got more lyrics I want to try to fit in somehow. Maybe I can rearrange individual lines and tweak verse 2 by using some of these lines. Can I get all the ideas (not necessarily the wording, that's fungible) into one more verse, and maybe a bridge? Maybe I need to gut verse 1 and throw out some of the lines that don't really pop. Heavy revision is kind of the bane of these tightly timed competitions (even though I'm not technically competing this round, I still want my shadow entry to be at least reasonably good as a demo).

When our TV show was cancelled
He took it really hard
You could hear the poor thing howling
Out in the backyard
I had to go on back to school
Which felt so very cruel
It seemed so very strange
History's not as fun when it can't be rearranged

He broke out of his kennel and entered the machine
We'd know just when he went to, but he'd broken the view screen
Perhaps he went to Egypt, or maybe prehistoric times
I could speculate some more, but I'm running out of rhymes
Maybe he's waiting in the future, and I'll catch up one day
And we'll be dog and boy like it was yesterday

I can't make the machine work for me -- the vacuum tubes are busted
But Peabody's the only friend that I ever really trusted
I only hope when he's finished writing history's wrongs
Whenever he has gone
He'll come back for his old comrade and take me into history
I hope Mister Peabody won't forget me

Time traveling dogs can live forever - but not so human men
Maybe in the future they can make me young again
I don't really want to die here, stuck in 2010
I hope he gets here soon, my genius friend

No comments: