Watch What You Say…

Make your own song using other lyrics. Complete this assignment by combining the lyrics from at least 5 different songs in order to make a song with flowing lyrics. This song should be at least 2 minutes long.

My next mashup assignment was my toughest one to date, worth four-and-a-half stars at the time of selection. Since this was yet another case of a task that’s exactly what it says on the tin, I decided to go for an a cappella number. For those of you that called yourselves “Gleeks” during the first half of this decade, you can probably understand what that term means; for those that didn’t, I basically had to sing my lyrics without any instrumental accompaniment of any kind – only my voice, and nothing else, could be carried over to the final project.

I also decided to push myself further, and do everything in one take, much like my infamous “One-Man Play” from earlier this semester, and use a form of storytelling that wasn’t used in a song before. Since Bob Dylan just left the verses out of order when he recorded “Tangled Up in Blue,” it meant that I had to pull off an illusion previously used by the likes of Christopher Nolan and Jason Robert Brown.

In both Nolan’s 2000 film, Memento, and Brown’s 2001 musical, The Last Five Years, the central storytelling mechanic was that half of the story was told from beginning-to-middle, going forwards in time, and the other half was told from end-to-middle, going backwards. For this story, I went with a street performer being increasingly heckled by rowdy patrons in the first half, and the performer getting his revenge on the perpetrators in a violent bar fight in the second, with the point where the two acts intersect being when the performer locks the door to the bar, so that the hecklers can’t escape.

The songs I chose were a mix of classic rock and country music, including “Who Are You” by The Who; “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash; “We Will Rock You” by Queen; “Hypnotize” by System of a Down; “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers; and “The Stranger” by Billy Joel.

After finding the lyrics I needed, and setting them up for the desired effect – a key example of this was reversing the order of the verses sampled from “Hypnotize” and “Coward of the County” to raise tension for when the door was locked – I recorded everything in one take, saved it as it was, and uploaded it to my SoundCloud account.

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November 22nd, 2015 by
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