Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Still Alive (cover)

Another Jonathan Coulton cover. It's Still Alive, the ending-credits song from the video game, Portal.



BorbaSpinotti got me thinking about doing this. It hadn't crossed my mind before because I really like the song as it's done in Portal, and it never occurred to me to re-interpret it. As it stands, other than mucking about with the dynamics I'm not doing anything to re-interpret the tune... it's just how I'd play the accompaniment if I'd written it, and its simple enough that most anybody could learn it. Instead, I decided to re-interpret the vocals, since I could never in a million years pull off GLaDOS, and Jonathan Coulton already simply sings it as a ballad. So I imagine that the Aperture Science labs are NOT run by the AI, GLaDOS. Instead, they're run by a real, live mad scientist. Then I cast Peter Cushing in the part. Then I throw in a little Bill Shatner sing-talking. I hope it works. It will sound better with practice, I'm sure.

If you're completely confused by all this talk of GLaDOS, read the Portal Wikipedia entry. Basically, it boils down to this: in Portal, you're the lab rat in a science experiment being conducted by a deranged computer.

Now, if you like the arrangement, and want to play it yourself, I teach you how here:

You'll need the lyrics and chords. You can get them HERE. Then check out the JoCo store on the same website and try out the other songs. Buy some.

The tutorial is appropriate to beginning musicians. More advanced pianists will quickly get bored.

It's the best angle I could get with that camera, nevertheless my hands get in the way of the keys, so I hope you get the idea. My fingering sucks in some places, so it's a case of "do what I say, not what I do." Use the fingering that's comfortable to you and keeps you out of trouble. As for myself, I don't think I've played a song exactly the same way twice, and probably won't ever. Things get added, subtracted, or shuffled around according to my mood and audience. So don't sweat the small stuff.

The important thing to remember is that you're a performer, not a tape deck, so make the song your own, and above all have fun with it. They call it "playing" an instrument for a reason.

Here's JoCo singing it.
And here's the song as it appears in the Portal ending credits.

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