Saturday, January 17, 2015

SpinTunes 10 Round 1: Date Night

Well, it's SpinTunes time again. It's the 10th contest, meaning we've been doing this twice-yearly exercise for five years now. Nice. Here's the challenge:
Heart Beatz - Tonight's your lucky night...or so you hope. The fire is crackling, and you have a candlelit dinner waiting for your special someone. All you need is a seductive tune to put your lover in the mood. Write it. (2 minute minimum length) (your submission is due Sunday, January 18th 11:59PM)
Basically, it's a challenge to write a song of seduction as opposed to a love song. This gives lots of lovely leeway, and of course the first thing that springs to mind is pretty much most of the repertoire of Luther Vandross or Barry White. That's the imagery intended by the guy that wrote it. How the judges interpret it is anybody's guess.

Nevertheless, after spending the first weekend thinking about it, my lyricist came up empty. So we did a brainstorming session. It seems to me that every woman I've ever heard state what she finds attractive lists a sense of humor near the top. You wouldn't believe it to read lists from "experts" on the Internet, but I have yet to see it fail to show up on a list in real life. So we're going for that. Not comedy, mind you; but playfulness.

For reasons of "I don't wanna write that", I didn't want it to be about promiscuous sex. But I did want it racy.

I also thought about some songs that both my wife and I find to be particularly sexy. That's both of us, not one or the other. We both came up with the same song at the top of the list, "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Sylvia, from the film Dirty Dancing. It has humor, it has sex, it has lust, it just makes you smile.

A couple of other things about it: It's completely transparent about its intent. "C'MERE, Loverboy!" Also, it's a duet. As I mentioned above, it's appealing to both men and women. And it has spoken dialogue. I wanted something like that, with those kind of features. So that was my guide. But of course I didn't want a copy.

While talking this over with William I used this description of what the song should say:
"I want to go to bed sore and wake up happy". 
Fortuitously that got stuck in my head, because that became the song's hook.

We start with deciding sort of story the song would be telling. Everything but the first verse came first, but I wasn't happy because I didn't want it to feel cheap; then based on another bit of our conversation I went with the idea that these weren't strangers, but a married couple with kids. That makes this a "date night". Now the question was just "how far can you take this?"  The kids are with Grandma, and Mom and Dad have the house to themselves. Being on a budget, in this story they're watching old movies on Netflix.

Another thing: William had brought up "Escape (The PiƱa Colada Song)" by Rupert Holmes as an example of what we were looking for. The premise of that song is that a bored married couple find out something new about each other.

Note that the challenge was to write a "seductive tune" not a "song about seduction". It should put your partner "in the mood". I think "Escape" meets the challenge in spades.

"Date Night" has the duet, the spoken dialog, and hopefully the playfulness we were looking for. And it gives a socially acceptable situation where you can just unabashedly troll for sex (and the last line is a direct allusion to a "happy ending"). It's arguably more energetic and not as blatantly seductive as "Love Is Strange", but I think it works for a married couple. Inspired by "Escape", the couple in "Date Night" make a little discovery. Of course, what they discover is a willingness to try S&M and bondage, but at least they didn't put it on Craig's List... yet.

by Dr. Lindyke

[tv noises]

[she] This movie’s not very good. I’m bored.
[he] Well, it IS date night.  [turns off tv] What would you like to do?
[she] I don’t know,  Let’s do something different.

[he] hmmm... different...
Baby I know you like to have a good time... 
Well, the phone is off the hook and the kids are at your mom’s
May I suggest a little game where we can have a few kicks
A little more entertaining than a night of Netflix?

[she] go on...

It’s a little bit of whip, a little bit of chain
It’s a little bit of pleasure, a little bit of pain
It’s a little bit of you and a little bit of me
Baby, let’s go to bed sore and wake up happy.

[dialogue over the groove]
[she] I was kind of hoping you’d go there
[he] oh, really?
[she] In fact, I got us a little present, just in case.
[he] oh, REAlly?
[she] oh, yeaaaaah….


[she takes the reigns]
To keep you in your place ‘cause I like it rough
Let me introduce you to my brand-new cuffs
They’re covered in fur so they don’t chafe
And you can pick a word to keep you safe

It’s a little bit of whip, a little bit of chain
It’s a little bit of pleasure, a little bit of pain
It’s a little bit of you and a little bit of me
I want to go to bed sore and wake up happy.


[he] Babe, they say if nothing’s ventured, nothing’s gained
[she] You know I like my lovers with some spirit I can tame
[he] I have got the fire stoked bright to light your brand
[she] So everybody knows that you’re my man

It’s a little bit of whip, a little bit of chain
It’s a little bit of pleasure, a little bit of pain
[he] It’s a little bit of you 
[she] and a little bit of me
[both] Let’s go to bed sore and wake up…. happy.


Some rejected Ideas:
  • Any Barry White or Luther Vandross parody or pastiche
  • A Star Trek filk song based on Mudd's Women
  • A different role play (D&D)
  • A song "sung by" Larry Laffer (Leisure Suit Larry)


There's absolutely nothing highbrow about this arrangement.

I began with percussion, consciously using a classic R&B rhythm... it's an homage to every porn flick ever filmed in the 1970s. Since the song builds up, it starts with just the snare, then adds kick and hi-hat. The full drum kit doesn't kick in until Cherry hits her chorus

The rest of it is very seat-of-the-pants flying. The electric bass was the first instrumentation added, since it supports any R&B track, and I didn't want to be constrained to any particular key when writing it. I just let it go and figured out the chords afterward. That was pretty simple, as it's a basic three-chord song.

The piano was a puzzle. I tried all sorts of bluesy arrangements and nothing worked. Then I took it down to the simple chord-free accents you hear, and that went very well with Cherry's vocals, keeping the whole thing light and playful. Denise Hudson's Motown-style backing vocals were her idea, and they're icing on the cake.

One last thing: It should have an instrumental section in the middle eight, and the last chorus should be repeated. I will be adding those, because I just love this silly song. However, there are FIFTY ONE (51) entrants in the opening round of SpinTunes 10, and I've judged before. I'm not recording either the instrumental or the repeated chorus, so as to keep this under three minutes out of the goodness of my heart. It may come back to bite me.


As often happens, we've already met this challenge with a previous song. Namely, "I Hate Myself For Loving You", sung beautifully by Heather Zink.


Reviews have started to come in.
  • One reviewer comments that this is "A song about a date rather than for a date"... Nope. One of the best ways to get your lover "in the mood" is to watch or listen to other people who are "in the mood". This song is soft porn, plain and simple. It squarely meets the challenge, no "rather than" about it. Besides, the challenge isn't to write a song for a date... you're trying to get laid.


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