Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pigs

OK, for SpinTunes of Summer of '15, the challenge is to write a song about building something. That's the only direction we get, except that it can't be about building a song.

In other words, write a song.

Alright, this is the sort of Plan B stupidity I do while waiting for lyrics from William. I don't really know what to say about this, except that it's a variation of The Three Little Pigs, of course. Fortunately William did come up with something. I questioned even publishing this, but finally decided... meh.


PIGS
(clean version)

I saw a little pig 
    Building him a house of straw!
I said I saw a little pig
    Building him a house of straw!
It was small but it was tall, it was all that I say
A little bitty shack made from a stack of hay
He built it in a minute and called it a day
And then feeling just a little beat
He went in to rest his little feet

[CHORUS]
    Then along came a wolf with a big toothy grin
    And he huffed and he puffed and he blew the house in
    And the piggy ran away to just to save his skin
    And said, "I ain't gonna do that again".

Then I saw a little pig
    Building him a house of twigs!
        (say WHAT!?)
I said I saw a little pig!
    Building him a house of twigs
He called it "reclaimed lumber" to impress the chicks
And the chat about slats just might fool the hicks
But you can't fool me with a pile of sticks
And when he finished with his little hut
He went in to rest his porky butt.

[CHORUS]
    Then along came a wolf with a big toothy grin
    And he huffed and he puffed and he blew the house in
    And the piggy ran away just to save his skin
    And said, "I ain't gonna do that again".

[BRIDGE]
    And I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    No, I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    No, I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    See, the wolf, he knows what's shakin'
    And everything's better with bacon.

Then I saw a little pig
    Building him a house of bricks!
        (NO WAY!)
Yeah, I saw a little PIG!
    Building him a house of bricks!
It was laid on the level and raised on the plumb
It was solid and stolid, the pig wasn't dumb
He heard from the others just what was to come
So he stocked it with survival gear
And went in to rest his hammy rear

[CHORUS]
    Now, you might not know the wolf had served in the Corps
    So he blew the brick house with a pound of C4
    And he walked right on in there and picked up the boar
    And he ain't goin' hungry no more!
    
    And I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    No, I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    No, I can't blame the wolf!
        (Can't blame the wolf!)
    See, the wolf, he knows what's shakin'
    And everything's better with bacon.


LYRICAL NOTES

Now, I should mention that junk like this is very easy to write. You just do something silly and it's not terribly important to make it make sense. The hard songs to write are the ones that are serious, which try to evoke an emotion other than whimsy. Those have to be carefully crafted and consistent, with a very smooth flow, both musical and lyrical. There, crafting lyrics is a very careful, thoughtful process. Here, meaning is subordinate to rhyme, so "crafting lyrics" is just a matter of having a thesaurus open. It's the difference between an artist's portrait and paint-by-numbers, so of the two songs we wrote for this challenge, I think Day After Day is by far the more difficult. I suspect, though, that Pigs might very well be better received.

The lyrics feel a little rushed to me because in these contests you really don't tend to do well if you take the time to build up characters, etc. Instead you tend to shorthand.

Of course, in this version the wolf wins (even with the lyrics cleaned up). The inspiration from that was all of the World War II songs with similar military twists; especially those in propaganda cartoons of the period. Also, since everybody else have the pigs win, we can afford to throw a hungry wolf a bone just this once.

Besides, everything does go better with bacon.

BTW, the original lyrics are NSFW. We'd been drinking at the time. Really. William made mention of the pigs after a couple of pints of Guinness, and I dutifully wrote the thing down along with everything else, only it wasn't The Three Little Pigs.  And apparently the wolf liked your mother. It wasn't until I went with the WWII homage that I went back and cleaned it up, as that's more appropriate to the period. Silly family-friendly songs were popular (see Mairsey Doats).


MUSICAL NOTES

Sort of bluesey, jazzy, and with a nod to big bands like those of Artie Shaw and Cab Calloway with the call-and-response from the band members.

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