Ep. 31 Notes (“What It’s Like,” by Everlast)

Listen to the episode: Subscribe via iTunes | Listen via Stitcher Go to previous episode | Go to next episode The Song “What It’s Like,” by Everlast And here are the lyrics. Supporting Songs “Jump,” by Kriss Kross “Jump Around,” House of Pain “Lose Yourself,” by Eminem “The Red,” by Chevelle “She Blinded Me with Science,” by Thomas Read more about Ep. 31 Notes (“What It’s Like,” by Everlast)[…]

A statue of Paul Revere.
Kelly Rowland, Beyonce Knowles, and Michelle Williams
Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, in concert

10.4 Can We Do It Again?

Now, back to the rhyming. The version of the lyrics created using the second standard foot has lines that end with: “beneath,” “lies,” “parts,” and “will.” None of these even come close to rhyming. This is frustrating, but also means that our options are wide open. We could go with any one of the five Read more about 10.4 Can We Do It Again?[…]

10.3 But Now It Makes No Sense!

You may be concerned, however, that to create the rhyme we had to destroy the meaning. What in the world is a “supergroup collusion”? And does being “parts of some collusion” really mean the same thing as being “parts of some supergroup”? Is it worth getting a rhyme if it turns the lyrics into something Read more about 10.3 But Now It Makes No Sense![…]

10.2 Rhyming the Rhythimified

Now, it would be nice if, in making either of these adjustments if we could also get the stanza into rhythm as well, so let’s reintroduce the three rhythm-sculpted versions of the stanza and see if we can work our rhymes into them. Non-Standard Foot: Do you think reality lies above us or below us Read more about 10.2 Rhyming the Rhythimified[…]

10.1 Sculpting Lyrics for Rhyme

You may recall that what we’ve been doing is practicing for situations in which you have something you want to say. First, I told you just to write it down, and not to worry about rhythm and rhyme. Then, we did three chapters of practicing the introduction of rhythm into the rough lyrics we created Read more about 10.1 Sculpting Lyrics for Rhyme[…]

9.5 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 4

Now for line 4: “Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup.” We could start the line with, “Or parts of some supergroup.” However, we would then need to figure out how to fill in the rest of the line. It so happens that the notion of “the general will” is often Read more about 9.5 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 4[…]

9.4 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 3

So far, we have this. Reality lies where? Above or beneath? And what do we see here? Surrounded by lies? And our next line is: “We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us.” How shall we make it fit? How about “Should we reduce ourselves to particles?” Let’s write it out to Read more about 9.4 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 3[…]

9.3 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 2

But what of line 2? .   ,    .  .  ,   .     .  ,     .    . , . And what do we see here? Surround with illusion? Hmm. Well, that works, technically, but I don’t like the word “illusion” going further into the fourth foot than its first syllable. Perhaps instead we should say: .   ,    .  .  ,   .     .  ,   .   .  , And what do we see here? Surrounded by lies? This would create an interesting link with the word “lies” in the first line, especially since the two words, Read more about 9.3 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 2[…]

9.2 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 1

Let’s take a minute, then, to reexamine the stanza we’ve been sculpting. I sometimes worry that reality lies above us or below us And what we see at our level is an illusion We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup Read more about 9.2 Stamping Our New Foot on Line 1[…]

9.1 Sculpting to a New Foot

So far, we’ve taken two approaches to rhythmically sculpting our lyrics. In one, we allowed the rhythm of the first line to dictate that of the others. In the other, we imposed a two-syllable foot on all four lines. However, the foot we used in the previous chapter is far from the only one. There’s Read more about 9.1 Sculpting to a New Foot[…]

8.7 Comparing the Two Versions of Our Stanza

Therefore, our first stanza is: I worry that reality’s above us or below us And everything we see here at our level’s an illusion We either must reduce ourselves to pieces that compose us Or bow to being nothing but the parts of something bigger Compare that with the product of rhythmic sculpting we did Read more about 8.7 Comparing the Two Versions of Our Stanza[…]

8.6 Stamping Our Foot on Line 4

So, on to line 4. 1  2 3    4  5 6   7 8     9   10  11    12 13 ,  .  ,   .  , .   , .     ,   .   ,     .  . Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some 1415 16 , .  , supergroup As the line stands, we cannot treat “Or” as a pickup, because it has to be stressed. And it has to be stressed because “su-,” in “submit,” has to be unstressed. If we could find another word that started with a stressed syllable, however, Read more about 8.6 Stamping Our Foot on Line 4[…]

8.5 Stamping Our Foot on Line 3

Now for line 3. 1  2 3    4    5 6    7  8      9  10  11 1213 .  , .    ,    . ,    .  ,      .  .   ,  . . We either must reduce ourselves to the particles 14   15 16   17 ,    .  ,    . that compose us What we need is a 14-syllable line with at most a 1-syllable pickup, for a total of fifteen syllables. So we need to get rid of two syllables somewhere. The most obvious place to look for expendable syllables is in the areas where the rhythm Read more about 8.5 Stamping Our Foot on Line 3[…]

8.4 A Mistake, Quickly Fixed

What, therefore, if we rethought the beginning, changing “what we see here” to “everything we see here”? Let’s try it.     1  2 3     4  5   6    7  8   9 10    11  12 .   ,  . ,     .  ,   .    ,  .   , .     ,   .    And everything we see here at our level’s nothing 13  141516 ,   . , . but illusion So, lines 1 and 2 are now: I sometimes worry that reality’s above us or below us And everything we see here at our level’s nothing but illusion But Read more about 8.4 A Mistake, Quickly Fixed[…]

8.3 Stamping Our Foot on Line 2

Can we rewrite line 2 with the same stress pattern? 1   2    3  4   5  6   7 8   9  10 111213 .   ,    .  ,   .  .   , .   .  ,  . , . And what we see at our level is an illusion But since the “And” is unstressed, we can treat it as a pickup.     1    2  3   4  5   6 7   8  9  101112 .   ,    .  ,   .  .   , .   .  ,  . , . And what we see at our level is an illusion That has a kind of stuttering rhythm to Read more about 8.3 Stamping Our Foot on Line 2[…]

8.1 Rythmic Sculpting Continues

We are working with the following set of lyrics. I sometimes worry that reality lies above us or below us And what we see at our level is an illusion We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup Last chapter, we Read more about 8.1 Rythmic Sculpting Continues[…]

7.5 One More Duplication (Line 4)

And finally, for line four: “Or submit to being nothing but the parts of some supergroup.” We’ve already used “nothing but” in line 2, so we probably should get rid of that here. It is, as it were, “too soon” to repeat it. Likewise, we’ve already used “parts,” and so we need to change that. Read more about 7.5 One More Duplication (Line 4)[…]

7.4 Duplicating the Rhythm in Line 3

Now for line 3: “We either must reduce ourselves to the particles that compose us.” The phrase “particles that” fits the section of the rhythm where “reality lies” and “see with our eyes” are in lines 1 and 2. But to get it in the right place, we’d need to shorten the first part of Read more about 7.4 Duplicating the Rhythm in Line 3[…]

7.3 Duplicating the Rhythm in Line 2

Now we need to figure out if we can make the other four lines fit the same rhythm. At the moment, line 2 says, “And what we see at our level is an illusion.” That is too short. We need 15 syllables, and it only has 13. Furthermore, its first word is “and” which would Read more about 7.3 Duplicating the Rhythm in Line 2[…]

Outkast, in concert.
Rolling, green, cultivated hills, with mist.

6.2 Finding Inspiration

Let’s talk about some strategies for coming up with something to write about. First, I find it easiest to get motivated to write about things that make me feel scared, angry, worried, or frustrated. So, if you’re looking for something to write about, you might start by asking yourself what you feel scared, angry, worried, Read more about 6.2 Finding Inspiration[…]

A picture of a laptop computer and a notebook with a pen.

6.1 Writing Words without Music

Our list of reasons for writing lyrics began with several different situations in which you actually have something you want to say. When you have something to say, you don’t need to have music first. What you want to say will be the initial constraint that guides your writing, rather than listening for parts of Read more about 6.1 Writing Words without Music[…]

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, in concert.
A house overlooking a mountain lake

A Good Melody Needs Volume and Variety

Contrast “Take on Me,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “What Child Is This?,” with any melody Drake has ever written. When you do so, you’ll see a melody’s need for volume and variety.

Two children walking down a road together.
Picture of Ludacris
Dancing in the street
The shore
50 Cent at a table with headphones in boxes

Ep. 16 Notes (“In da Club,” by 50 Cent)

Authenticity: can you change while remaining true to yourself? And what makes you yourself, anyway? Listen to the episode and explore background material.

A horse looking dramatic in front of fallen tree limbs.

Ep. 15 Notes (“Beer for My Horses,” by Toby Keith and Willie Nelson)

Justice and collective action. (Which of the two types of justice do you focus on? Is it possible for a group to do things?) Listen to the episode and explore background material.

Alva Noë’s Strange Tools on music

I recently finished listening to the audiobook version of Berkley philosopher Alva Noë’s Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Hill & Wang/MacMillan, 2015). Point 1 (of 5). More Philosophy Audiobooks, Please First, I want more philosophy audiobooks like this. Moooooooooooooooaaaar. Though my Ph.D. is in philosophy, I’ve always found reading difficult. That is, Read more about Alva Noë’s <em>Strange Tools</em> on music[…]

An oasis in the desert.
A tiger and tiger cub in the snow.

Ep. 13 Notes (“Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor)

Does virtue change? Do cultures make progress in understanding virtue? Might “Eye of the Tiger” represent a regress? Drama! Listen to the episode and explore background material.

Coolio at a festival.

Ep. 12 Notes (“Gangsta’s Paradise,” by Coolio, ft. L.V.)

What is the connection between free will, creativity, and redemption? Are they possible? How do they work? Listen to the episode and explore background material.

Robert Smith, of the Cure

Ep. 11 Notes (“Friday I’m in Love,” by the Cure)

Are emotions active or passive? Do we impose them on the world, or does the world impose them on us? Also, the difference between harmony and counterpoint. Listen to the episode and explore background material.

A picture of Prince on stage.
Garth Brooks in concert.
Two people put up a stop sign on a snowy slope.
The Hollywood sign, from the back.
A statue of Freddie Mercury.
A picture of Olivia Newton-John.
A torn "private property" sign on a fence post
A painting of Kurt Cobain.
The Police, in concert.

Ep. 2 Notes (“Every Breath You Take,” by the Police)

In this episode, we explore the topics of ownership, belonging, and being together/alone in the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Listen to the episode and explore background material.

Joan Jett, in concert.

Ep. 1 Notes (“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

We explore the topics of quotation, free will, and names in Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Listen to the episode and explore background material.