Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Sometimes it's scary trying new things. Like that first attempt at a bubblegum pop song I mentioned before.

Deal is, a song needs two components to be considered bubblegum:
  1. Inane lyrics

  2. Musical arrangement so catchy that you either don't notice the lyrics are stupid or you don't care
So I had to write something silly. But the music had to be good enough to both carry the silliness and make it seem on-purpose. Otherwise, listeners would just think, "Wow, that's dumb."

One line in particular nagged at me. I needed to rhyme the refrain "Dance to it." The best I could come up with was "Shake off your pants to it."

No, really. That's the line. It's not like I didn't try other rhymes. Other rhymes existed. They just weren't in keeping with the spirit of the song.

I decided to bounce it off people when I had a whole song to play for them. The way I figured it, either I'd failed miserably at this genre, or I'd succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

* * *

I finished "Dance to It" late this afternoon. As it happened, there was going to be a Singer-Songwriters meetup just a few hours later. What better place for a trial run?

They loved it. They thought "Shake off your pants to it" was hysterical. "You can't get rid of that," one person said when I mentioned my reservations. "It's like the punchline."

So I'm keeping it for now. We'll see if Ron the Drummer laughs with it or at it at our next rehearsal.


DeppityBob said...

Mmmbop, do be diddaliddlewop, humdurr badip dip dip dip dip dip dip boom...

Brian McDonald said...

Despite your best intentions, that IS a pretty good line.

I think pop music sometimes gets a bad rap because of the whole "bubblegum" thing. Pop music doesn't HAVE to be inane, but when it's NOT inane, we classify it as something else. Just because Ben Folds, for example, writes his own music and plays his own instrument, that doesn't mean "Underground", "Battle of Who Could Care Less", or "Rockin' the Suburbs" aren't pop. Yes, some pop music is soul-crushingly inane, but "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Let It Be" were performed by the same band.

Labels don't ruin music any more than a bad dust jacket ruins a good story, but like a bad dust jacket, it can keep people from trying something they might actually enjoy. Then again, I liked the Spice Girls, so maybe my opinion is suspect out of the gate.

cinderkeys said...

Dep: Did you know that MmmBop is actually about something? It is! It's about friendship, and how you never know which ones will last. But nobody knows that because the only words you can understand are "mmmbop" and "doo wop."

Brian: Glad you like the line. It only appears once, but it's right at the end, so it'll be easy to remember.

I've never been able to figure out where rock ends and pop begins. But you'll notice that I never said I hadn't written pop before, or that I've considered myself above hooks somehow. I just hadn't specifically attempted bubblegum. We'll see how other people evaluate it when they hear it. :)