Saturday, May 4, 2013

I Write the Song Titles

It was raining when I pulled up at the library the other morning, thirty degrees colder than it was the day before, made worse by the stiff wind coming down from the north. I huddled against the elements as I shuffled my key ring around to the library key, not watching where I was going.

I nearly fell over when a duck flew out of my path. A whole flock had been hanging out under the overhang by the library door. I watched them fly away toward the pond at the park.

“Inundated by ducks…” I thought. “I feel a song coming on…”


Guys, you won’t believe this, but my friends and I have written an album!

Or the liner notes for one, anyway.

Yeah, we’re pretty underground. You’ve probably never heard of us.

It all started about ten years ago around my kitchen table.

“Congratulations! The beast is dead. You search its den and you find the crown that will free the imprisoned god,” said Alex, our Dungeon Master for the night.

There was much rejoicing from the gathered nerds. “Awesome!” I said.

“That was a tough one,” said Matt.

“What else do we find?” asked Dave.

“Nothing,” Alex said, holding up his hands to staunch the rising protests. “I planned for you to get your reward after you free the god.”

“So I guess it would be a bad idea for me to say my character tries on the crown?” said Zach.

“His character doesn’t do that,” said Sarah. “His character does nothing and behaves admirably all the way back to the god in the basement.”

I giggled. “That sounds like a song title. ‘The God in the Basement’. Can’t you picture it? Like something you’d hear at a coffee shop, something Counting Crows would sing.”

“Maybe we should write it!” said Bridget.

We all agreed. Great idea! Let’s write a song! One of us will get right on that…


I thought about it.

For approximately ten seconds.

Then I forgot about it and moved on.

I’m not entirely ignorant, musically speaking. I’ve got great rhythm and I do pick around on my guitar whenever the mood strikes me.

The problem is the mood only strikes me about once a week and I can forget everything I know about music theory in three days. Every time I pick up a song sheet and try to sight read I have to recite “Elder Gods Break Dance Fabulously” and teach myself the notes all over again from scratch. It’s like if Memento was presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Still, I have no trouble imagining where great musicians get their ideas. Sometimes I look out over a moving event or a beautiful scene and I think, “Dude, that’s deep… I feel a song coming on…” except this thought is always followed mere moments later by “Yeah, no, I’ve got nothing.”

But I never let this stop me from writing down the song titles.


When Dave and Bridget took Matt and me out for my birthday, Matt and Dave both asked for kids menus so they could color and do the word search. Because they’re boys, this quickly devolved into crayon sword fights, with tragic results.

“I can’t believe you broke it!” Dave wailed.

“Dude, man up,” said Matt.

“Maybe I’ll just take the remnants of my broken crayon and go home!”

“Hold up!” said Bridget. “I think I feel a song coming on!”


“I nearly got my finger when I was chopping the veggies over here,” said Sarah, making a group dinner at my house one night.

“That would have been awful!” I said.

“Yeah, I’m sure no one would have appreciated blood on the carrots.” She grew quiet.

I thought about what she’d said. “No, I meant the part where you would have lost a finger…”

“What? Oh, yes. Sorry. I thought I felt a song coming on.”


“How did you get so good at this?” Dave asked Big Zach at the New Years party, after an amazing performance at Dance Dance Revolution.

“We had the arcade version at the theater when I worked there. Sometimes we’d play at night.”

“It’s your turn, Dave. Show us how it’s done,” Matt said.

“How what’s done? Falling down impressively?” Dave asked.

“Oh, hey! New song title!” I said, writing it down.


And I just kept writing them down. It’s kind of an Indie thing – I wouldn’t expect you to understand – but it’s my soundtrack. With titles like these, and the memories to go with them, we’re so hipster, we don’t even need music.

Without further ado, I now present for the first time ever, an epic musical event ten years in the making...

The Blind Cave Salamanders debut album, Lamentations on Wednesday.

1. The God in the Basement
2. Falling Down Impressively
3. Remnants of my Broken Crayon
4. Fear the Suburbia
5. Long walks with porpoise
6. I Blame the Scruples
7. Jogging on Broken Beaches
8. Giant Japanese Robots
9. Waiting for Haiku
10. Sauce Packet Wisdom
11. Blood on the Carrots
12. Deja Voodoo
13. Supernatural Frog
14. The Eleven and A Half Commandments
15. Paralysis by Analysis
16. Sweater Curse
17. The Muffin Crumbles
18. Mystifying Biscuits
19. Zest with a Sprig of Justice
Bonus Track: Inundated by Ducks

You can say you heard of it here before it was cool.

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