Saturday, January 23, 2010

You May Be Right

It's 1 a.m., and my upstairs neighbor just started practicing. Luckily for me, he's a really good acoustic guitarist - pleasant and not too loud. We have a tacit agreement not to complain about each other practicing.

More fun with Billy Joel. Yesterday:
I chose "The Stranger" because A) it's in my transcription book, & I'm planning on learning all those songs, and B) the intro and outtro (the whistle part) caught my attention the other night when I was listening to a bunch of Billy Joel. It's pretty. It sounds good on solo piano. It reminds me of movies about organized crime families.

I'm not sure why I never paid attention to this song before, because it's really fun to play. It's usually the lyrics that draw me to a song. (Side note: my sister, who deals in words all day as a translator, prefers instrumental music. I play music all day, and I most like music with words.) The lyrics of this song creep me out a bit. Hmm, maybe I don't like strangers. But I was reading some of the comments people have posted online about this song, and it seems a number of people find solace and validation in the fact that there's a song about, essentially, the strong spirit/weak flesh conundrum. So that's cool. I guess it's kind of like the Doubts I mentioned before - thoughts we'd like to control but can't. Though to be accurate, "The Stranger" is more about primal urges than Doubts. Right now I have a primal urge to go eat more of the yummy fancy-schmancy cheese I bought tonight.

It's really late, so instead I will write about today's song, "You May Be Right", one of my all-time favorite songs. Again, it's about the lyrics first. High school music theory, half a dozen guy buddies whose asses I totally kicked in that class. But they told me dirty jokes until I smiled. I recognize that girl in her electric chair with the stick up her butt.

I should mention - I suck at playing rock & roll. I do ok with ballads, and I'm starting to get my fingers wrapped around swing and salsa, but this kind of bluesy, rockin' rockity-rock... again, my aim with this project is to suck a little less each day. Meanwhile, tonight I got sick of the way I sounded after about 6 keys, and started messing around. There's a fun country-ish version I found by Cliff Wagner and the Old #7 (new band to me, yay!), and there's a square string quartet version available on Itunes. I thought, what would I do with this song if I were to play it in a way that comes naturally to me? So, I put it in 3, and put the first half of the verse in Lydian mode, which made it sound really creepy and Sondheim-y (if I may flatter myself).

It occurs to me that I should record myself and post some of the recordings here. Readers, you have permission to bug me about this. One of my other major projects this year is slaying my dragon of music technolophobia, so I'm putting this out there in the cyber universe so I can be guilted into actually doing it.

Now, about that cheese...


  1. Yes, yes you did outshine us in Theory, you were so good at it that on occasion you'd forget your lunch.... :p

    And PLEASE post some records up!!! That would be great!!


  2. Okay Kat - I should admit that I don't recognize all the songs you blog about. But I do love Billy Joel! (even if I'm limited to my one CD of him from High School) Do you know Lullaby? I'm not sure if that's the exact title - but it starts with "Good night my angel..." I would LOVE to hear you do that one...I'll keep buggin you if you want me too!

  3. yes! I love that song! it's on my list - I'll do that one soon.