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April is the cruellest challenge, breeding Songs out of the dead land...

March 28, 2012 6:34 AM

April Challenge - Into the Waste Land

The challenge for April 2012 is to use lyrics from everyone's favorite poet who reads his own work like a railway announcer - T.S. Eliot. Specifically, borrow from The Waste Land. Lyrics may be bent, twisted, spindled, folded, mutilated, or assembled into Markov chains, but if you're modifying the original, please make note of what words/parts/stanzas you used as source material. At the end of the challenge, I'm going to try and and see which segments of the poem were used, which weren't touched, and if there's any overlap between the submissions.

Please tag your entries with "musicchallenge" and "wasteland".
posted by dubold (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

O O O O that Shakespeherian Rag—
It’s so elegant
So intelligent

Iambic pentameter just for the hell of it
Doing the Shakespeherian Rag
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:12 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


huh, not that I've been able to make any of these lately, but I think I'd rather nail my dick to a board than set that poem to music. Maybe I'll record that.
posted by sleepy pete at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Damn! If it was Yeats I'd have this shit in the bag.

In any case, if
Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc’d.
Tereu
isn't the chorus to a Ramones-alike tune then I don't know what is.
posted by cortex at 3:00 PM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fucking great. Love it.

Hint: Eliot is often taking the piss.
posted by unSane at 5:44 PM on March 28, 2012


I think I'd rather nail my dick to a board than set that poem to music. Maybe I'll record that.

jim dandy of black oak arkansas beat you to that years ago
posted by pyramid termite at 2:39 AM on March 29, 2012


I think I'd rather nail my dick to a board than set that poem to music.

I'm calling your bluff!

seriously though, you don't think you can use any of the words in that poem, in any order, for lyrics?
posted by dubold at 4:23 AM on March 29, 2012


Ironically, The Waste Land is a veritable cornucopia of lyrical ideas.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:34 PM on March 29, 2012


I'm sort of disappointed it isn't Four Quartets, which has some fantastic lyrics, especially,

I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled

Which is a chorus if I ever heard one. Also the ragged claws.
posted by unSane at 12:37 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bring 'em on in. I mean, Stephen King repeatedly referenced The Waste Land over the course of the Dark Tower books, which also dipped repeatedly into other works in his own canon, so by the associative property of cultural arithmetic we're more than justified in bringing Eliot's other work in. And we might also become incredibly rich and famous in the process.
posted by cortex at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2012


I hereby predict that four out of five songs submitted will be built like so:


What shall I do now/What shall I do
I shall rush out as I am/and walk the street
With my hair down, so/What shall we do
to-morrow

What shall we ever do?/The hot water at ten
And if it rains/a closed car at four
And we shall play a game of chess/Pressing lidless eyes
and waiting for a knock upon the door


hopefully saying this will cause everyone to avoid using these lyrics, thus reserving them for myself
posted by davejay at 2:19 PM on March 29, 2012


Maybe it's lazy but I'm totally sticking with the whole seasons thing the beginning. I've already written the lyrics (feel free to use these if you want just credit me):

Les Saisons
o when the snow falls down
covering the ground
winter keeps us warm and we forget

of fall we do not sing
and all the pain it brings
shaking in its red and yellow threat

and i was frightened
but he said
hold on hold on hold on
and i was frightened
and they said
hold on hold on marie
in the mountains we are free

while in the summer shock
the sunlight spurns the clock
we drink coffee and we talk awhile

yet in the colonnade
take shelter from the rain
sunlight in the garden makes me smile

and i was frightened
but he said
hold on hold on hold on
and i was frightened
and they said
hold on hold on marie
in the mountains we are free

but spring time is the worst one of them all
the purple flowers grow and grow and grow
and in your heart you know you know you know
that april is the cruellest month
oh april is the cruellest month
for memories and lusts to be exposed

and i was frightened
but he said
hold on hold on hold on
and i was frightened
and they said
hold on hold on marie
in the mountains we are free
in the mountains we are free
in the mountains we are free

and we will bury all our dead
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:24 PM on March 29, 2012


I'm sort of disappointed it isn't Four Quartets, which has some fantastic lyrics, especially,

I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear the bottom of my trousers rolled


That's The Lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock, isn't it?

Thirty years ago, because I hated any attempts I made at lyrics, I used to use poems for lyrics a lot (for example, all the poems in the booklet that came free with John Cooper Clarke's Snap, Crackle & Bop, which turned out to be the lyrics from his previous album. Sadly the Invisible Girls' music was better than anything I came up with). And as I wasn't actually playing the songs to anyone, I had room to overextend. By which I mean I turned the whole of The Wasteland into the prog rock concept album from hell, if you could have a prog rock album played on an acoustic guitar by someone who's singing quietly enough that they won't be heard outside the room.

Still better than fucking Cats, though.
posted by Grangousier at 6:02 AM on March 30, 2012


Still better than fucking Cats, though.


I'm told they scratch like hell even after dinner and a movie.
posted by dubold at 6:03 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


By which I mean I turned the whole of The Wasteland into the prog rock concept album from hell, if you could have a prog rock album played on an acoustic guitar by someone who's singing quietly enough that they won't be heard outside the room.

link please!
posted by dubold at 6:04 AM on March 30, 2012


Interesting challenge. I've always found these lines particularly unsettling:

I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust


Evelyn Waugh wrote a quietly disturbing novel based on part of the last line above viz "A Handful Of Dust", and that opens up other lyrical possibilities (if you've not read it - highly recommended, one of Waugh's best along with Brideshead, the Sword of Honour trilogy and, of course, the peerless Scoop).

Definitely, Lord Copper.....
posted by MajorDundee at 11:58 AM on March 30, 2012


alright, still finishing up my attempt. in between rounds of working on that one, i came up with this one: using just the non-word syllables of the poem.

lots of delay and reverb, tuned resonators, and my son singing along. He's three and loves microphones. (A round of applause, please, because he sat very silently while I was recording and waited until it was his turn. also, some of the phasing/delay/overdrive sounds are him holding various things over my mouth while i sang.) Thanks to Katine's trumpet loops for the inspiration.
posted by dubold at 6:37 AM on April 10, 2012


you don't think you can use any of the words in that poem, in any order, for lyrics?

You could be quite technically correct by just doing a techno dance tune... at some point in the song you get, once, shout outs to the homies: "Jerusalem!... Athens!... Alexandria!... Vienna!... London!..."
posted by Meatbomb at 6:39 AM on April 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


this is an excellent idea and whoever thought of it is smart and also very attractive and good with animals.
posted by The Whelk at 9:39 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's that? Do the whole thing in a couple weeks, in long-form ambience?

::suits up::

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:13 PM on April 11, 2012


You could be quite technically correct by just doing a techno dance tune... at some point in the song you get, once, shout outs to the homies: "Jerusalem!... Athens!... Alexandria!... Vienna!... London!..."

bonus points if you do it as sir terry wogan.
posted by dubold at 3:48 AM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


So...this may or may not come together COMPLETELY before the end of the month, but I'm definitely putting together a full concept piece/album using the full text of the poem, with 6 or 7 different speakers/singers, and full improvised instrumentation. I should at least have a couple of sections done in time for month's end.

Fortunately, also, The Wasteland also appears to be in the Public Domain in the U.S., so I can sell the album online without dealing with a bunch of copyright bullshit. Huzzah!
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 11:09 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could be quite technically correct by just doing a techno dance tune

(Re-arrange old possum's book of practical cats)

Boots 'n' cats 'n' boots 'n' cats 'n' boots 'n' cats

There, techno...
posted by empath at 6:04 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


All the music's in the can, probably 75% of the text/vocals have been recorded. Finishing this whole poem by the end of the month should be a piece of piss. This whole crash piece/album is actually starting to come together beautifully. Here's a quick and dirty demo of section I: The Burial of the Dead, featuring whamola, bowed cymbals, theremin, and mixing bowls (and I really mean stainless steel mixing bowls from my kitchen, struck with tympani mallets in various ways). The vocals in the demo are just a quick demo read-through by me for time-reference; the final vocals willl be one of my co-workers and his fiancée. The final cast for the album will be somewhere between 8-10, between vocalists and instrumentalists.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 9:43 PM on April 22, 2012


CHALLENGE COMPLETE!

Not in time to get it all posted here before the end of the month, but in time to call it complete by then. The prologue/Mvt. 1 will be posted shortly.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:47 PM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


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