Summer Jam

May 9, 2009 4:29 PM

How shaved ice saved my life (or not)

This is a sort of almost a Music Challenge entry except not really. I set out to remake one of the first songs I wrote and recorded in the summer of 2007, which was this song "snowcone" which was (literally) about being hot in summer and eating a snowcone. You can hear that here (embedded player, sorry, don't have a copy of the MP3 on this computer). I really like the keyboard sound on the old version but the vocals are, well, something. I started to try to make a version that sounded really crisp and clean, inspired by like, Gonzalez's production on Feist's first album or late-period Yo La Tengo. As things came together, though, I decided I liked the instrumental enough to want to write a new song instead of remaking the old one, so I wrote a summer song about summer songs. There are still one or two things I might change in it but I've listened to it a LOT and it's done enough for now.

One main question I have is whether the slight out-of-tuneness of the sampled vocal synth part at the end bothers people. I didn't even notice it for a long time and by then I couldn't tell if it was annoying because I had heard it a million times or because it was actually annoying. Does it bother you?

posted by raisindebt (7 comments total)

summer song
i've gotta sing a summer song
to stop me from feeling wrong
it's the season where we belong

summer jam
let's get retarded like
the breaks are higher than hoover dam
you dance and shake and i grab your hand

hot (hot hot hot) are you are you are you
hot hot hot hot hot hot
or are you not not not not not
maybe you're too cold cold

summer song
we're getting higher than cheech and chong
like cisco and the thong thong thong
everybody wants to sing along

summer jam
no more classes, no more exams
no autumn sweaters, just summer tans
the waves'll hit you like a body slam


summer song
summer jam
posted by raisindebt at 4:40 PM on May 9, 2009

new mix -- i think i fixed (or at least seriously improved) the problem i was talking about.
posted by raisindebt at 9:02 PM on May 9, 2009

This had a slightly unhinged quality that I liked. It needs to EXPLODE at some point - I was imagining a pretty brutal sub-metal thing would work well - in-yer-face, f*ck you sound. The simple chord progression/overall structure would work well with that approach. Don't know if you've got the gear to do that, but worth a pop?
posted by MajorDundee at 1:48 PM on May 10, 2009

I like how slight the production is. It does remind me of Autumn Sweater-era Yo La Tengo. It also sounds like what Sondre Lerche would sound like if his lyrics made sense. And the vocal samples at the end are great. Are they mellotron samples? I do think they are somewhat out-of-tune in both mixes, but I don't think it bothers me.
posted by umbĂș at 5:38 PM on May 10, 2009

I really like your lyrics. "summer jam/let's get retarded like" is a great line and the chorus is brilliant. It's easy to imagine this as a summer hit dance song.

One thing I don't like is the electronic panned voice that says "cold cold cold". It sounds unnecessarily synthesized and it's not something that "adds" to the song, in my opinion. The voice samples at the end (provided we are talking about the keyboard that does the last "figure" and not the voices that say "summer song summer jam" don't really bother me, but the song could end in the last "summer jam" and it would be alright. I mean, they don't bother me, but I don't think they are indispensable.
posted by micayetoca at 5:55 AM on May 11, 2009

Thanks so much for the comments!

MajorDundee -- That's an interesting idea, although I don't know if I could pull it off at this point, either equipment or playing-wise.

umbĂș -- It's actually just a clip of me going "ohhhhhh" played in a sampler. It kind of brings up an interesting possibility, though -- maybe I'll try switching it out with a mellotron choir or something.

micayetoca -- I take your point. I was worried about the chorus feeling too sparse and kind of dead and so I was trying to introduce some elements to fill it out without having to bring in any more instruments than I already had -- playing with my voice seemed like a decent compromise. I might have gone too far, though.
posted by raisindebt at 5:43 AM on May 13, 2009

Someone sent me this track a while ago and I just put it into rotation today, and I've been listening to it pretty much on repeat all day. It's a gorgeous song, and totally, totally underrated. There's a really wistful and poignant quality that I absolutely love. If you ever produce an album at some point...
posted by Phire at 6:01 PM on May 19, 2011

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