This Song Will Uncure Your Depression¶
Download The Song (still haven't settled on which CC license)
I enrolled in a hip hop songwriting course and need something for the final project. I also happened to participate in #looptober on fedi for the first time.
On 2023-10-14, I came up with some beats, chords and a guitar solo, despite me not able to play guitar irl:
It was fire so i added a couple more things
The sample you hear at the beginning is recorded by me as I landed at DTW, Detroit, to begin my two years of study at UMich. I also added some pitch bend to the guitar.
On 2023-10-17, I recorded a bassline for the solo. This version is recorded at 0.5x and sped up because I invented the bassline literally 10 minutes ago. In the final product however I made it 1:1.
There's also this distorted fuzzy guitar sound:
Of course, this is no real guitar. It's actually my bass with effects in Guitarix.
I am genuinely pleased by myself. It is the first thing I'm proud of since the omurice I cooked on september 24.
At this point it's getting serious. I'm actually thinking about making this a full song. Especially when my hip hop professor got sick and asked us to submit something online, which seems like the perfect chance to drain every joule of energy into this song. It's healthy I swear.
Long story short, this is the thing that came out of LMMS on 2023-10-27:
Meanwhile, I took some training to use a studio we have in the library. I made a reservation on Saturday morning, 2023-10-28.
It is Friday evening. I just realized I don't have the lyrics.
Prior to writing, I made several yes's and no's for myself.
- don't be passive aggressive.
- don't blame innocent people.
- don't overuse STEM metaphors.
- don't make people suicidal.
- do acknowledge your vulnerability.
- do make the lyrics genuine and relatable.
- do allow double takes and liberal interpretations.
- do misspell a word just to sound good.
What do I need? Well, four verses, one prechorus, one chorus, and one bridge. (Spoiler: I couldn't come up with anything for the bridge.) Just need to throw in eighth notes and triplets until they rhyme.
Did I stick to the rules? Well…
What you are listening to is the final product, produced on 2023-10-31.
- acknowledge my vulnerabilities
- make lyrics genuine
- misspell words
- use computer jargon once
- allow interpretations
Actually, seven lines were taken from my "museum of garbage". It's a note on my phone. When my brain's garbage facility fabricates a sentence that sounds like a lyric, I put it here.
However, it seems I have failed to not be passive aggressive. Everything I wrote sounds negative. This is sadly very common in bands I drew inspiration from, such as Linkin Park. I will try to make it more positive next time.
Ironically I missed the bus from my apartment to the library, so I had to wait twenty minutes for the next one. Anyway, I got in the studio on time. There is a Focusrite Scarlett interface, which had a whopping four inputs. I only need one though. The mic is Shure SM-something, and it's not bad. The Scarlett is plugged into the Mac on the desk and is not supposed to rewired. I rewired it anyway.
I would like to thank PipeWire and people who do kernel stuff for handling audio flawlessly. But amdgpu crashed twice.
The studio had the exact same headphones I use at home which is nice.
After a two hour session my throat hurts, but it's impressive I had enough productivity to finish this.
We're back from the studio! Heading back home to record bass. Although I'm not good at using a pick, I did it anyway for the punch.
See appendix for tabs and audio
I do not want to go into details because it's all guesswork. I guess that's loud enough. I guess that's enough reverb. I do not enjoy mixing audio. I had a version on 2023-10-28 which I thought could work, but turned out too quiet. I had to use another whole bunch of compression to get it as loud as possible while not raping your ears.
The background is the glass wall of the Central Campus Transit Center bus stop, the busiest place on campus. It was plastered with posters related to Israel-Palestine days prior, then scrubbed, leaving heavy residue. I took this picture on my way back from the studio. Incidentally, I saw the first election poster this year, on the back of the wall (not pictured). I feel this photo captures the theme of the song.
I like this song as a concept. I really put my musicussy into it, and it's as good as I can possibly achieve.
I would rate the music 4 stars out of 5. The guitar solo is obviously the single best thing throughout, but the bass and drums are just as good. Some room for improvement:
- More spicy chords
- Variable tempo
- Time changes
- The bridge sounds out of place
Lyrically, I would rate it 3.5 stars. While I will not reveal the intended meaning, it reflects a period of cultural shock and unease as I adapt to a new environment. As said earlier I have fallen into the "rant about everything" trap, completely neglecting the positives in life. However one thing's for sure: I have surpassed Green Day's latest single, "The American Dream Is Killing Me".
Vocal is not my forte, so I'm not gonna be overcritical of myself. However, in my next song I could work on putting more emotion into the rapping.
Appendix I. Lyrics¶
Due to unfortunate circumstances, I'm in Detroit
Fourteen hours in the air my legs don't feel great
The violent vibration is worsening my condition
There's no way I'm already out of UTC+8
I never ask for help, the things under my belt
The shame when I depend, the pride let me do it again
But when I close my eyes, when I cuddle my blåhaj
I wish it was someone, someone make me warm inside
Why am I not getting what I deserve?
You said the grades won't be on a curve
Look at my algo it's big O(no)
Well in fact never mind now I see why
I'd rather spend a night with Turing
Than the silicon I'm abusing
And the patience I'm losing
Shut it down, you see we're cruising
Will you be
At the party after another divide?
I can't afford
The dawn's early light, oh yeah
I woke up late and I missed the bus (fuck)
I guess that just what happens when you don't have a car
The more I learned, the harder it become
Your self esteem-ate only goes so far
I'm walking (I'm walking)
I'm walking by the willow trees and watching (I'm watching)
Watching out for the stupid geese
Und ich kann davon erzählen, wie die Schmerzen fangen an
Appendix II. Chord progression¶
Am G Am Dm (6x)
Am G Em Am Bdim
Am G Em F
Am G Am Dm
Am G C Am
Am C Bdim Am
C Dm Am Bdim
Am C Bdim Am
C Dm Am Am
Am C Bdim Am
C Dm Am Esus4
(I'm not actually sure. I kinda butchered around)
Am C Bdim Am
C Dm Am C
Appendix III. Bass tabs¶
G --------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------| D --------|--------|--------|0-0---0-|--------|--------|--------|--------| A 0---0--0|--------|0---0--0|--------|0---0--0|--------|3---3--3|0-0-----| E --------|3-3---3-|--------|--------|--------|3-3---3-|--------|--------|
[Chorus 2 & 3] (first seven bars are the same as 1)
8 G |--------| D |2-0-----| A |----3-0-| E |--------|
G --------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------|--------| D --------|--------|----0033|22220---|--------|--------|--------|--------| A 0000----|--------|--22----|-----330|00000000|22222233|--------|--------| E ----0-00|001-3333|11------|--------|--------|--------|0000000 |111 1---| \3_/ \3_/
Appendix IV. Musical influences¶
Lyrics mostly inspired by Linkin Park, Bill Wurtz and twenty one pilots
"The dawn's early light" line came up while singing Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" in the shower
Rapping style inspired by Linkin Park and twenty one pilots
Guitar solo at 2:50 unintendedly sounds like "Thank You For The Venom" by My Chemical Romance
Appendix V. Tools Used¶
- Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
- Shure SM-48
- Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
- Behringer UMC22
- Squier Affinity PJ bass
- Audio-Technica ATH-M20x