Pair #19: "Laika Loves Bananas"

"LAIKA LOVES BANANAS"
Original Post Date: August 16, 2009
Runtime: 0:57
Genres: Children's/Pop
Compilation Album:
Skinny Jeans

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] "a lighthearted song" about an energetic child who loves bananas of all kinds, to be used in a short animation


Hello again! Did you miss me? No? Okay!

Here is another character theme: "Laika Loves Bananas." This aggressively wholesome song is the result of a commission from Cristina Rose Chua,* then a student at De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde in the Philippines, for Andrew to compose and produce the opening theme song to her capstone project: an educational animation about the varieties of banana that you can find in the Philippines. (Find the animation itself after the jump!)

At the center of the song, and its associated animation of the same title, is Laika Tan, a child (voiced in the animation by Cristina herself) who, as you might imagine, loves bananas. The animation is targeted at children, and the theme song definitely fits that audience, as well. In typical kids' music fashion, we've got a bright, upbeat hook set to the song title, as well as a bridge containing many adjectives describing the same thing, in this case, bananas.

There isn't a whole lot else to say about this song. If you're looking for some cheering up, definitely give this a listen because it's extremely adorable. (It's also extremely stuck in my head right now.)



*In case you're wondering, like I was in the process of researching this song, where C.R. Chua—as she goes by these days—is today, she does have a website, but it's unfortunately unfinished and seems not to have been updated in over two years. Which is a shame because if you check out her portfolio page, you'll see absolutely incredible (and predictably wholesome) art. Oh! And she's published a graphic novel, as well.

Pair #18: "The Fabulous Flamingos of France"

"THE FABULOUS FLAMINGOS OF FRANCE"
Original Post Date: April 8, 2010
Runtime: 2:11
Genres: Electronic/Pop
Compilation Album:
Skinny Jeans

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] a song about three flamingos—Simple, Phinneus [sic], and Hugo—who are both fancy and French ; character descriptions provided ; genre should be something peppy but morose


A bunch of the paid Songs to Wear Pants To came about as commissions for songs about the requesters' original characters or their pets. My best guess is that "The Fabulous Flamingos of France," falls into the former* category, on account of flamingos' not being common pets….

The requester's suggestion of a peppy but morose genre is the best way to describe this song. It's got an upbeat melody, but there's also something slightly off-putting in the mix. That could be Andrew's breathy crooning, the heavy use of reverb, a combination of both, or something else entirely. In any case, the end result is an interesting one, to be sure.

Each of the verses tells you about one of these oddball flamingo characters. The descriptions are charming but not particularly exciting, save for the occasional joke. No, the best part of the song is the refrain, which will get stuck in your head. The AAAA rhyme scheme—all four lines rhyme with one another!—and the melody make it very catchy and fun to sing alongside.

The prompt's first paragraph references a short story involving these characters, but I am unclear on whether the intention was to have the song be that short story or if the requester meant that "The Fabulous Flamingos of France" was a short story they wrote, for whose characters they wanted Andrew to write a theme. Either way, this is not really a narrative song. Probably could have benefited from a little bit of a narrative to make the verses more meaningful, but at least we got a chorus that slaps.



*That alliteration is ambrosia, eh?

Pair #17: "Girl, I'm Sorry, but I Have to Move"

"GIRL, I'M SORRY, BUT I HAVE TO MOVE"
Original Post Date: June 7, 2005
Runtime: 1:11
Genre: Rock Ballad
Compilation Album: Blue Pants

Prompt Summary: a song about the sadness that results from moving away and thereby losing a girlfriend


Up to now, I have covered a couple of songs that resulted from Andrew taking the prompts he was given and then intentionally misinterpreting the requesters' intentions to hilarious effect. But compared to this "cheeky interpretation," those are mere chuckle-generators; "Girl, I'm Sorry…" is the cheekiest interpretation, and it is excellent.

The original prompt comes off as serious, and if Andrew had played it straight, it could have ended up being a really bittersweet song, like something off his 2010 album Autumn.* Instead, we have this very literal song in which a brokenhearted person apologizes to their girlfriend for moving. But not, like, moving residences. No, like, actually moving. Like physically. At all. As if physical movement were a relationship dealbreaker for the girlfriend.

To add to the funny, Andrew performs the song as an emotional rock ballad, complete with a lyrical suggestion to the girlfriend character to "go out with a guy made of clay and stuff because you wouldn't break its heart like mine," a line that's just quintessentially Songs to Wear Pants To. Heck, this whole song is quintessentially STWPT, with its ridiculous premise (which is itself based on a totally normal one), coupled with moving instrumentals and straight-played vocals.

It's labeled as one of Andrew's personal favorites on the original site, and it's no wonder: it's comedy gold, with or without knowledge of the prompt that inspired it. For that reason, it's also one of my personal favorites.



*I love Autumn because the first song is relatively upbeat, then the songs become increasingly depressing, culminating in "Your Heart," which is beautifully soul-crushing. Actually, I love the album because it's good music, but…. Oh, and one of the tracks on the album was originally a Song to Wear Pants To! (That whole album cycle is perfect, so expect me to reference it repeatedly in the future.)

Pair #16: "Our Love Is Like Dungeons and Dragons"

"OUR LOVE IS LIKE DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS"
Original Post Date: November 12, 2007
Runtime: 0:18
Genre: [Its own thang]
Compilation Album:
Sweat Pants

Prompt Summary: "a love song with the most epic lyrics ever"


(Yeah, I didn't even try to put a genre on this one. David Pumpkins said this one best.) 

We have here a very short, very sweet, very odd, and very nerdy song. The prompt as summarized above is effectively the whole thing, and nowhere does it mention D&D or any other pop culture phenomena. The lyrics that Andrew came up with reference, in order: D&D, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. The references aren't deep cuts, either; D&D is only mentioned by name, Harry's wand gets a fleeting mention, and LotR's reference is just about how "Gandalf gave Frodo the Ring."

Where, then, did these references come from? We'd probably have to ask Andrew for that. I'd do it, but I don't have the time or a method of contacting him. Instead, I'll offer my best guess, which is that Andrew made a cheeky interpretation of the word "epic" from the prompt and decided to reference epic fantasy literature. If that's the case, then well done, sir.

The song's humor comes at you from multiple angles. First, we have the lyrics, which are, again, incredibly shallow, directly contradicting the prompt of "epic." It's like they were written by someone who's emphatically not a nerd, trying very hard to sound like they are. It's like Hillary Clinton's infamous, "Pokémon GO to the polls." Nice.

Another source of humor is the actual singing. Andrew went up to his upper register, possibly to sound like a tweenage girl—if that was his intention, bravo, although if not, then that's still what I got out of this song. The singer also pronounces words in a manner similar to Homestar Runner: Rs and Ls like Ws.* That adds to the juvenile effect; whoever is singing the song "in-universe" probably has no idea what love or kissing is actually like, hence the meaningless pop culture references.

And then remember that this is supposed to be an epic love song. But it's kind of the opposite. The lyrics are blah, the singing is half-hearted at best, and the only instrumental accompaniment is some basic (albeit on-tempo) drumming. The end result is a song that's somehow both extremely endearing and deeply unsettling. Does that count as "epic"? I'll leave that determination up to you. (Aren't I generous?)



*David S. Pumpkins AND Homestar in the same post: check out my nerd cred.

Pair #15: "Big Bob VS Ice Cream Cone"

"BIG BOB VS ICE CREAM CONE"
Original Post Date: June 2, 2004
Runtime: 0:45
Genre: Folk(…?)
Compilation Album:
Green Pants

Prompt Summary: a 45-second song about "Big Bob sunbathing naked on the Piazza" until he gets hit with an ice cream cone and then something happens ; accompaniment must be a harmonica, and the phrase "your mum" must be repeated three times


I had a very, very hard time trying to determine what genre this totally weird song fits into. Like, it's almost got the feel of a children's song, but it's also kinda suggestive. The only instrumental accompaniment comes from a lone harmonica. And the song's about a guy sunbathing with your parents until he gets hit in the head with an ice cream cone. Then the lyrics for the rest of the song consist of various combinations of "blah," "big," "blob," and "Bob." Until the end. When Andrew just sort of does a vocal impression of a loop-de-loop, if that's even possible.

I settled on "folk," but only because that's how Andrew himself classified this song on the original site. And the only possible explanation for that classification is the presence of the harmonica; there is just no other reason why any sober person would classify "Big Bob…" as folk music.

Yeah, so this one's pretty weird! It starts out being about a guy naked on an Italian roof, then it brings your mother into it, and then your father, before finally clarifying that they're only sunbathing. And then, gibberish, because that's apparently the result of getting hit in the head with an ice cream cone? I dunno. Probably best not to over-analyze* this one; just accept it as an enigma.

Anyway, feel free to leave a comment with how you'd classify this song, genre-wise, 'cause I've got nothing.



*The reeeeeal meaning behind this song is, obviously, that ice cream rots sunbathers' brains and that we must take on Big Ice Cream, holding up Big Bob as martyr to our cause, and make sure that they don't interrupt our innocent, nude group sunbathing sessions ever again!

Pair #14: "How I Make a Rap Song, the Process I Go Through Etc"

"HOW I MAKE A RAP SONG, THE PROCESS I GO THROUGH ETC"
Original Post Date: April 3, 2009
Runtime: 2:05
Genre: Hip-hop
Compilation Album:
Skinny Jeans

Prompt Summary: "[…]make a rap song about how you make a rap song, the process you go through etc." That's a direct quote, encompassing all but two words of the entire prompt.


"It’s broken by the endless loads
Of making-ofs and mobisodes"
        - Joss Whedon, "Heart, Broken," Commentary! the Musical (2008)

It takes a special kind of artist to present behind-the-scenes information in song. Joss Whedon was one of them when he and his relatives produced a DVD commentary track that was literally a musical about a musical.* Less than a year later, Andrew gave us this song: "How I Make a Rap Song, the Process I Go Through Etc."

In my last post, I covered legendary STWPT entry "Crunk Juice," one of the finest STWPT examples of Andrew's rap prowess. That's not the only example, however, and fans took notice over the years. One of them requested this particular song, asking Andrew to produce a song about how he makes his rap music…in the form of rap music. People who know me well know that I love anything meta because it gives me good headaches, and this is a level of meta and self-reference that produces migraines. (The good kind…?)

There isn't a whole lot to say about the song without just spelling it out for you. It is, itself, a spectacularly crafted rap song, about how Andrew spectacularly crafts his rap songs. Oh, and if you liked the nerd character from "It's Halloween!" (among others), I have some good news for you…

 "Make it hot like a candle!"



*Controversial opinion: Commentary! is better than Dr. Horrible. Slightly. They're both fantastic, though. The former is just so…about itself.

Pair #13: "Crunk Juice"

"CRUNK JUICE"
Original Post Date: June 30, 2006
Runtime: 1:10
Genre: Hip-hop
Compilation Album: Pink Pants

Prompt Summary: a song about crunk juice, which is a cocktail of Red Bull mixed with any alcoholic beverage (usually gin or vodka)


(Content Warning: copious alcohol references)

"Lucky number thirteen"? You must be crunk.

This essential Song to Wear Pants To, which is both a fan and creator favorite, is a cautionary tale about a drink that definitely never should have existed and that was definitely first mixed by someone who was already blasted out of their mind. Yes, folks, before Four Loko's "original" recipe, there was crunk juice: an unholy combination of Red Bull's unhealthy flood of caffeine and a shot of liquid courage, or in this case, technically "liquid idiocy." Seriously, only a thoroughly inebriated person would consider it a remotely good idea to consume caffeine (a stimulant) and alcohol (a depressant) simultaneously. We talk about hearts being full of love, but after you drink crunk juice, your heart hates you. And so does your brain. And your liver. And basically your whole body. …I would imagine.

Anyway, enough about the drink itself; let's talk about the song. This rap song consists of Andrew spittin' lyrics about how messed up his body is after drinking crunk juice. According to the song, the only reason he drank any in the first place is because of "peer pressure, maaan." And then apparently, he became an addict? I mean, he drinks it in so many different contexts, to the point where he has to drag Dr. Seuss into the song. And of course, there's mention of vomiting, painting a delightful picture with the phrase "crunk juice river."

Subject matter aside, "Crunk Juice" is a solid-gold demonstration of Andrew's rapping abilities, throwing himself into every beat, every syllable. He even expertly pulls off a few consecutive bars of straight sixteenths, wherein each sixteenth is a different syllable. I honestly don't know what he is rapping* during that phrase—even after having listened to the song well over 30 times over the past decade—on account of a hearing thing I have, but I can tell that he's saying actual words and not tripping over any of them, which in and of itself is an impressive feat of articulation.

As you will see in future blog posts, this is one of a small handful of Songs to Wear Pants To that Andrew samples or remixes in future songs. "Crunk Juice," for all of its morbidly hilarious complaining, is part of an elite selection of Songs to Wear Pants To that collectively form the backbone of the project. The "trunk," if you will. Or…"crunk."

"CRUUUUUUUUUUNK!!"

(DISCLAIMER: Neither Pants-a-Day nor Andrew Huang condones the consumption of crunk juice. The song is actually a warning against doing so, and you should heed it. Nobody is responsible for the consequences of crunk juice consumption but yourself. Don't try to blame your "hip-hop crew" or "the punk dudes.")



*You can actually find the lyrics to most Songs to Wear Pants To on the archived official site, but note that anything Andrew adlibbed just got put down as "[Adlib.]" Luckily, that doesn't apply to "Crunk Juice."

Pair #12: "I Am a Clam"

"I AM A CLAM"
Original Post Date: September 9, 2004
Runtime: 1:09
Genre: Ballad
Compilation Album: Green Pants

Prompt Summary: a calming song to play as hold music to sedate angry callers, as sung by a clam ; lyrics included


Heck. Yes.

"I Am a Clam" is one of my all-time STWPT favorites because it's perfect in every way. Way 1: it's hold muzak. Way 2: it tells you how to feel. Way 3: clams.

The original prompt was pretty specific—and, ironically, loud; click on the song title above to view the post on the original site, including the prompt text, and you'll see what I mean. It provided Andrew with a particular use case, lyrics, and even a preferred "voice": a clam. It seems that the requester came up with a clam because it is an anagram of "calm," and they had already typed "calm" a few times in one form or another. This person sounds excellent; I like the way they think.

True to the prompt, this song is direct and to the point: "You are on hold; don't be angry." The song is actually a short loop played a bunch of times in a row, so you'll be reminded of your hold status quite a bit. As a calming loop, it is a slow, acoustic ballad. And then it cuts off at one point in the middle of a repetition, with no warning. That makes it better. Not because you are sick of hearing that you are on hold and should calm the frak down, but rather because you are no longer on hold. Because the song is over. Which is also kind of sad. If I were ever on hold while this song looped ad nauseum, I'd want to be on hold forever.

Of course, there's still the elephant in the room: what's with the clam? If you remember from my post on "I Am a Tree," Andrew's "I Am Things" songs are always written from the perspective of the thing or person in the title. And sure enough, the prompt called for the song to be sung as if by a clam. So…is it? Is it really? There is nothing (obvious) indicating that the singer is a clam. Is this tenor voice what Andrew believes a singing clam sounds like? The world may never know. (Feel free to post your clam-related thoughts in the comments below this post.)

We do know one thing: this song is a pearl. And that's an objective fact.* I will fight you.



*A less objective fact, but still a fact, is that it has been exactly one month since I started the blog! Sweet!

Pair #11: "It's Halloween!"

"IT'S HALLOWEEN!"
Original Post Date: October 27, 2010
Runtime: 4:07
Genre: Pop/Hip-Hop/Reggae/Holiday
Compilation Album: Corduroys, with Tassles

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] write an "Andrew-esque" Halloween song to fill the void of good Halloween songs


As far as titles that are more than a little on the nose…. I present to you, "It's Halloween!" Because it is. Or it will be a few hours after when I am writing this. Or maybe you're reading this in the future…? Gah, time is wibbly-wobbly nonsense.

Given that this song is the result of a paid commission, Andrew went all out with this song, and it shows. It's a fun celebration of everything that makes Halloween what it is today, from the costumes and characters to the candy and spoops. And it's all packaged in a catchy, upbeat pop/rap song.

"It's Halloween!" comes from late into Songs to Wear Pants To's life cycle, released about two weeks before "PFUDOR," and while a smaller percentage of songs at that point were rap songs, this one is a clear demonstration that Andrew's rhyme-spittin' skillz had not atrophied a bit and, in fact, had bulked up.

This song features cultural references galore, namedropping superheroes, sidekicks, supporting characters, and more. Perhaps the only reference that's dated is also the funniest in retrospect: "Swine Flu Guy," a reference to the H1N1 pandemic that was winding down at the time. (Remember when global pandemics only lasted a year and then went away? Good times.) Andrew's nerd character also makes a special appearance starting from the bridge, after a flawless transition.

But the worst/best part of the song is its extremely catchy chorus that is properly stuck in my head as I type this. You've been warned. Fuahahahahahahaaaaaa!

Suck it, "Monster Mash," "Thriller." This should be the most iconic Halloween anthem.* Yeah, I went there.



*Also, petition to make "Shoot the Zombies" another Halloween anthem. (If I'm still doing this blog in a year, that's next year's Halloween song. If I don't cover it before then. Must…resist…)

Pair #10: "Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows"

"PINK FLUFFY UNICORNS DANCING ON RAINBOWS"
Original Post Date: November 10, 2010
Runtime: 1:33
Genre: Children's
Compilation Album: Corduroys, with Tassles

Prompt Summary: literally, just the title of the song, with a little extra punctuation


Wait just a dang second! This song is from Songs to Wear Pants To‽ What

Yes! It's true! Viral sensation "Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows," that song that your seven-year-old child has blasted on a loop for hours on end* is an Andrew Huang original, through and through, and it's the reason that his YouTube subscriber count multiplied by some power of ten (from an already hefty 3,000) in a matter of weeks. Heck, you probably knew about this song and about Andrew's YouTube channel before you'd ever heard of Songs to Wear Pants To. But the truth is, without Songs to Wear Pants To, this song probably would never have happened.

So how did it happen? According to Andrew's retrospective making-of video, this STWPT prompt wasn't so much as an intentional song request emailed to him, as it was some random comment someone left on one of his YouTube videos—okay, foreshadowing. Shortly after posting the video a day after posting the song on STWPT.com, the song apparently made it to the front page of Reddit(!), where the fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—a fandom known for its pony-themed music videosate. it. up. Soon, cartoon pony music videos and amateur covers eclipsed Andrew's original in popularity, to the point where Andrew was being accused of ripping off himself, a magic trick so impressive that, were it true, it could have earned Andrew an honorary doctorate from the Interwebs School of Witchcraft and Intellectual Property Magicks.

"But Eden, I don't have kids or spend time on the internet, and now I feel old for not knowing that this song existed." Fair enough, although the real reason you feel old is that Soul Train is over half a century old and Friends is 28, and that's just as of the date I originally wrote this.

"Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows," referred to by Andrew—and, starting right now, yours truly—as "PFUDOR," is an upbeat, kid-friendly song that's exactly as cute as the title would suggest. A bright ukelele serves as the rhythm section for a bright xylophone and a bright flute. It's a very bright-sounding song, as you can imagine. Perhaps blindingly so.

Lyrically (and technically musically, too), "FPUDOR" follows an ABA structure. The "A" section consists of the song's title, sung repeatedly to the melody. The "B" section is my personal favorite part: a pop-quiz break about "what we've learned so far." The questions concern facts one can glean from the title, while the Andrew-voiced chorus answers them with absolute glee. The funniest part is the last question and answer, which I won't spoil but will just say that the comedic timing is legendary and should have been the only reason this song went viral.

While I shake my head that this is the STWPT that went truly viral—it's totally a good entry and fits snugly with the rest of the STWPT oeuvre, but…"Shoot the Zombies"? "Celtic Techno Burrito"? "Don't Feel Bad"? All meme-worthy songs—at least Andrew has finally found the internet fame he has deserved all along. It just boggles my mind that it didn't happen until the final year or so of the STWPT project.



*Hey. Hey. It's not "Baby Shark." So remember: it could always be worse.