Pair #32: "The Owl and His CRX"

"THE OWL AND HIS CRX"
Original Post Date: October 11, 2008
Runtime: 3:25
Genres: Electronic/Pop/Children's
Compilation Album: Sweat Pants

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] a song, in the style of Perrey and Kingsley, about an owl named Enrique who drives a baby-blue Honda CRX among the trees, crashing for fun ; prompt includes other details about Enrique to incorporate into the lyrics


I can't wait any longer:* I gotta discuss "The Owl and His CRX." You don't yet know how incredible this song is, and I write that with zero sarcasm. It's one of my absolute favorite Songs to Wear Pants To, and it's probably in my top 50 songs overall.

This paid song is the result of a mosaic-like request, with a lot of pieces that together form a strangely wholesome, well, whole. The star of the song is Enrique the Owl, whose bestest friend EVAR is a baby-blue Honda CR-X, a compact sports car that was only manufactured from '83 to '91. Enrique drives the car between trees, somehow defying gravity, but always ends up crashing into the trees. Like George of the Jungle, except it's an owl in a car. So…not like George of the Jungle. The truly wholesome part is how much Enrique cares about his CR-X, as well as the chorus:

Hoot-hoot
Enrique the Owl
Honk-honk
The Honda CRX
Hoot-hoot
Enrique the Owl

Let's go for a ride!

I mean, that's just incredible stuff. Lyrically, it's sweet, but combined with a mega-catchy hook, it's absolutely delightful.

The instrumentals rely heavily on Moog-y synths, as inspired by the music of Perrey and Kingsley, an electronic music duo from the 1960s who were among the first to use the Moog in the studio. (The Moog synthesizer, pronounced "mohg," was the first widely-used electronic music synthesizer. If you've ever heard classic rock music from the mid- to late-60s, you've almost definitely heard a Moog.) The result is a bright, retrofuturistic sound with a beat that kids, kids-at-heart, and basically anybody with both a soul and the ability to hear will find infectious.

Hoot-hoot, y'all. And honk-honk, too.



*Ironically, I started writing this post in March, a full eight months before I actually finished and posted it. I guess I was able to wait to discuss this song, after all? Let's pretend otherwise.

Pair #31: "Shoot the Zombies"

"SHOOT THE ZOMBIES"
Original Post Date: January 16, 2007
Runtime: 1:15
Genres: Pop/Novelty
Compilation Album: Pink Pants

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] a short, upbeat, catchy song about zombies' habits and how to kill them


Like a zombie rising from the grave, I return with a post about the song I promised on last Halloween to cover this Halloween. Where have I been?* Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…brains???

One of the most treasured Songs to Wear Pants To, "Shoot the Zombies" is a hilarious tonal mismatch between music and lyrics. On the one hand, you have some rather graphic lyrics about zombies and zombie murder, while on the other, you have a jaunty pop beat, complete with jangly guitar and a fast pace. Truly a magnificent combination of pop-culture phenomena: upbeat pop music, zombies, and violence.

If you're squeamish, you may or may not want to steer clear of "Shoot the Zombies." One particularly gruesome line, sung against a sparse yet ironically cheerful guitar instrumental, is, "They'll limp around in blood and cover things in stains." While not as explicit as it could have been, it still paints…quite a picture! The song also explains that "the best way to kill zombies is by shooting them in the head," which is a profoundly violent piece of advice that is especially jarring to hear in such a peppy melody.

It's that juxtaposition of dark lyrics and light music, paired with the beloved, memetic topic of zombies, that likely shot this song close to the top of STWPT's all-time list. I'm personally not a fan of zombies—I find them uninspired and boring—but I can never get enough of "Shoot the Zombies." It's one of Andrew's funniest and, violence aside, most fun songs.

In the original STWPT website post for this song, Andrew tagged this song with some heavy-hitters, including "Andrew's Favorites," "Fan Favorites," and the prestigious "Front Page" tag, which ensured that it would show up on the site's front page after the project died down. Another curious tag included was "Instruction Manuals," which only showed up on a small handful of songs throughout the years, including—as I just noticed almost a full year after writing about it—"How I Make a Rap Song…." These seem to be analogous to narrative songs, but instead of telling a story, they provide directions for accomplishing some sort of task, like making a rap song…or killing zombies effectively. (Can you actually kill a zombie, though? Aren't they technically already dead? I dunno. Stupid.)

One of the last Songs to Wear Pants To was a remix of "Shoot the Zombies," in an even lighter musical style reminiscent of "Pink Fluffy Unicorns…," which makes for an even wilder tonal inconsistency. This remix apparently never showed up on the STWPT website, but it is included towards the end of the last album, Corduroy, with Tassles (2011). You can also check it out on YouTube. As of this posting, the remix is one of the top 5 most listened-to songs by Songs to Wear Pants To on Spotify.

If you go trick-or-treating tonight, please leave your firearms home. Any zombies you see are definitely living human beings in costume and/or makeup and not actual zombies. Probably.



*I started another post back in March(!) that I completely forgot about until today lol. It's, like, at least 2/3 done, so I'm not sure why I never got around to finishing it. Oh, well! I'll do that in the near future. I pwomise!

Pair #30: "Haircuts, They Are So Magical"

"HAIRCUTS, THEY ARE SO MAGICAL"
Original Post Date: June 14, 2010
Runtime: 0:25
Genre: Ska
Compilation Album: Corduroys, with Tassles

Prompt Summary: "a song that lists all the different kinds of haircuts"


Hey, you.* Time to make some New Year's resolutions. It's been almost a year, or longer, since your last haircut. Go get one. Specifically, get a bowl cut.

…And scene. That was my excellent attempt to tie the season into today's Song to Wear Pants To. I accept tips in the form of kittens.

Speaking of today's Song to Wear Pants To, I present "Haircuts, They Are So Magical," a fun short from late in the site's lifespan. It's also the first track on the sixth and final compilation album, and it's probably the best opener of any of them.

This high-energy ska song came about after someone asked Andrew to make a song listing every kind of haircut, a tall—like a beehive—order, considering new haircuts are invented basically every day. It opens up with the title, describing haircuts as magical and plentiful. And then Andrew starts his list. It has one item in it.

Yes, folks, apparently, we all have bowl cuts. And Andrew thinks it looks bad, too. So if you've ever wanted to be gaslit—assuming you don't actually have a bowl cut—and insulted within a ten-second timespan, this song was made for you.



*I addressed this post's first article to a very specific person. Assuming he ever reads this, he knows who he is…

Pair #29: "The Most Exciting Thing I Did in the Past Year Freestyle"

"THE MOST EXCITING THING I DID IN THE PAST YEAR FREESTYLE"
Original Post Date: July 12, 2005
Runtime: 0:34
Genre: Rap
Compilation Album: Pink Pants

Prompt Summary: an experimental song that's 35 seconds or less about the most exciting thing Andrew did in the past year, accompanied by instruments no one would be able to recognize


It's the end of a year, so let's take a moment to reflect on it. Mine was stressful, how about yours?

Okay, moment over. Let's check in on Andrew, with this awkward freestyle from 2005, "The Most Exciting Thing I Did in the Past Year Freestyle."

Your first impression may be, "Was this produced by a nine-year-old?". Everything about the track screams "amateur," which was most definitely the intention here. The backing instrumentals are discordant. (I think I hear claves?) The rap delivery is very drunk-guy-at-an-open-mic-thing. And the narrative is…implausible.* But then, so are most narratives in Songs to Wear Pants To.

Andrew recorded a handful of freestyle raps over the course of Songs to Wear Pants To. He performs most of them in this awkward, nervous style. By definition, the lyrics are entirely improvised. So you can safely expect them to end up in a very different place than where they started.

"Word to your whole family!" Happy New Year, folks. Let's all do better in 2023.



*I'm not sure which STWPT narrative is less plausible: this or "The History of Stwpt.com"?

Pair #28: "15984 BPM"

"15984 BPM"
Original Post Date: October 2, 2008
Runtime: 2:58
Genres: Spoken Word/Electronic
Compilation Album:
Sweat Pants

Prompt Summary: a song that's faster than any song that's come before it, with snails as a possible topic


I would hardly call this track a song. It's certainly about a piece of music. And technically, there's music playing for most of it. It's just…you can't really tell. Because it's too fast for the human brain to comprehend.

Yes, indeed, as the prompt requested, Andrew tried to write a song that breaks the record for "BPMs," otherwise known as beats per minute, otherwise known as tempo. The end result doesn't exactly do that, but Andrew did write a song—an electronic song, specifically—then loop it, and then play back the loop for us at a whopping 15,984 BPM. And yes, it does sound like a tinny droning. Is that music? You decide!

Instead of centering around a very fast song, this track centers around the tempo at which Andrew plays back his new loop* in real time. He starts it out at that very specific, large number—was the previous tempo record 15,983 BPM? Or is there some significance to the sum of 999×16?—and then, over the course of almost three minutes, slows it down gradually. As you can imagine, it takes most of the track to get from that astronomical number down to a tempo at which it actually has any discernible rhythm, let alone melody, which is at roughly the original tempo's square root. You'll start to notice a bass beat around the two-minute mark; you'll hear a more complete song around fifteen seconds later.

But it's not just a waiting game. (And that's a good thing because for most of the slowdown, it is impossible to make out any differences, other than in pitch.) Throughout the process, Andrew adlibs about…random things. Including, as suggested by the prompt, snails. I think he also mentions something about having three ears? I dunno.

What carries this track are two things: 1) the suspense as you wait to hear what the loop actually sounds like, and 2) Andrew's meandering and/or nonsense spoken-word performance. So, as your 2022 winds down, and you reflect on the year that was, take three minutes to listen to all of the BPMs and some ramblings from a slightly bored-sounding sound engineer; you won't be disappointed.



*This track is a bit of a shame because I do like the loop he created for it. It's kinda chiptuney. Unfortunately, you can't really make any of it out for more than thirty seconds or so. Oh, and if this weren't a loop, he'd have to have written a song that's, like, an hour long in order to get it to last this whole track. (If anyone does the math on this, please let me know in the comments!)

Pair #27: "This Girl"

"THIS GIRL"
Original Post Date: August 15, 2005
Runtime: 0:27
Genres: Pop/Rock
Compilation Album: Pink Pants

Prompt Summary: a song that will help someone express their feelings for "this girl" ; requester lists three physical attributes to include, and that's it


Ah, the male gaze: creepy, often unwanted, and yet somehow still socially acceptable. With that in mind, I present "This Girl," the theme song of the male gaze.

Listening to this energetic track out of context may infuriate you, especially if you are a woman. (I would argue that they should infuriate you regardless of gender, but this isn't a blog about feminism, so I'm not going to argue that here.) The lyrics openly objectify a female's body, punctuated with the repeated line, "I don't even care about your personality."

When put into context, however, it becomes a hilarious, scathing work of art. See, the prompt behind this song asked Andrew to write a piece that expresses the requester's feelings for a girl he—presumably "he," though it would still be problematic to some degree regardless of gender—likes. The requester then went on to provide a short list of things about this girl that he finds worth expressing: "her beautiful light blue eyes, long brown hair, and great athletic body." You probably noticed that those are all physical, external attributes which are largely beyond her control.

Andrew included those attributes in the song, verbatim. The line about not caring about her personality? That was Andrew's idea. He turned this hormonal person's shallow expression of lust into a work of biting musical satire. Less than thirty seconds is all it takes for Mr. Pants* himself to rip this person a new one.

Now. We are human. Aesthetic and other attractions are a normal, healthy part of life—as are a lack thereof. But…tact is always important when expressing such attractions. And if we've learned anything from what women have been shouting at us over the last few years all of time, there's a time and a place for compliments that are only about physical appearance, and a song from an acquaintance is not that.

As a work of satire, this song is hilarious. The upbeat melody and the peppy punk sound, combined with the lyrics, produce an emotional whiplash that only perfectly constructed satire can muster. You start out thinking, "Oh, cool, a love song." And then you get to the last line, and you're like, "That is not what I was expecting, WTF. Why is he so happy about reducing this girl to her looks?"

I loved this song before I had even read the original prompt. Its message is pretty clear. And it's hilariously pulled off. But knowledge of the requester's original intention makes it even more hilarious because then you know that it's not just satire; Andrew epically trolled the requester. This song isn't just a cheeky interpretation; it's vicious.



*Throughout the vast majority (if not the entirety) of Songs to Wear Pants To's lifespan, Andrew credited himself as "Andrew Pants." Plus, addressing him as "Mr. Huang" in this context would have felt…absurd lol.

Pair #26: "Shooby Doo Wop Muh Muh Ne My My My"

"SHOOBY DOO WOP MUH MUH NE MY MY MY"
Original Post Date: March 28, 2005
Runtime: 2:02
Genres: Doo-Wop
Compilation Album: Blue Pants

Prompt Summary: [Paid Song] a doo-wop song as a Christmas gift for a mother and an aunt


Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it! I don't, but there are no Hanukkah-themed Songs to Wear Pants To, so I'm doing this instead.

I honestly wasn't all that familiar with doo-wop until I first heard this and a couple of other Songs to Wear Pants To, but I immediately fell in love with this historically Black genre. The prominent harmonies, the fun scatting, the swing rhythms and syncopation…it's a beautiful tapestry of music.

Mouthful of a title aside, "Shooby Doo Wop Muh Muh Ne My My My" is a slow doo-wop song, commissioned as a Christmas gift to someone's relatives. It incorporates tropes like metaphors and radio shoutouts, with a smooooooooooooth chorus consisting entirely of scatting. As far as Christmas songs, it's not particularly Christmas-y, as the holiday only gets a single mention, but the slow tempo and overall smoooooooooothness of the song make it a great tune alongside which to slow-dance with a loved one beside a burning Yule log.*

I really don't have a whole lot else to say about this one. It's in my top 20 STWPTs. It's just so smoooooooooooooth.



*Please do not slow-dance on the Yule log.

Pair #25: "Songs to Wear Pants to Theme"

"SONGS TO WEAR PANTS TO THEME"
Original Post Links: Version 1 | Version 2
Original Post Date: July 7, 2004
Runtime: 0:34 (version 1) ; 0:52 (version 2)
Genres: Ballad (version 1) ; Rock (version 2)
Compilation Album:
Green Pants

Prompt Summary: a theme song for Songs to Wear Pants To—what a shocker!


We've hit 25 posts, so I'm doing something special today: two songs for the price of one. Except they're technically the same song. And they have the exact same title. And they were originally released the same day. So basically this is one song, just from two different universes. Or maybe it's like light: one thing made up of two phenomena existing in the same space at the same time. I am going to stop trying to explain this because I'm getting a headache.

Anyway, this is the official theme song(s) for the Songs to Wear Pants To website. Appropriately named "Songs to Wear Pants To Theme," each version of this song is a response to a separate prompt that asked Andrew to write a theme song for STWPT. Neither had any suggestions for genre, though the one used for the second* version does raise the idea of using an actual pair of pants as an instrument, an idea that not only did Andrew run with but that is also ingenious.

Both versions have basically the same lyrics: "Songs to Wear Pants To is a website. It has some songs, and you can listen to them in your computer. All you have to do is right-click and 'Save as….'" They also have the same basic melody. And that is where the similarities end.

Version 1 is a slow ballad, with a lone guitar accompanying Andrew's impassioned vocals. The mood is somewhat broken at the end, when Andrew's strumming goes out of control, leading to a delightfully awkward chuckle to punctuate the theme song.

Version 2 is an energetic rock song (though only slightly faster than the other version), with an electric guitar and percussion rounding out the vocals. This is Andrew at his STWPT-est, just losing himself in the song, getting us all super excited for Songs to Wear Pants To. This version has an interlude, however: a "pants solo." For said pants solo, all the music cuts out except for the faint sound of Andrew "playing" a pair of pants. At first, it sounds sounds like he's just rubbing his hand or something else against a pair of pants, with no sense of rhythm, before he eventually finds a beat while doing something more akin to drumming. You might have to turn your volume up for this solo.

Both versions are perfect theme songs for the late website. Not every Song to Wear Pants To is fast-paced and instrumentation-rich, but even the ones that aren't tend to devolve into some kind of craziness. Meanwhile, STWPT is all about fun and experimentation. It is perfect that we got these two different sides of the same coin because just one of them alone would not have done the site justice.




 

*Ever played the Oracle games in the Legend of Zelda franchise? In case you haven't, they're two standalone games that can each be "connected" to the other to make either game the sequel to the other. In effect, you get a chicken-or-egg scenario, where canonically, each one takes place both before and after the other. That's what we have here. There's no actual "Version 1" and "Version 2"; they're both "Songs to Wear Pants To Theme." I just applied version numbering here to make my life infinitely easier. It wasn't entirely random, though, as the one I refer to as "Version 1" was posted before the other one. While there are no discernible timestamps, we can probably safely assume that Andrew posted them in close succession, meaning "Version 1" is the first version in the way that one twin is older than another. There, wasn't that a fun footnote? What a ride!

Pair #24: "It Was the World"

"IT WAS THE WORLD"
Original Post Date: May 3, 2004
Runtime: 1:05
Genre: Showtunes
Compilation Album:
Green Pants

Prompt Summary: a song about a Broadway character who gets suspended above a shark tank and has to summarize all of world history in less than a minute and eleven seconds or die


Some Songs to Wear Pants To prompts were like this one: very specific and very weird. It's like magnetic poetry, or at least how I do it. ("Has you be fluffing" is my magnum opus.*)

You can get pretty much the whole song from the prompt summary, as Andrew hits every single beat, except perhaps from making the main character more like an out-of-character performer than an actual character. We open on a rather lengthy plea for help, in which our nameless protagonist screams for mercy and lists off all the other production staff that have already been killed. Then, the freaky but nondescript villain demands to hear a summary of world history.

Then comes the most jarring 180 imaginable, with the protagonist just like, "Well, okay!"—as if his life were no longer in danger and he were actually really delighted to comply with the villain's request. I love this 180 because it comes out of nowhere and is like a slap in the face right before the actual song begins: a bouncy showtune a la Liza Minnelli.

Obviously, this isn't a deep dive into history; we're already thirty seconds into the track before the song even starts, and the whole track is just over a minute long. bill wurtz famously covered world history at breakneck speed and still produced a 19-minute video. So don't expect to learn anything new…except for Andrew's birth year. Yeah, at the end of the song, he breaks the fourth wall and ends his history "lesson" with the real Andrew's birth. Apparently, he was a "beautiful baby," if there's such a thing for humans. :D

"It Was the World" is an unexpected rollercoaster of a minute. The narrative is bizarre and leaves you wondering about the main character's fate, but at the same time, it ends with a truly fantastic line that is even funnier out of context. The song part of the track is quite catchy and also successful at evoking a Golden Age of Broadway style of musical.

"So please don't throw me into the tank of sharks."



*My other magnetic poetry hits include "purple finger juice did," "club there garden milk," "me a mean watch," and of course, "these-ing-ed-s." What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Pair #23: "I Am Goldilocks"

"I AM GOLDILOCKS"
Original Post Date: March 19, 2007
Runtime: 1:00
Genre: Alternative rock
Compilation Album: Pink Pants

Prompt Summary: an 80s rock ballad that retells the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Once upon a time, a young* girl trespassed on an ursine family's property and helped herself to their oddly human-oriented accommodations.

Summarizing media in a brutally honest light like that is something I very much enjoy doing. (Pok√©mon: minors training animals to fight each other for money…and their friendship…?) So it's no wonder that "I Am Goldilocks" fills me with joy.

Like other "I Am…" songs, the lyrics tell this famous tale from the perspective of the title entity, Goldilocks in this case. Except it's a somewhat grungy interpretation of her story because the 1980s; the lyrics also imply that Goldilocks is older when she is singing them. For example, according to this song, Goldilocks didn't just surprise the bears; she "pissed [them] off." Then there's my favorite line: "I'm the misdemeanor queen, I'll wreck your home / I've been breaking and entering since age nine."

This isn't your preschool's Goldilocks. She is a criminal (if a petty one), and she has no remorse about invading the bears' home. Anything she wants is hers; she's the queen. She's punk rock and runs. this. town. Welcome to the real world, foo'!

…Okay, I think I got a little carried away, there. Anyway, any fan of '80s alt-rock should appreciate the moody melody and Andrew's self-assured vocals. But when you also understand what he's parodying here, you'll never view Goldilocks the same way again.



*In researching this song, I learned two things that have made me question my entire education: 1) "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" is not from Grimms' Fairy Tales, and 2) the Goldilocks character, as originally written by an Englishman in the 1800s, was a crotchety, old woman who broke into a bachelor pad (rather than a family) of bears. What is this? Why can't this be the popular version? It sounds hilarious!