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!