The Offhand Band - Not Cool

from by Various Artists

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about

The challenge: a melody-free song when I thrive on music, an ultra-cool genre when plenty of what I listen to, play and write is often thought uncool. My solution: flip rap's braggadocio into self-effacement, wearing musical uncoolness as a badge of pride, while also realizing I should be grateful for a chance to not worry about my singing voice. More on the making of the song: theoffhandband.com/2011/07/not-cool/?postTabs=1

lyrics

Intro:


I'm a player; piano, that is; my apparatus
My forte, fo' sho'; play for pay and also for gratis
There's haters, not well-tempered, elevator relegaters
So raters, debaters, let's talk Joanna status


Verse 1:


Keyboard so versatile, play almost any style
Clavier smart as Xavier with Cerebro guile
Far more than a C chord, still people be bored
Players deplored, ignored until we're Eeyored


Waller would knock your socks; Jerry Lee genuinely rocked
Now it's often mocked and even on the chopping block
Not a classical piano man? You're pushing Tin Pan
In cool music country, you're at sea instead of inland


Yellow Brick Road or 52nd Street
Have to face to face it, haters feel no heat; aces beat
Fiona, disown her; Rufus, doofus; no-one jealous
Of Hornsby or Amos or the famous Bareilles


Wonder, blunder; Newman, subhuman; Connick, bubonic
Carole King and Cullum, just the cancer kind of chronic
Benny was Bjorn to play, but people hate A-B-B-A
And Jims Webb and Steinman? Too passe, way


Now The Fray and Coldplay don't get such profuse abuse
Nor do Queen or keen Keane or Radiohead or Muse
The eighty-eight's not all they bait; they get fewer glares
But Ben and Nellie? Only swell ta fella piano players


Kanye's are major, but as players, we minor
Said you want us fled? Fine, yer the headliner
To your eye, you see Marvin Hamlisch, Burt Bacharach
Wanting fly? You'll be starvin', famished, skirting snack attack


Chorus 1:


Not cool
Just like 7-Up, un-cool-a
Does it make you dozy?
Not cool
Not hot, but cool as Cholula
Nothing ever froze me
Like Popeye and Albin
Said, "I am what I am"
Never had it, can't lose it; could "Woe's me,"
But that'd be fool
I didn't choose it, it chose me
I'm not cool


Verse 2:


Even less top for you than piano pop?
An album's not the only flop some ivory-ticklers drop
Burt, Marvin, Elton, Billy, ABBA and more
Got cred for another bore: a musical score


Musical theayter, where they burst into song
And so say every hater, "It's the worst, bang the gong"
But almost every art form needs disbelief suspension
Stand by and let me try some apprehension contravention


Andrew Lloyd Dubya, does he rub ya all wrong?
Post-"Phantom" fate, a bit bantamweight, but cat can comp a song
With Tim Rice, words splice and knit to nice writ benefit
A Brit wit who'll make it fit and sometimes even land a hit


Do you know how fond I'm of Sondheim?
Like language was made for him, he goes beyond rhyme
Blazingly on-time with phrasing and scansion
When this Pieta of theatah's in the house, it's a mansion


Want cool? Cole, the top; which school? Ol'
And Loesser is more, even co-wrote "Heart and Soul"
Bawd to awed to guffawed you gotta applaud the Broadway songwriter
Roast-and-toasting most from coast to coast and boasting that they're brighter


Not all cheesy junk, "Bring in da' funk" had rap, and "In the Heights"
Even The Who, Green Day, Bono and the Edge have tripped the lights
I'd hope that you're hip now that I've performed this patter
But I sense no evidence will dispense this anti-matter


Chorus 2:


Not cool
So square, unlike a hoop hula
Make you want to mozy?
Not cool
Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Try but I can't pose me
Like Popeye and Albin
Said, "I am what I am"
Never had it, can't lose it; could "Woe's me,"
But that'd be fool
I didn't choose it, it chose me
I'm not cool


Bridge:


In the world today, no-one'd choose to be gay
With musical taste, I daresay, you also can't self-betray
Pray and downplay as you may, try to spay, stray and sway
Say you want it nee? It won't obey; here to stay
Like piano prodigy Gaga, me, I was born this way


First LP I ever bought: "Hooked on Classics"
Leave you sour as Vlasics? Get me ass kicks?
Sensibility Jurassic? So do you deem it daft?
You see a load of crap? To me, a lode of craft


On troubled waters, need a bridge away from "Ishtar"
In dire straits, I shoulda learned to play the guitar
Then, I bet, instead of fretting, I'd be getting it far
More portable, affordable, still chordable
Compared to a keyboard, a bull; unchortable


Then there's the vocal: not my focal, I'm no singer
When I croon, don't bring a socle, you'll see soon I'm second-stringer
My Cletus voice a yokel, it's my fingers do the zingers
Can't I simply say the words, no-one run through the ringer,
With only short notes and no pitch on which to linger?


Verse 3:


But those who stir my slumber most, down to the apple core
You know their name and number, yeah, yeah, yeah, the Fab Four
So much to say, and I don't have all day
But cross the nations and generations no-one cuts like they


Broke the rule then built the school, always so eclectic
Acoustic and electric, the keyboard and the plec trick
Want to hear the case they found the place where magic lives?
Not every act gives the language whole new adjectives


Arrangements and references show Beatlesque preferences
Distinctive details a disciple deploys
XTC, TMBG and ELO show deferences
The list is long, and some are strong, still they're decoys


No-one can rule like the lads from Liverpool
For the masses, yet passes as full-of-joys geek noise
Realized what they prized, careless of cool
Yeah, wouldn't it be nice? Wait, that's the Beach Boys


Choruses 3 & 4:


Not cool
Just like 7-Up, un-cool-a
Does it make you dozy?
Not cool
Not hot, but cool as Cholula
Nothing ever froze me
Like Popeye and Albin
Said, "I am what I am"
Never had it, can't lose it; could "Woe's me,"
But that'd be fool
I didn't choose it, it chose me


Not cool
So square, unlike a hoop hula
Make you want to mozy?
Not cool
Anyone, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Try but I can't pose me
Like Popeye and Albin
Said, "I am what I am"
Never had it, can't lose it; could "Woe's me,"
But that'd be fool
I didn't choose it, it chose me
I'm not cool

credits

from SpinTunes #3: Round 3, released July 16, 2011
There was no collaboration, but the music is in part based on "The Celebrated Chop Waltz" (a.k.a. "Chopsticks"), by Arthur de Lulli (a.k.a. Euphemia Allen), and Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27, No. 2 (a.k.a. "Moonlight Sonata"), by Ludwig van Beethoven

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Spintown Middletown, Ohio

I run a songwriting contest called SpinTunes. Most of the material hosted on this account is a result of that contest. You can follow the contest on Twitter (@SpinTunes) or my personal account (@Spintown).

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