I spent most of the day at my parents' house helping my sister with her music theory homework. I'd been under the impression that she was supposed to write a piece of music, but as it turns out, the assignment was to transcribe a song of her choice. Did she choose something simple, like Louie, Louie or Prokofiev's The Montagues and The Capulets (which would've been really easy, since we could have cheated by downloading a MIDI file)? No. She had to go and choose a song called Ghostwriter by RJD2.
There were all kinds of problems with this. Some of you will be wondering why today was so good if Ghostwriter was so problematic. Keep reading.
Anyway, what was wrong with Ghostwriter? It's sorta kinda hip-hoppy, and it's just not going to impress a music theory teacher. Don't get me wrong -- it's great. I loved it. Might buy the album if the rest is equally devoid of suck. But it's electronic, and while electronic music can be very, very innovative, the vast majority of electronic pop is built on sampled loops. The way these completely unrelated samples fit together in a studio is beautiful and amazing to me, but no matter how good your sixteen-beat bass loop sounds, it looks very unimpressive when it's repeated on a staff for six pages.
Come to think of it, that's pretty much my only big complaint about Ghostwriter. It's great to listen to, but transcribing it for a music theory class seems analagous to writing a story on the level of Dick and Jane for a creative writing class. Oh, that and the fact that having ignored my keyboarding skills for the better part of the last five years, I've discovered that I can no longer play keyboard. The one I have at home is helpful, but I could never record off it because the software I use is extremely imprecise when it comes to recording, and I'm extremely imprecise when it comes to playing.
After that, I watched Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns, which is AJ Schnack's documentary about They Might Be Giants, and the origin of the subject of this post. It's really entertaining, actually, and the DVD has a crazy number of extras, including deleted scenes of John Linnell telling the story of the night their trumpet player lobbed cheesesteaks at a car full of attractive teenage girls, and a fan who prides himself in having lost his virginity to the tune of 32 Footsteps.
Yeah, TMBG fans are a weird bunch.