Thing a Week 44 – Big Bad World One

By JoCo August 4, 2006

Enough with the bigfoots and zombies, this one is pretty straightforward subject matter. The headline is “Sadsack Can’t Find Love,” which is just about as classic as it gets. I have spent more time than I would like to admit hanging out by the food table at parties, because it makes me look like I’m busy with something instead of just afraid to talk to anybody.

I like the way the title phrase sounds out of context – it seems like maybe it might mean something, but you can’t really say what. And I’m incredibly relieved to have broken out of the endless series of sad songs in the key of D that I appear to have been working on. It feels nice to do something a little different. This one’s in A, D and G! Crazy!

While I have your attention, I will mention to you TAW feed readers that I will be playing at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA this Sunday 8/6 at 8 PM. Let’s rock (softly). Now then…

Big Bad World One

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Barbie says

Hey, isn't Big Bad World the name of a Tom Cockrin and Red Rider song? Oh no... that's Mad Mad World... never mind. Sorry, that's the second time I've bugged you about something today and then had it shot right back in my face...

Matt Mobley says

Another one that reminds me of how I used to be/how I'm trying not to be any more. Very nice song.

Barbie says

I totally hear ya. I'm this person...

Dave says

That sound you just heard was my jaw dropping in amazement of how incredible that song is.

dirkk says

@barbie: it's Tom Cochran.

But back to the subject: great song! I like it very much.

Here's one from the misheard lyrics section: 'no fairies, no fun'

Burns! says

Yet another song that rocks. And, sadly, one I identify with far too closely.

Rob says

Great Song....very enjoyable....unfortunately I do relate to how the main character was feeling.

Just shows JCs songs dont always have to be completely out there...he seems to have a knack, when he wants to, of applying just enough twist to a traditional concept that makes it fresh.

"When You Go" is another song that is right near the top of my personal "Coulton favourites" - I absolutely love that song and its lyrics.

Mattie says

That's so sad!

I can't stop listening to this, it's such a great song. I too am afraid to say that I identify with working out something great to say only after the person has walked off.

Listening to this just tears me apart a little more each time. It really isn't fair!

First time/Long time says

You have written some incredible pop songs in the last year, but this one has the potential to catapult you into greatness! I appreciate the unique melody, catchy lyrics, and of course your outstanding vocal skills. Why are you not getting paid crap wads of money to write movie scores, commercial jingles, tv show theme songs, and top 40 hits? You have what it takes to be the next Randy Newman, dude. Keep up the amazing work!

code monkey #375531.6 says

omg. Good song but why do I feel like slitting my wrists after listening to it?

Spiff says

I dig it.

Greg Williams says

Great title, gret chorus, great song - and a real slice of life that many people should be able to connect with, unfortunately. Sort of like revisiting "I Saw Her Standing There" through a more realistic prism: "Well, my heart went boom, When I crossed that room ..." Yeah, right. More like, "Well, my brain went blank, When my spirits sank ..."

Alex says

Wow, its been a while since i've heard a song that reminds me of my own life. I always love to hear it when its an upbeat mood. I remember how I looked up at the stars, pretending to look for constellations at the only party i ever went to in highschool.

Eric Ginsberg says

Great! Favorite Thing since Tom Cruise, favorite non-silly Thing since So Far So Good, and perhaps favorite production since OBOSOCA. Just freakin' great!


Kerrin says

I think, as usual, Jonathan has hit the mood of the world. We all feel like this at a party sometimes. I know I do if I don't know anyone.

M_pony says

I see this as a perfect candidate for "TV Show Theme Song". If this isn't in some show's intro in the fall (or mid-season replacement) the world will not be a better place. Get shopping.

Bill-DC says

First time I've posted here but I can definitely relate to this! Thanks JC.

craig says

Interesting tune. It has vague allusions to a song by Billy Joel called Blonde Over Blue (from the River of Dreams album). Not that its a ripoff or anything, I just noticed some similarities in the way the lyics and melody are structured in the verse.

Steve C says

My hipster cred will never reach its full potential if I don't immediately have a tee-shirt that reads

Me: Zero
Big Bad World: One

However, this song really cheered me up at the end of a difficult month, so I'll forgive you if you can't get to the shirt, JoCo. True, I will always wonder what could have been, but in time, the pain of not having that shirt will fade, and you and I can pass cordially on the street without layers of bitterness, resentment and hurt clouding our stuttered "Hello's," "How ya been's," and nervous eye shifts.

Or you could just hook us up at CafePress.

PS Thing-a-Week makes me very happy. So thank you.

Bob says

Holy freakin crap! That's all I can say. Wow.

Bob says

> My hipster cred will never reach its full potential if I don’t
> immediately have a tee-shirt that reads
> Me: Zero
> Big Bad World: One

I think, if there's going to be a t-shirt, it should be done up as a scoreboard.

Khvall says

Amazing. Simply amazing.

drew says

This probably speaks to how badly something is broken in me, but I like this song much much much better than "Under the Pines." Don't get me wrong. I like the sillier songs, but when you address something a bit more "real," I generally like them even better.

Of course, there are exceptions like "Re: You Brains." But those just prove the rule. For me, anyway.

Right now I am sad, though. Not because of the song, which I find hopelessly upbeat for being so despondent, if you know what I mean. No, I am sad because so many people are commenting about how much this speaks to them. Buck up li'l campers.

Keep up the fantastic work and thank you for sharing these with us. (Oh, it is your brilliant marketing plan. "First hit's free, kids!" Nevermind.)

mhenry1384 says

A new favorite. I love songs with depressing lyrics and upbeat melodies.

And as M_pony says, I could totally see this as a TV show theme.

code monkey #375531.6 says

Years ago, at a small company I worked for at the time, I arrived extra early to work to witness one of the managers working alone in his office. All the lights were off and he was listening to sad music.

Honestly, I couldn't do that without piping the car exhaust into my car afterwards.

Derek Destroyo! says

Man, this would be my theme song. If I were to have a song on loop playing around me constantly, it would have to be this song.

It is excellent though, and I really think it's secured a spot in my top five Jonathan Coulton songs. Right along with Chiron Beta Prime and Re: Your Brains.

Jerry says

I can't stop playing this song. It's got everything: reality in the lyrics, a really catchy melody (nice key shifts!), upbeat temp, very slick ending. At the risk of being insulting, it's top-40 material. (I never listen to radio anymore; is there still such a thing as a top-40?)

Leon says

first of all i just want to say your work is unbelievable.

second you should be given some sort of major award for what you do. your a musician that makes great music and you offer some of it free. i have an enormous respect for anyone that puts their skills to create and releases the fruits of their labor for free to the world. that is something so few do.

so in closing. please keep up the work as you are doing incredibly and im glad you are independent. as soon as i can come up with the money im purchasing everything. ive got all your free downloads but im gonna buy them as well.

good luck


Leon says

p.s. dont lose that spirit of releasing the occasional free song. especially under creative commons. in fact if it wasnt for this video
i would never have found out who you were, what you do, or any of your other songs. releasing stuff for free is a great marketing technique as it causes people to use what you make and brings a lot of people to you. and it it an act that commands a lot of respect

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