Song Fu Episode Two

ByJoCo August 21, 2008

The first transport is away!

Song Fu has started up again, this time with the addition of the venerable RiffTones (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, oh my). The challenge this time was to write a song about the moon.

Simple enough, in fact I’ve sort of done it at least once or twice. So why then was it so hard? I had a few bad ideas mumbled into my voice recorder, but was pretty stumped until about Tuesday night. Not that I found any new idea, but I had turned one of the bad ones over in my head enough that it started to seem like a possibility. So yesterday was just like the old days of Thing a Week – powered on the gear at 9 AM without knowing too much about where I was headed, except that I had to be finished by the time I turned into a pumpkin (father) at 4. Kept it simple, just uke, guitar and bass.

This is something like creation myth meets breakup song with moon frosting. Not sure all the dots are connected right, but I dig impressionistic lyrics like these where I don’t quite know what I’m talking about (giant oyster – WTF?). I like the third verse very much in particular, and you can’t beat double tracked vocals. Voting has begun, song is free below and for sale in the store. Rock!

Always the Moon


CC says

Hhhhhhhhmmmmm..... Still trying to figure this one out. Voted for ya anyway. I'm sure I'll get it after I listen to it about 500 more times today. Rock on!

Scott says

Fantastic! Keep up the awesome work Captain Joco
If you like double tracked vocals you should check out Josh Pyke. He's all over those.
Here's his latest:

three08 says

i feel like i've heard about a creation myth that actually did involve a bivalve creating everything. i feel like it was recently. if i can track it down i'll let you know.

you're right, though. that 3rd stanza is killer. er, verse.

Len says

My god, man. That was simply brilliant. Considering that you were still struggling this weekend, this might be one of your best songs. Right on.

Lynn says

Great song as usual, JoCo! I think you might have exaggerated the struggle to write it a wee bit, though. Nothing that good comes to you hard. But what do I know? I'm a grad student, not a song writer. Rock on!

Gle3nn says

That was truly amazing. Yours is the Superior Fu.

MaW says

I like it, although I'd like to hear a version which had a bit more time for the arrangement - double-tracked vocals are all very well, but when they happen exactly the same all the way through the song they get a bit samey.

Love the words though. The oyster made a pearl and the pearl became the world... oh yes.

Mark Gordon says

Yay! Another song about marine life!

Luke M says

Love it. Reminds me a bit of the Firesign Theatre's creation myth from "I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus":

"Before the beginning, there was this turtle. And the turtle was alone. And he looked around. And he saw his neighbor, which was his mother, and he lay down on top of his neighbor, and behold, she bore him in tears an oak tree, which grew all day, and then fell over, like a bridge. And lo, under the bridge there came a catfish, and he was very big, and he was walking, and he was the biggest he had seen. And so, with the firey balls of this fish, one of which is the sun, and the other, they called the moon."

Yes, some uncomplicated peoples still believe this myth. But here in the technical vastness of The Future, we can guess that surely, the past was very different. We know for certain, for instance, that for some reason, for some time in the beginning, there were hot lumps. Cold and lonely, they whirled noiselessly through the black holes of space.

These insignificant lumps came together to form the first union, our sun, the heating system. And about this glowing gas bag, rotated the Earth, a cat's eye among aggies, blinking in astonishment across the face of time.

Well, we were covered with a molten scum of rocks, bobbing on the surface like rats. Later, when there was less heat, these giant rock groups settled down among the land masses. During this extinct time, our Earth was like a steam room, and no one, not even man, could get in. However, the oceans and the sewers were simmering with a rich protein stew, and the mountains moved in to surround and protect them. They didn’t know then that living as we know it was already taking over.

Animals without backbones hid from each other, or fell down. Clamosaurs and oysterettes appeared as appetizers. Then came the sponges, which sucked up about 10% of all life. Hundreds of years later, in the Late Devouring Period, fish became obnoxious. Trailerbites, chiggerbites, and muskquitoes collided aimlessly in the dense gas. Finally, tiny, edible plants sprang up in rows, giving birth to generations of insecticides and other small, dying creatures.

Millions of months passed, and, 28 days later, the moon appeared. This small change was reflected best, perhaps, in the sand dollar, which shrank to almost nothing at the bottom of the pool, where even dumb amphibians like catfish laid their eggs in the boiling waters, only to be gobbled up every three minutes by the giant sea orphans and jungle bunnies, which scared everybody. And so, IN FEAR AND HOT WATER, MAN IS BORN!!!

Doctora says

Jonathan, the best thing about you as an artist is your ability to be absolutely silly in precisely the right way each time, and also to reflect the profound feelings of heartbreak without a pause. This one is going in my "breakup song" file right along with "When You Go" as the best of the best of sad song therapy. Thank you.

Peter says

I kind of expected you to go with a kind of "sad werewolf lamenting about the moon" angle with this, but Paul and Storm sort of did that, so that's pretty cool (Although, I had my fingers crossed for them doing a song about Keith Moon).

Long story short, I'm not psychic, and Always the Moon is an awesome song.

Ferix says

Oh this is so beautiful. I love the way the whole thing flows and it certainly mixes with the cool night atmosphere right now. Very good work ^_^.

Jeremy says

Terrific song, Jon. "giant oyster - WTF?" -- right on! I loved that. It really helped set the tone and imagery for everything that followed in the song. Your double-tracked vocals and the simple string arrangement really polished off the setting for this surreal heartbreak song. This is easily one of my favorite songs of yours.

Looking forward to hearing what you do with the next challenge.

franbelda says

This song is so hearbreakingly beautiful I swear I want to cry every time the chorus comes with that big bass doing its "dubbadubbadub" in the background. Amazing, AMAZING work.

Dan says

That was beautiful.

Jack F says

Of the 3 masters, JoCo is the one that didn't include a werewolf reference?? What is this giant oyster-produced world coming to?

Mark Gordon says

- The world is my oyster
- Oysters come from other oysters
- Ergo, the world came from an oyster, Q.E.D. How is this surprising?

three08 says

so, according to my roommate, who was a religious studies guy at bard college, in the babylonian creation myth, the universe started out as being full of water. then a bunch of gods were born, and they got to a-fussin' and a-feudin', as gods are wont to do, and tiamat, the creator-goddess who was sort of clam-shaped, was killed and torn in half, and her top shell was used to create the vault of the heavens, behind which there's just a bunch of water, and the bottom half became the land.

wikipedia presents a slightly different vision of the babylonian creation myth, but it doesn't involve any clams, so it's way lamer.

Jake says

Wow! Effing beautiful. One of the best, JoCo. Way to go.

Steve Chatterton says

I spent an hour going through all master and challenger submissions. Very good fu on you, indeed! Thank you for not mentioning werewolves or lunacy or anything like that.

SevinPackage says

Very well done! I'm impressed with your innate ability to 'crank out' a song that's worth listening to so quickly (and thoughtfully, too)!
I honestly think you don't know how to write a bad song. How do you do it???

Zac says

Well, I had to go with Paul and Storm's. Yours isn't my favorite, but that's changed before after a couple listens.

rozwarren says

thanks for quoting star wars.

Raethe says

Great song, which I'll buy as soon as I can get un-lazy enough to actually put forth the effort to do so, but did you know that the lyrics on the info page aren't loading? Not for me, at least.

wien says

Well jeez, that's beautiful. Can't stop listening to it. If you work this well under pressure, we need another song by this time tomorrow. Chop chop!

Tim says

Awesome song, JoCo -- well done! I must admit, I've liked all the Song Fu tunes, so far, with the possible exception of Big Dick..., although I got the humor there, too. Space Doggity was terrific, too.

charles says

Congrats, definitely one of your best.

MarcyT says

Why do men insist on blaming us women for everything? ha ha ha ha ha!! Hey JoCo, want a red fruit? ha ha ha ha!!!!

sevinPackage says

Hey guys! The competition's really close over there (7 votes separate the #1 challenger and #5, and only 3 votes separate 1st and 3rd in the Masters' competition). Make a difference and vote!

Tami says

The second verse really gets me. I'm a fan of Biblical references, every time. The oldest stories continue to ring true for me.

Jack F says

Today's the last day and JoCo is currently in last place! I'd love to see P&S win, but we don't want JoCo knocked out in the first round, do we? If you haven't voted yet, now is the time...

Alex says

I really like this song, being well read I figured it was mythology because I didn't read the post first. It reminds me of my hopeless case; three cases: all failures. I'll admit that this song gets to me, like most of your stuff does.


Steve Chatterton says

WTF? We can't round up one more vote for "Always the Moon?" That's all it will take at the moment to get Mr. Coulton tied for second and allow him to go on to the next round.

If I get to advance while JoCo gets blocked, I'm afraid there's something seriously skewed in the universe. That's not false modesty, either. His tune is truly the best of the bunch.

SevinPackage says

QSE's voting system seems to be more messed up than it was during the last Song Fu competition. Oh well, apparently all three masters will be sticking it out 'til the end this time.

It's been a week now, and I still have Always the Moon (happily) stuck in my head! It happens every time, and yet I'm still surprised. Love it.

How many monkey DOES it take to change a lifetime?

SevinPackage says

QSE's voting system seems to be more messed up than it was during the last Song Fu competition. Oh well, apparently all three masters will be sticking it out 'til the end this time.

It's been a week now, and I still have Always the Moon (happily) stuck in my head! It happens every time, and yet I'm still surprised. Love it.

How many monkeys DOES it take to change a lifetime?

Demetrius says

Hmm... Odd. My wife tried to vote and couldn't. A number of other people said the site wouldn't let them vote, either. I don't think voting is *supposed* to be closed, yet.

David says

See, the thing is, you need to put this on MySpace. They let you have more than 4 songs now, so pony up the new tunes, bro.

Anyway, I love it.

Andrew says

Great song, first of all. You are one brilliant dude. You have my man love.

I might not be as bright as the other listeners. When the chorus came I felt yanked off on a tangent that never got resolved. Ii was hard for me to grasp what the moon, or its always being there, had to do with the story of the song. It was clearly important because you hammered it into me 4 times in a row.

I could guess that it has to do with the fact that we have a story of how the world was somehow created, but where is the story of the moon (or the sun or the other planets)? I think I would have liked that spelled out for me a little more. Like maybe that you and the girl were wondering about it or something. I don't know.

The verses are awesome and I will definitely listen more.

eliannrad says

Awesome song!

It reminds me of one of those Beatles' songs they must have written while they were high...

James says


You are my hero! Once again another great song! My wife and I listened to it several times on a recent road trip--we finally have music we both can enjoy!

I put a plug for your site and songs in my recent podcast ( I even played some of your song. I have no idea how song rights and such goes, so if you want me to take it off or anything just send me an e-mail.

Thanks a bunch for the great music!

Scott Wells says

I love this song. It's quite haunting and beautiful. Hard to believe it's from the Re: You Brains (which I sing quite often at Karaoke) artist. Definitely will be checking out much, MUCH more of your work.

Masau says

I want to like this song, I really really do. But it seems like you just threw in the parts about the moon to fulfill the quest. If it wasn't for how out of place the moon seems, this would probably be one of my favorite of your songs.