Science (in the Service of Beauty)

from by Common Lisp

/

about

This song was written for Round 2 of the Spintunes #2 songwriting competition. The challenge was to write a sequel: "a song that picks up where another famous song left off."

Thomas Dolby's song "She Blinded Me With Science" appeared on the Billboard top 10 in 1983. I have picked up the story of the mad scientist and his lovely laboratory assistant almost 30 years later; in the original, he was smitten by her, and yet I imagined him as younger and pretty much at the mercy of her beauty.

Almost 30 years later, he has found much more success and confidence. She drops in one day to visit him at his (now famous) laboratory. I tried to capture something of the suggestive style of the original without recycling any melody or using any actual samples; I recorded my own take on Dolby's "ear candy" grunts and hiccups as a nod to the silliness of the original song.

Mr. Dolby heard through the aether that I was working on this song, somehow -- perhaps on his wireless -- and tweeted "Somone's writing a sequel to 'She Blinded Me With Science' and blogging it... give the lad some encouragement!"

This song was written on a tight deadline: I performed, recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered it in the space of about one day and three long late-night sessions. My blog entries about the experience start with this one:

geekversusguitar.blogspot.com/2010/10/spintunes-round-2-process.html

lyrics

SPOKEN:

I am a scientist, true. But define "mad."

VERSE 1:

Once I was blinded by beauty
That I mistook for technology
I loved to play with electronics
Producing all kinds of crazy sonics
But these days I'm a nature lover
Give me a human under the covers

CHORUS:

BEAUTY mistaken for
SCIENCE in the service of
MONEY producing new
TECHNOLOGY
Connections, rejections
Maybe too much introspection
Too much to handle
It can't hold a candle to you

SPOKEN:

Goodness, Miss Sakamoto! Is it really you? Do come in.
My, my, you haven't aged a day!
May I offer you a cup of tea?
You've heard, perhaps, that my little inventions have made me a wealthy man?

VERSE 2:

My meters are all a-quiver
Your touch gives me the shivers
Now let's conduct an experiment
Oh never mind, it's completely irrelevant
My vacuum tube's overheated
I've lost my cool, I'm completely defeated

REPEAT CHORUS

SPOKEN:

ThinkPods and GeekPads
and things that warm up
Devices that vibrate
chips that make music
Psionics, dildonics
Good old telephonics
Machines that go "bing,"
Science chthonic,
Glowing rectangles
And cables in tangles
Just hop on the network
You don't need to do legwork
To find my location
You won't need cogitation
Texting is peachy
But pheromones can't reach me
Your webcam is online
But that's not in real time
Come over to my place
I can't feel you in cyberspace...

(SYNTH SOLO)

SPOKEN:

I see your teacup is empty!
Oh, dear, we've run out of sherry as well
Please be careful where you step; the laboratory is so cluttered.
It's very hard to find qualified help these days.
What? You say you might be interested in assuming your old... position?

VERSE 3:

Now your machinery's in order
You can trust me, I'm a doctor
You know that science is dandy
But come on honey, give me some candy
I want to study biology
In specific, your anatomy

(REPEAT CHORUS)

SPOKEN (on drums/fadeout):

It was so good to see you, Miss Sakamoto!
Do come back and see me again soon.
Perhaps next time, you might care to have a look at my etchings?
My door is always open.

credits

from Foo Bar Baz, released February 2, 2010
Words and music written by and performed by Paul R. Potts. Fernandes T-style mid-1980s electric guitar; Radial JDV direct box; Apogee Ensemble audio interface; Oktava MK-219 microphone. Produced entirely with Apple Logic Studio 9; Izotope Alloy and Ozone plug-ins.

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