DO OVER:  Take your Round 1 or Round 2 entry and rewrite the song using the exact same lyrics, with a completely new tune and style.


Let's see...

Option A:  A list of 31 names.  (17 character names; 14 actor/actress names.  And adding extra lyrics to provide or establish a new context were not allowed.)

Option B:  A 10:39 opus containing not just lyrics but also extensive dialogue.  (And jettisoning lyrics were similarly not allowed.)

NEVER -- not even when Travis unveiled the rap challenge right after I wrote my rap song -- NEVER had a challenge put me in such a hole.

So I had to come up with some way to meet this challenge.  And in less than a half an hour, I had my epiphany.  Granted, there was no way the song I was planning to write was going to get me to Round Four . . . but I didn’t care!  Once again, I had figured out how to find enough space to do something intelligent and unexpected with within the confines of a rather formidable restriction.

So yeah.  Each letter gets its own distinct note in the scale.  Originally, I was going to do a diatonic scale and pitchbend my voice to reach the extremes of the three-and-a-half octave span.  (This, while admittedly cheating, would have broken my record of “widest vocal range” which is exactly three octaves in a song.)  But when I realized that my lyric did not contain the letter “Q,” I changed my mind.  Because that left me with exactly 25 letters (tones), and that’s exactly how many chromatic pitches there are in exactly two octaves.  So I set “A” on an F2; I set “Z” on an F4; filled in all of the other letters (save “Q”) chromatically between then; and then also arbitrarily assigned C2 to represent the “space bar.”

I’ve never before recorded all of the vocals for a song before writing a single note of the song.  But that’s exactly what I did here.  I sequentially recorded anywhere from four to six attempts at each letter in pitch.  Then I sped up that “master track” using Flex Time in Logic Pro X, chose which speeded-up version of each letter sounded best, and then used those, à la Johannes Guttenberg, like moveable type as I “assembled” the vocal track for this song.

Once I had the vocal track (and its accompanying software electronic organ track) completed, I went back and added synth pad “hits” to each letter (or space!) which “unlocked” more of the secret code.  (And yes -- I’m aware that it’s stupid to think that computer programs can hack a password from “left-to-right” like I presented in this song.  But it’s a movie trope that I needed to employ to make this work, so I did.  And yes, I’m aware that if a computer could hack a password left-to-right, then it would be much more efficient to just go “A-B-C-D-E...” instead of “M-O-R-K- -G-A...”  But I had to use my old lyric, so I didn’t have any choice in this matter.)

Once this was done, it was time to figure out how to make the encapsulating genre-specific music, without letting it sound too much like the Mission: Impossible theme . . . or the James Bond theme . . . or the theme from The Incredibles.  (And again -- everything you hear is stuff I’ve figured out from scratch.  Even the percussion.  The only times I’ve ever used pre-made drum loops were this song and this song.)

So here it is.  A song that exists solely to get me out of the box in which I found myself with this challenge.  It won’t get me to Round Four.  It wouldn’t ever get played on the radio.  The middle section is way too long, you can’t sing along to it, and it’s not even a valid way to hack a password.  The song as a whole is just flippin’ weird and really has very little redeeming value whatsoever.

But it doesn’t matter.  The song is what it needs to be.  Everything’s here because it had to be here.  To meet this challenge, I had to reuse a particularly awkward lyric . . . and transplant it into a new style, with a new tune.  Moreover, I had to use my entire lyric . . . so there was tension between the codebreaking section needing to clip along, yet still be “fast-but-not-TOO-fast” so that it would remain recognizable.  And beyond that, the song in-and-of itself somehow had to establish its own context (outside of being a weird list of names), as I was forbidden to add in any extra words to help paint a new picture.

Put that together and what have you got?  This weird, weird song.

But it’s all good . . .


Download “Beating The Challenge.mp3

(Lyric appears below . . .)