Download “Bitch.mp3

(Want the sheet music?)

I didn’t really like the challenge itself this time around; I thought it was destined to lead to too many songs all of the same ilk.  I did, however, enjoy working on this challenge -- particularly  on making things work on a variety of levels.

I know that no one in the SpinTunes community is going to be fooled by the story this song tells; at best, they’re merely (hopefully!) going to be impressed by it.  Nevertheless, I still worked very hard at the misdirection the lyrics are intended to create.  (Maybe, if people from outside the community hear the song, they’ll have to retool their expectations after hearing the song all the way through.)

The word that lends this song its title has multiple meanings, and I worked very hard in the lyric of the song to make it seem like the title was in reference to the pejorative slang term for a woman one rather despises.  It’s not, of course.  But while the song is in all actuality about our one-year-old, somewhat hyperactive Husky puppy (Avalanche), it’s not even completely apt to say that the title is a direct reference to her.  It actually refers to the lyric itself . . . which is really little more than a two-and-a-half-minute-long “bitch session” on the part of the singer!

And while I was brainstorming things about which to bitch for this song, it reminded me very quickly of another song which had the protagonist bitching about his live-in significant other.  So I borrowed a snippet of that song to re-use in this song.  (And yes -- the synth pad instrumental at the beginning of both songs is absolutely identical in both instances.  I simply copied the old GarageBand track into the new GarageBand project and re-recorded new vocals.)

Now -- on a musical “note.”  For all the proficiency I may have achieved at playing the piano, improvisation falls almost wholly outside of that skill set.  Whereas artists like Tim Minchin and Jason Robert Brown learned to play the piano by ear, relying upon learning the chord structures of the songs they were playing, I grew up learning to read all the little black dots on the page.  (JRB learned to read music notation in college; Tim Minchin still hasn’t.)  So whereas Minchin and Brown can sit at a piano and fire off riffs and solos with panache . . . I can’t.  Which is totally okay.  I don’t have to be anyone else.  I deploy my own skills towards my own ends in my own way.  (And if it was important enough to me, I could invest the time to learn to improvise better.  Or play the guitar.  Or the drums . . .)

But my point is . . . when I’m composing, there are frequently times when I have to FIGURE. OUT. the chords I’m hearing in my mind.  Sometimes things just flow for me at the piano keyboard.  But when things are flowing, it usually means I’m composing something with a I-III-IV-V progression.  (Even the I-V-vi-IV chord progression challenge was difficult for me to “find” -- apparently I need to play more Axis of Awesome songs.)

If I’m at the keyboard and want to make sure that I don’t slip into something “easy,” sometimes I’ll choose a difficult/unfamiliar key in which to compose (usually something with a lot of sharps) to break up my “muscle memory.”  But sometimes I’m okay with just writing something quick and simple for one reason or another (i.e. “artistic choices” or “time management”).  And I thought this song was going to be one of those instances.  But then I found myself sitting at the piano in the early stages of composing, trying to hack out those chords that I remembered from the beginning of I Hope You Die.  And oh my good gracious were those chords hard for my fingers to find again.  Which on one hand made me feel really proud all over again of having written those chords in the first place . . . and which on the other hand probably also impelled me towards a more “tricksy” piano arrangement for the rest of the song than I might otherwise have created.  And as I listen to this song, I’m really quite pleased by how rich and reasonably complex the accompaniment sounds.

(One final thought and then I’m done.  Of all the blurring-of-the-lines I did between whether the roommate is a human or a pet, I’m most proud of the juxtaposition of “you have your license” and “you never drive.”  It just tickles me.  Thought I’d share.)

How'd I get a roommate

Who's so selfish and unfair?

You always take for granted

The amenities I share.

You disobey the rules

And leave our house in disrepair . . .

You're so high-maintenance,

But you don't even care.

You don't pay rent.

Don't pay the bills.

It's always me who pays the money

For your pills.

You've never paid for dinner once,

Although you've never missed a meal.

And that's just . . . super.

You think you're cute,

So you connive.

You've got your license,

But you never,

Ever drive.

It's like my car's your limousine

With your chauffeur behind the wheel.

And that's just . . . awesome.

(For you.)

Whenever we walk around the block,

You wanna walk fifteen feet ahead.

And rather than snuggle on the couch,

You'd rather strew trash around instead.

But any time you decide it's time,

You want me to stop and rub your head.

It's all about you!


You never clean!

You merely grin.

Won't even think to wipe your feet

When you come in.

You're often awful to your sister

And you always steal her food.

And you ignore me when I call you

If you aren't in the mood.

But given all the things I give you?

You could show some frickin' gratitude!

But no . . .


Why do I still love you

When this deal is so unfair?

Do I just let you stay

Because I want somebody there?

Or is there something deeper

To explain how much I care?

(Hang on.  I have to go and

Vacuum up your hair . . .)

(Scenes from “The Life of Avalanche.”

Also, in the second photograph,

you can see much of her “mom,”

and in the third, you can see some

of the other parts of her “mom,”

plus just the tail of her “sister.”)