Here are some outstanding birthday songs from the Happy Birthday contest. All are great -- I am super-psyched!
A birthday song should be memorable, easy-to-sing, short, inoffensive and slightly offbeat. It’s a hard song format. On the one hand, you want to make it as simple and short as possible; on the other hand, you want to make it memorable too. Just the lyrics are a challenge. The songs needs to have direct rhymes; that means you have a lot of monosyllabic words ending with “ay” (yuck!). Ironically, the bolder the musical ideas in a birthday song, the less functional the song actually becomes.
Out of all the songs, the Danimals’ Super Psyched for your Birthday and Older than Dirt are the most memorable. Every time I come to the moment where the Danimals scream, I laugh.
Older than Dirt and Chris Trapper’s “Birthday Song” have the best lyrics, although to be fair, many of the songs don’t even try to be clever or poetic. As a compromise, the Rodger Rainono “Happy Happy Happy Birthday” just uses a refrain where you can add extra lyrics ad infinitum (and some of the lyrics in the recording they use in this recording are pretty damn clever). Incidentally, who would have ever thought that a birthday song would inspire such humorous and poetic meditations on aging!!
For brevity, awards go to Monk Turner’s “It’s Your Birthday”, Jazzy J’s “One Year Older” and Caston Deluca’s “Happy Birthday.“ Deluca’s song is minimalist and charming. Ironically, she is an avante-garde music composer of hazy music landscapes. ( I have already written a profile and interview about songwriter Monk Turner).
For singability (i.e., singable by people with limited voices), Rodger Rainono’s “Happy happy happy birthday” and “Older than Dirt” are great.
For musical ideas, I thought Hendrik Left Engelmann-Löffler’s song had nice interweaving melodies, and Chris Trapper’s song had lots of nice touches (a tuba!). Both songs are too out there to win though.
The songs I want to win: Superpsyched for your birthday, Older than Dirt, and Chris Trapper’s Birthday.
Here are the songs that I predict will win: “Happy Happy happy birthday!” Superpsyched for your birthday and one of the longer songs (either “Older than Dirt“ or Chris Trapper’s Birthday).
The grand prize should go either to Superpsyched or “Happy happy happy birthday” because either song does exactly what a birthday song should do. Interestingly, both songs have multiple verses (which is NOT something you would expect for a birthday song), but the chorus for both songs are easy to remember.
Finally, I should mention something interesting about the Danimals. Apparently they write and sing a LOT of different birthday songs. I think they write custom songs for people on special occasions. They have 2 versions of the same song: a clean version (“Super-psyched”) and a not-so-clean version (“F*****ing psyched”).
By the way, here's a Youtube vid of the Danimals singing another version of the same song (albeit with more colorful language!)
Congrats to all, and thank you for helping me never to sing that #$#$#$$## Birthday song again!
From the shocking & screaming of Glass Candy to gravelly/poetic urgency of Kristin Hersh to the furious post-Soviet post-Zemfira popsa of Muha, to the dreamy Didoesque fill-a-roomable Christina Courtin to the Japan-robotic ironic mutterings of Puma Mimi, the estrogen count on this playlist is balanced by the rowdy rocking machine called the Franks and the hazy low-fi psychodelica of Smersh. Enjoy and Bjork, we no longer need you! (More AFSE playlists by idiotprogrammer)
Slow otherwordly meandering through the dissonant terrain of jazz, electronica and a few other surprises. Coming next: something more upbeat!
Sometimes music tends to keep going on and on...without really reducing your enjoyment. Here are some samples. I left 2 20 minute pieces for the end (including the incredible experimental improvisation Tenebroso by Squadra Omega. You have a traditional techno sound (Jurek Raben), an eerie dream piece (Phone), tranquil piano (Fabrizio Paterlini), rowdy Latin-flavored jazz (Har-You Percussion Group), gentle percolations (Marco Kalnenek) and gentle singing with low-key guitars (Giraffe). Lots of repetition, but no monotony.
Here I highlight songs whose vocals have an attitude -- rebellious, rowdy, melancholy, silly. Leading the pack are two great hiphop mixes by Ethx with a social message, Russian Zemfira-like funkiness by Muha, angsty (and always-surprising) Josh Woodward, edgy Canadian hiphop from Audible Intelligence and hazy strummming by Dallas Kinkaid. Counterpointing the rhythmic hiphopping is Major Major's muted anger, the nonchalant Steadman and Sleeping Life's soft and cynical "Love is an Eternal Lie." Yes, there's something for everyone!
This mix is supposed to be more danceable and have more industrial/mechanical sounds, but I veered off topic a bit, gave it a little whimsical glitch. Get a load of that Bud Melvin; psychodelic chip music with a banjo? Sad Robot is a great easy to sing song. John Ellis's Stuttergun is more techno. By the way, I did an interview with the elusive VAE (aka Aleksi Virtu -- not his real name, but a joke on another performer with the same name in his Finnish homeland). His free album is not to be missed. And Gorowski's Of the Sky definitely could have been composed by VAE. (Goworski apparently has 5 albums and 40 tracks on FMA, so he's definitely worth investigating. Enjoy!
Some upbeat and generally light-hearted tracks. More pop than rock, but still some oddballs thrown in for good measure (Airplane on the Highway didn't exactly fit the mood, but oh, well).
Songs that are philosophical either in tone or by theme (or both). First half is guitar-based (starting with the hardnosed thrumming of Brad Sucks). The second half has slower songs, with a more elegiac tone and an electronic sound. Hey, even Kiss recorded "Beth"; hard rock must get dull for rock bands after a while. enjoy!