Take the Toyshop personality quiz!!

November 11, 2009 at 6:04 am (Music) (, , , , , )

I had this idea to do something sooo blantantly idiodic and self-promotional, yet really fun and hilarious at the same time.

I made a Facebook quiz!!!

Which song from Toyshop are you???

I worked painstakingly on this tonight- started brainstorming ideas yesterday.  The app, Quiz Creator, was kind of a pain in the ass- at one point I thought I lost ALL my work, which was 3 hours worth of writing, most of which was not copied anywhere else- but it turned out I only lost HALF of it.

But I agonized over writing the results.  I really wanted answers that would hit home with people.  I know- it’s a stupid Facebook personality test, it has no weight in anything whatsoever- but I guess I’m just an overachiever, I took it really seriously!  I want to impress my friends. :)

I found really apt pictures for all the songs.  Interesting, because it did force me to stop and ask what my visual image was for each song, or how I would summarize it in one image.  I have a spooky cabin in the night sky for Midnight Bride, because I always imagine the lovers meeting at a summer cabin in the woods.  (“Way out here…”)  I have a fuzzy, dream-like image of a silhouetted guy standing under a willow tree for “Vision”- I guess that image always stuck in my mind, even though it’s just a toss-off line (“I had a vision of you standing by the willow tree”), written more for sound than for meaning.  Whereas other lines in the song are much more creative and interesting.  For Toyshop I have some really creepy-looking doll parts, for Monica I have a Successories parody poster called “Tits,” for ‘Kay I have a pair of hands streaming with blood, for “The Sky is Close” I have a silhouette of someone reaching for the blue sky, for “A Carol” I have a shining Christmas star, for “Snowshadow” I have snow in a lamplight- and again, that’s the visual image that I always get for that song, even though it’s one of the last lines.  And a good drawing of a hand reading for a more lightly-sketched hand, for “Pull Me Up”- I thought it represented well the idea of the girl in the song reaching for her dead mother.  Yeah, see, I don’t talk so much about what the songs are “about” because they are mostly non-narrative and all are non-autobiographical.  But I do have a lot of specific ideas in my head, at least visual.

So please take my quiz- and let me know what your results are!!!

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‘Kay lyrics

August 29, 2009 at 2:07 am (Music) (, , )

‘Kay

(by Amanda White)

listen here

Run away.  That’s all I can say to you.

Hold me.  Tell me you’ll be back again someday.

Leave behind all my love had promised you.

From now on, I’ll just be in the way.

Don’t look at me, don’t look at me.

There’s nothing I can–

Don’t look at me, don’t look at me.

Get out before I–

‘Kay.  I promise not to turn you over.

But me, I’m so weak, so small, so helpless in it all.

Don’t leave your life to me.

Don’t leave your life to me.

There’s nothing I can do

To save you

save you.

Can you say you’ve nothing to hide from me no more?

I don’t think I would believe you anyway.

But go ahead.  I just want to hear it from your voice.

I’ll pretend everything’s okay.

Don’t scream at me, don’t scream at me.

There’s nothing I can–

Don’t scream at me, don’t scream at me.

Get out before I–

‘Kay.  I promise not to turn you over.

But me, I’m so weak, so small, so helpless in it all.

Don’t leave your life to me.

Don’t leave your life to me.

There’s nothing I can do

To save you,

save you.  And I say, and I say

Don’t worry what I’ve got, because I’ve got a life to live.

And I won’t worry whether not you’re gonna take what you can give.

I can handle it.  I always do.

I can handle it, but how ’bout you?

And I know, and I know

that someday you’ll be back beneath the guidance of the wind,

And I know somewhere you’ll be fine within your sin.

After all, it’s you.

After all, it’s only true.

And I say, and I say

Don’t worry what I’ve got, because I’ve got a life to live.

And I won’t worry whether not you’re gonna take what you can give.

I can handle it.  I always do.

I can handle it, but how ’bout you?

And I know, and I know

that someday you’ll be back beneath the guidance of the wind,

And I know somewhere you’ll be fine within your sin.

After all, it’s you.

After all, it’s only true.

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A Carol lyrics

August 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm (Music, Writing) (, , , )

A Carol (by Amanda White, with some obvious lyrical borrowing)

listen here

One was the call, and one was the fall,

And one was the hope of all:

Knowing that death, for all that it’s worth

Must have its start in birth.

Come down from your lair

Come burning the air

Oh

Silent night, Silent night,

Star of wonder, star of light.

Burning bright, holy night,

Guide us to thy perfect light.

Come from the sky, oh do or we die.

Answer your children’s cry.

Remembering when you walked among men,

Set foot on the Earth again.

Come down from your lair

Come burning the air

Oh

Silent night, Silent night,

Star of wonder, star of light.

Burning bright, holy night,

Guide us to thy perfect light.

Away in a manger all time comes to solidfiy.

Away in a stable the Lord of the Earth learns to cry.

Oh king of creation, who are you to come in this way,

To blast through the atmosphere, landing asleep on the hay.

Give us your peace or give us your sword,

Just don’t keep us waiting, Lord.

The earth is aflame, our hearts are the same.

Establish your holy name.

Come down from your lair

Come burning the air

Oh

Silent night, Silent night,

Star of wonder, star of light.

Burning bright, holy night,

Guide us to thy perfect light.

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The Reason lyrics

August 13, 2009 at 6:08 pm (Music, Writing) (, , , )

The Reason (by Amanda White of course)

listen here

Having sex with you is like pulling teeth, yeah

The best days we went through were’nt worth the least, yeah

And I know you wanna take me back

And I know our time is through

‘Cause your love isn’t worth your bullshit

And that’s the only reason I hate you.

You’ve got so much drama and you’re no fun, yeah

And when we go out you wreck it for everyone, yeah

And I know we’ve got some things to say

Only that I think you’re gay, and that’s okay,

But your love isn’t worth your bullshit

And that’s the only reason I hate you.

Whoah whoah whoah whoah

You’re the last man on earth, I’ll go fuck a baboon

Procreation’s not worth all the crap that you spew

For the last time, it’s the last time.

If you love a butterfly, set it free, yeah

If you hate it all the better if you ask me, yeah

If you’re done with talking all your smack

Go away and don’t come back

‘Cause your love isn’t worth your bullshit

And that’s the only reason I hate you.

And that’s the only reason I hate you

Douche.

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The Sky is Close lyrics

August 12, 2009 at 12:23 am (Music, Writing) (, , )

The Sky is Close (by me, Amanda White)

listen here

Are you trippin, boy, you think I’d let you come along?

The wind is all I need to turn me on.

I’ve got the sun in my hair, I’ve got wings, I’ve got the air,

and echoed in my ears I’ve got the song.

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

The sky is close, I feel the sun.

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

And now is where I come undone

No one

has been around and around my orbit like you.

It’s true.

“Let go, let go” my heart keeps calling.

If you can’t keep up you’ll fall right down, you’ll fall right down,

and if you fall there’ll be no turning back.

And as you slip through the cracks, take a breath, try to relax.

And brace your body, brace for the impact.

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

The sky is close, I feel the sun.

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

And now is where I come undone.

No one

has been around and around my orbit like you.

It’s true.

“Let go, let go” my heart keeps calling.

So enthralling

If you heard what I heard, you saw what I saw,

then nary a word could call you away.

But say what you will, I’ll say what you won’t,

You’ll say “Darling, don’t.”

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

The sky is close, I feel the sun.

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

And now is where I come undone

No one

has been around and around my orbit like you.

It’s true.

“Let go, let go” my heart keeps calling.

ooo

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

The sky is close, I feel the sun.

Uh-uh-uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh

And now is where I come undone.

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Vision lyrics

August 10, 2009 at 2:09 am (Music, Writing) (, , )

Vision (by Amanda White!!)

(No recording of this, you’ll have to wait for the album!) UPDATE: listen here

I had a vision of you

crying in the cold.

Through sobs you called out my name,

begging me to hold you.

And as you cried, your tears caught in the sun.

And I saw they were beads of jewels, every one.

I had a vision of you standing by the willow tree.

You knew I was all alone, so you said a prayer for me.

I saw you in my mind,

how I held you tight

for you were sad and afraid,

frightened in the night.

I said, “I’ll protect you,

don’t worry, hon.”

You laughed, “You’ll protect me, huh,

little one?”

And I just nodded at you,

and you knew, in that moment you knew.

You looked down at me so still

and you said, “Yeah, I guess you will.”

Every night I close my eyes

I hear your voice inside me.

I feel your breath upon my neck.

I know that you’re beside me.

And I pray to the gods that made us to be

That you’ll find your way back to me.

That soon I can squeeze your hand

and we’ll find us a happy end.

And now I feel your eyes

searching for my soul.

Wondering if I’m still here with you,

begging just to hold you.

If only you knew

these visions are true.

If only you knew

I’m still here for you.

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Toyshop lyrics

August 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm (Music) (, , )

Toyshop (by Amanda White)

listen to the demo here: UPDATE: listen to the pro version here

Bring your broken hearts into my toyshop.

I will make you whole with my tools.

I will hammer on your soft arteries

’til they make way for God’s love.  Fools

come from far away, bringing balls of clay

for my hands to hold, mold, enfold.

Come into my shop, my sweet lollipop.

Shield yourself from the April cold.

When you went away, I thought I heard you say

“You’ll regret the day you didn’t take it all the way.”

Hey-yay-yay don’t you come my way,

won’t you bleed the day from your heart of clay

singing hey-yeah, hey-yeah, no more lies.

Come from solitude to my toyshop door.

Come and say to me one more lie.

Smile, I’m watching you.  Watch me watching you.

See the things I do with my eyes.

When you bring me down, I feel all around,

I taste every sound, I want more.

Come in, ecstasy, exit empathy.

Come and knock on my Toyshop door.

When I went away, I turned back to say

“You’ll regret the day you didn’t take me all the way.”

Hey-yay-yay don’t you come my way,

won’t you  bleed the day from your heart of clay

singing hey-yeah, hey-yeah, no more lies.

When we went away, we turned back to say,

“You’ll regret the day you didn’t wipe it all away.”

Hey-yay-yay don’t you come my way,

won’t you  bleed the day from your heart of clay

singing hey-yeah, hey-yeah, no more lies.

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My acoustic act progresses

April 9, 2009 at 3:38 am (Music, Travel and Places) (, , , , , , , , )

Hi hi hi!!!

Sorry guys- I’ve been crazy busy trying to book this tour.  It’s impossible!!!!  I mean, people just don’t call you back, or they don’t answer their phones when they’re supposed to, whatever.  This is my first time trying to do this, if you hadn’t noticed.  I also thought my promoter would get me some gigs, but he hasn’t pulled that off yet.  But today, after spending about 6 hours doing emails, phone calls, and going through websites and MySpace pages of venues, I booked my first OFFICIAL gig!!!!  On Wednesday, April 29, I’ll be playing at 4620 Reinvented in Knoxville.  The lady who booked me was SOOOOO nice, she did everything on the spot (even hung up for 10 minutes so she could listen to my material on my website and call me right back).  Unbelieveably nice and helpful.  Oh man if everyone were like that… Anyways.  I have a couple *ideas* for where and when I can play, but nothing else officially booked yet.  Just a matter of people &@*#$*@ calling me/writing me back.

So, I haven’t written you guys in a long time, so I better let you know what’s up!!!  So, my gig at Otto’s was wonderful!!!  I was nervous when I got there- well, first of all I was trying to assemble my charts on the train- the charts which, as I expected, I didn’t end up needing at all- and then the band before me had a huge draw.  Part of the logic behind me playing a midnight (well it ended up being 11:30) show at Otto’s- and not going out of my way to promote it much- was getting to play to a small, intimate room.  And I get there and the place was packed.  I literally said to the bartender, “I hope all these people leave before I have to play!”  I mean, not to hurt the bar’s business, just that I was just testing the waters.  I was still afraid I would- not suck, but- not live up to my own potential.

I needn’t have worried- the room cleared out pretty fast after the band before me finished.  There was one guy I knew, who had brought a friend, and the rest of the room were people who just wandered in.

But they DID wander in!!  As I played, many people who were drinking out in the bar came back to see who was that girl singing and what’s going on back there, they pulled up a chair, and they listened to my whole set.  I’m so happy I was able to bring people into the room! :)

The gig went really well.  Sure, I played a handful of wrong chords- oh, and we couldn’t get my pick-up mic to work, after the fact we found out it needed phantom power and high gain.  So we did the whole sticking a microphone in front of the guitar thing.  So the guitar was pretty quiet and I pretty much couldn’t hear it at all, so I know I made mistakes but I’m not even sure myself to what extent. :)

So, my songs killed.  Yayyy!!!!!  People laughed out loud at “The Reason,” of course Monica was popular, but the other ones too- “Pull Me Up,” I had forgotten, after so much time, the effect that song has on people.  And I always can feel a huge audience response after “Vision.”  I probably wouldn’t even play it anymore except that every time I play it in public, it resonates so strongly with the audience.  Some of the lyrics are really lame, but some are very strong.

Anyway, if nothing else the gig at Otto’s served to boost my confidence.  I mean, I am a total narcissist and I think I’m a great musician with an amazing voice and my songs are all priceless treasures and my stage presence is legendary, etc.  But I was skeptical how I’d be able to manage transposing all my pieces for simple acoustic guitar.  And I was afraid my lyric-writing would show itself to be lame.  But in the end I had no trouble whatsoever commanding a room with my guitar, even on the songs that were not really meant to be acoustic solos, and I actually received multiple compliments on my lyrics.  That was a huge boost to me, as I’m so sensitive about them.

So now I’m trying to practice guitar a lot, to prepare for my tour.  I’m getting huge, terrible knots in my neck, because I like to play standing… I decided to try loosening the strap, which helped a little but it’s still bothering me.  Anyone have any suggestions?  If I’m going to be playing a set almost every night, I need to not have this getting worse and worse like it is.

Tonight I finally worked out one of my new songs (working title “The Sky is Close”) for solo acoustic.  It was a song I had felt iffy about… the lyrics in many places aren’t very strong, and while the chorus is super-catchy and fun, I wasn’t sold on the verses and the piece as a whole and how it fits into my act.  I’m including it on my album, but only because I have a real vision of a music video for it.  Anyways, tonight I finally worked it out on my guitar, and that cinched it.  It’s great.  It works.  I can’t get it out of my head.  I don’t know if it will be COMMERCIALLY popular, but people will like it.  It’s got a swing rhythm, very dancy, singable, minor key, and it’s the jazzy bridge that makes it.  Funny, as I was writing recently about how I hate writing bridges- but maybe that’s because I’m so picky about them.  Because when I DO write a bridge, it’s always like the best part.  So look for “The Sky is Close” at my next live acoustic show, and let me know what you think!!

So that’s what’s going on with me now.  Lots of phoning and emailing, trying to book my tour.  Oh, and also it’s Holy Week.  We had Tenebrae tonight, which was mostly Gregorian chant.  The motets we did were great, though.  Except I’m I think the only person in the whole choir who doesn’t have a solo at all the whole week.  Not that I particularly need a solo, but like I mentioned previously, I’m like, huh?  Whatever, we all get paid the same…

You all have a great night, and I’ll try to keep you posted about things!!!

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Writing lyrics

March 12, 2009 at 2:13 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Hi everybody!

I’ve hunkered down the last few days to write songs.

The first day was an abysmal failure, I don’t think I got anything done.

Then last night I made serious progress.  I pulled out all my old music notebooks with sketches and old songs in them to see if there was anything I had forgotten about.  There was!  There were a couple really neat “ideas” jotted down, and a few complete or almost complete songs.

Actually, to step back further, there was one of my songs I recently rediscovered when I came across an old potential track/setlist.  You know how the subway sometimes has poems where the ads go?  Like, as PSA?  For our enlightenment?  Once several years ago there was a poem I thought was really pretty and sad, so I made a note of it, went home and looked the words up, and set it to music.  The poem is A Broken Appointment by Thomas Hardy, and I set it very simply, like a Spanish guitar folksong.  Only one real surprise chord in it.  I can even play it nicely- I am moderately capable of plucking the guitar strings to arpeggiate, which produces the right effect.  So I saw that song on my old list and I was like, “Ohhhhh!!!  Yeah!  I remember that one!” I pulled out my guitar and to my surprise I remembered every word and chord with but little mental searching, which is odd considering I hadn’t even remembered the song existed.

So I pulled out my notebooks and made some rediscoveries.  There were some old songs that, how can I say, didn’t seem to apply to my life anymore musically.  Like maybe a bit too poppy and hooky, or on the other side a bit to dark and twisted.  I have tended towards both extremes, and at the same time- even now it’s the same.  Compare something shadowy and dissonant like “Pull Me Up” with “Monica’s Getting her Tits Done“- Monica passes the badass test because the lyrics are so quirky.  There are others that aren’t recorded.  But the rift was wider back then.

One song I had totally forgotten about was this piece intended for piano and voice.  It’s simple, the chords change slowly at times, and I played it (back when I played piano sometimes) with just repeated triplet chords, gently.  It’s just a song that builds, pretty much AABA(1).  The A’s are very gentle, and the B and part of the last A build strongly.  It’s actually a pretty cool piece.  I would like to use it for something, except it sounds stupid on guitar.  It needs a piano.  I tried playing the triplets with the side of my thumb, and striking higher or lower strings for variation (as I would play different chord inversions on the piano), but it really wanted for the bass line… Yeah I know it’s just me and my guitar, it would sound different with a band.  Anyways.  The lyrics.  Hm.  It’s one of those things where I feel like, the lyrics are so inane… even at the time when I wrote it (these are my notebooks from France and a little from Queens) I kept trying to alter them to be less cheesy/nonsensical, but kept coming back to the originals because they flowed so nicely.

That’s some of what separates lyrics from poetry.  In poetry you want more creative word choices- in lyrics, unusual turns of a phrase can interfere with the flow of the line.  In most kinds of writing, rule number one is to avoid cliches.  In lyrics, you want to use cliches and common phrases because quite simply they are easier for the ear to catch.  If you want anyone to understand what you’re saying, you can’t say “The twilight of deception is upon the Earth,” you have to say “No more lies.”  (To quote my own line in Toyshop, which I feel a little embarassed about because it’s such a cliche and so out of place, but you have to admit you can understand it and it flows nicely.)  To work with the same example: the former, while bulky, is more lyrical than rephrasing it as “Deception’s twilight falls on Earth’s face.”  Where is the rhythm?  And look at those awkward consonant clusters!!!  It might be a more original sentence, but it’s not singable and certainly not intelligible.  As trite as it may sound, “The ____ of _____ is _____ the ______” has a nice, easy, iambic flow to it that is easily set, sung, and heard.

Um, my point was, saying things like “Don’t you come my way” and “Oh my lover” (the latter a recurring phrase from the current song in question, the former another line from Toyshop) may sound very amateurish when examined under the harsh light of speech, but are very convenient for songwriting.

Am I trying to justify my own bad lyric writing?  Maybe?  I don’t know, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for years.  I suppose the ideal compromise is to use cliches within the context of awesome stealth rhymes.  But who has the time? :) No srsly I’m sure I can think of an example on my part if I think of it… yeah: “Monica’s getting her tits done, she’ll be the hottest piece in Boston.”  Does Boston rhyme with “tits done”?  Maybe- but either way, you totally didn’t expect it to until I said it!  Also, “piece” is kind of a surprise word but doesn’t interrupt the flow of the line, and is easy to understand, especially since it gets its own quarter note.

That’s my other trick, that I often use in prose writing- use a cliche but change one word in it to something more innovative.  It could have easily been “hottest chick in Boston” which is sooo lame, but change it to “hottest piece in Boston” and you’ve got yourself a song.

So, backtracking, the lyrics to the song in question are very cliched (though sometimes in unusual formations), but they just flow so nicely I have yet to find anything I like as much.  So maybe they stay?  Doesn’t matter, I won’t be recording it, or maybe not playing it live since I don’t play piano anymore like at all.  But I would like to find a use for it… I’d tell you what it is but I really don’t have a good title for it!

Anyways, last night I more or less wrote a whole new song (I think it needs a last verse or something), which seems pretty cool, but would need a lot of production if I record it ’cause it’s a potentially complicated song (like Midnight Bride or the one really cool song that’s been in the works for years that you haven’t heard yet because we never finished the arrangement, which I really really wanted to do but I don’t think Ross can do it now but it’s like my favorite), so we’ll see… And I finally, finally FINALLY after all these years worked out the “Having sex with you is like pulling teeth” song that I have hummed to so many people in passing.  I finished the first verse last night (you don’t even understand how long it took me to write one verse) and then today on the subway to my class I finished the second verse and part of the bridge (I liked it without the bridge but it was BARELY two minutes and I have too many short songs already) and on the way back from class I finished the rest of the bridge and the last verse.

Yeah, so I write a lot of short songs, huh?  Maybe not- Toyshop has somehow made it to 3.5 minutes (only with a guitar solo though), and Midnight Bride and Pull Me Up are both pretty long- but only because they have long, repetitive, build-up endings!  I guess you’ll have to hear some of my stuff that’s not recorded yet.  But I tend to be like, “There, I said what I had to say- why do I have to write another verse???”  Really I’m just lazy about lyric writing.  I like it, well I love it when I get a good couple lines, which I often do in the end, but it’s such a process- because like this entire post implies, I feel embarassed when the words come out limp.

So good progress in the end.  Hope to have something to play for you, eventually!

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Monica’s Getting her Tits Done

November 26, 2008 at 4:28 am (Music) (, )

My blog stats have been pretty lousy the last few days, so I thought I’d get some attention by posting the lyrics to my new song, Monica’s Getting her Tits Done.  No recording yet as my recording device is completely busted.  Hope to get a new one soon, then I’ll see if it sounds decent as an acoustic draft or not. In the meantime, please enjoy my poetry.

UPDATE: here’s the pro recording

“Monica’s Getting her Tits Done”
by Amanda White

This place shuts down at 2 o’clock
We go outside and take a walk
We wish that we were 21
But being legal kinda takes out all the fun

I wish we had a set of wheels
I’d wear my 4-inch leopard heels
I’m getting blisters from this street
When I get home you better kiss my sexy feet

Monica’s getting her tits done
She’ll be the hottest piece in Boston
I never thought it was all about me
‘Til I found out that it is
I am the sun

You’ve never met a girl like her
And she’ll make sure that you concur
No one except for maybe me
I’ll let you go but I can never set you free

Monica’s getting her tits done
She’ll be the hottest piece in Boston
I never thought it was all about me
‘Til I found out that it is
I am the sun
You can worship me
Build all your gods to me
Circle your life ’round me
Burn for me
Die for me
Hot, can you handle it
Blind, you can’t look at me
I’ll send your world up in flames if you fuck with me
I think you know the score
I’ll make you want it more
If you walk out the door
You won’t get two blocks
This town shuts down at 2 o’clock
We’ll beat the clock
Let’s rock

Monica knows the game
She knows it’s name
She knows the rules
She has you fooled
Those pretty eyes
Think fast
She’s gone
She lied
It’s on
Poor you
Round 2

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