Update On My Latest Parody Songs
I’m acutely aware that the largest percentage of those who frequent my blog are interested in my parody songs. And I’m thrilled for that. My interests have vacillated all over the map—encompassing many different areas; and when the music industry made it so that releasing albums no longer became realistic, I thought that I could move on, pursuing other skillsets and interests. You have been patient with me as I have done this.
As I had done so, I had been growing in skill-sets and knowledge that can have me creating parody songs and crafting YouTube videos at a much faster rate than before. That is my hope, anyway.
Can I do this?
Earlier this week I crafted a plan of action that can assist me in doing just that—become a factory of creation of current-day parody songs, to be used for both humor and evangelism/catechetics. A song that respects the artistry of the songs themselves, doesn’t try to insult the listener for their interest, and packs a punch with as much value-nuggets AND comical asides as possibly can.
The “Song-Of-the-Summer” Approach
We live in an odd time of the music industry. My generation has, by and large, mostly moved on from listening to the radio; music is supported by the youth and young adults, searching for an outlet that gives rise to expressions that they are experiencing.
In years past, I’ve opted to pay attention to the music charts when different pop songs battle it out for “Song of the Summer.” You know, that infectious pop song that dominates the air waves when school is out, and remains in the public consciousness for years after. This made my job easy.
This was the first year that there was no winner of the “Song of the Summer.” Much ink has been spilled over this. Nobody could come to agreement, so I was stuck. I wasn’t sure what my next step was.
Two Older Parody Song Ideas
About a month ago, a fan (you know who you are) asked my opinion about his parody of a country song that came out about ten years ago (”I Love This Bar” by Toby Keith). Country is not my strong suit, but I listened to it, and I saw potential there that he didn’t see yet. We have traded ideas back and forth, and I hope to have a collaborated result ready soon. But doing this reminded me how I have an approach that others don’t have.
Around the same time, I got an ear-candy idea for the 80s song “Der Kommissar,” by Falco and covered by one-hit-wonder After The Fire. It made me giddy, I was so enraptured by this. But I shared it with my best soundboard about song ideas—my wife, Maryellen—and she told me the hard truth: stop doing parodies of 80s songs. You’ve traversed this well enough. My focus should be on current-day songs—even though I may not be innately familiar with them.
This only serves to underscore how different times are today.
The Need for Current-Day Parody Songs
At the risk of sounding like a “Get Off My Lawn” irascible grandpa, but when I was young, people learned what was popular through radio Top 40, MTV and varied outlets like SNL’s music stage. Nowadays there’s a lot more musical outlets (and MTV stopped showing videos altogether). The biggest seems to be YouTube, where a popular song can have as many as hundreds of millions of hits.
We live in a time where an entire demographic can declare certain songs as being crazily popular, while the rest of the masses can be blissfully ignorant of such songs ever existing. I see this. I have family audiences I play for, of varying age groups, having a generational reaction to the parodies I perform: I could play a song that has hundreds of millions of YouTube hits, and the audience would be hearing my parody as if they were hearing the original song for the first time.
If I truly wish to be evangelical, I cannot live in the safety net of decades past. I need to be current day. I need to strive to understand what songs teenagers and young adults are humming along to. I need to get behind those songs and write for them, touching upon those issues that they are addressed with—perhaps, ideally, fortifying them with ammunition as to why they should remain faith-filled, in the face of such a mass exodus from all things religious.
Fiverr To The Rescue
So, this past week I took matters into my own hands. I need to become familiar with current-day pop songs, but I don’t want to get mired in the sludge of those songs and videos that would prove to be a temptation or distraction for me. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there.
I also didn’t want to do this by listening to the radio. Too much of a time waster. Too many commercials. Being held captive by some songs while still being ignorant of the popularity of others. Being forced to hear songs that I couldn’t stand, either due to lyrical or styles. There had to be a better way to cut through the bad stuff to find the potential diamonds out there.
I finally realized that I could hire somebody to do this vetting for me. Fiverr, for those who don’t know, is a place where somebody could do a simple job for five dollars. I put up a request for a current-day music fan, and within a day I got a list of thirty songs from the last two years that fit exact criteria, encompassing pop, rock and country songs. I was so impressed with the list that I complimented her, and she came back with a second list of such songs the very next day.
With these lists, I was able to listen to these songs, and quickly whittle them down to a workable level of action. Songs from artists as varied as Fall Out Boy, Becky G, Walk The Moon and Rachel Platten, among many, many others. Some of these songs an idea registered right away; others I will let germinate. How wonderful it would be if I can truly complete a sizable number of current-day parody songs—not just for when I am performing for high school audiences, but also for my own YouTube creation, that last venue I’ve yet to master by myself.
The Long Haul
It’s been slow going, but I may have come up with a system that can have me create and release new parody songs at a much faster pace than before. Systems are where it’s at. It’s how Pixar can create and release a fully beloved new classic over a series of years.
Certainly, I’ve been too slow on getting this off the ground. I can create videos of the parody songs I’ve done in the interim, but even these may be too dated—I don’t know.
There’s a saying: when it comes to creation of a viable product, whether it be an invention or art, one can desire to have it done cheaply, fast, and excellent. But the reality is that the person can only choose two out of three.
- It can be done fast and cheap, but poor quality.
- It can be done fast and excellent, but it will cost a lot.
- It can be done cheap and excellent, but it will take a long time getting there.
I’ve opted for that third approach. I’ve been amassing skills that will help me do exactly this on a consistent basis. I’ve been tapping into the mindset of the disenfranchised youth and young adults of today, getting into why they are dissatisfied with church and with faith, and looking for subjects that speak to them. And I want to do this using songs that they are innately familiar with, even as my generation has largely ignored them.
I won’t bypass the goals of the other products that I desire to craft, that I mentioned in past posts, especially since I see online courses as a viable means to do this, in regards to helping parents and youth group leaders learn how to share the faith with their kids. That’s coming. But these parody songs can assist you first.
I’m in this for the long haul, and I desire to reach new generations with the Gospel of Christ, using my talents, including those unique talents of crafting parody songs.
In the meantime, what songs would you like to see covered? Let me know in the comments.