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  • The City That Cancer Built

    This is a song about Winston-Salem, NC. I've had this title in my head for years and keep meaning to do something with it. A few weeks back I'm doing some grocery shopping on a Sunday, went to put a six pack of beer in the cart and realized that they couldn't sell it to me as it wasn't noon yet. The hypocrisy of not being able to buy a 6 pack (for later I might add) on a Sunday morning because the local government thinks I should be spending that time in church learning about how Jesus turned water in to wine pushed me towards working on it a bit. I really hate this town.

    Right now I'm just at the random lyric stage and a little brainstorming. I'm still trying to figure out the tone of the thing. I've got 3 pieces of music I could go with for this. One is a piano thing I threw together in EZ Keys, one is a folksy acoustic bit, and one is a harder rock song. I keep going back and forth between all of them, I could use a little more humor in the rock version, but I'm not sure I want to lose any of the bite.

    I see this as being my "Walking in Memphis" except nothing cool ever happens here, ever.

    The Maya Angelou line is true, I went to her house about a month ago to look at some flooring issues, and we shot the bull for 15 min or so. She is a cool old bird. I was this close to telling her that I was a bit of a poet myself... but then I chickened out.


    The City That Cancer Built

    We got outlaws, and we got blue laws.
    On Sunday we roll up the side walks
    A half a million hypocrites I count myself amongst.
    We got preachers, we got hookers
    Hell I got one in the trunk

    It

  • #2
    Dramey,

    Good concept. As an aside, two people in my extended family, now older, whom I am very close to, both heavy smokers forever, have developed terrible illnesses. In my mind directly related to cigarettes. So your song resonates with me.

    1. I'm not keen on these lines:
    We got preachers, we got hookers
    Hell I got one in the trunk

    ... my take away is one of these is dead and in your trunk.??? Or did you mean "truck." I think the later works very nicely, and even adds a small touch of humor to an otherwise serious song.

    2. This line:
    Babies are born and blood is spilt

    ... must mean "blood is spit", which is applicable to the subject of cirgarettes... ???

    3. I'm lov'en these lines:
    And if your not sitting on a pew come Sunday morning
    We
    <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>&quot;Now and then... occasionally... it seems to have.... too many notes&quot;</i><br></div>

    Comment


    • #3
      I grew up down the road near Charlotte (the city that greedy-ass bankers built), so I am familiar with your subject matter. Old Salem is the only thing in Winston-Salem that is worth keeping.

      I'll echo Rick's confusion about the "trunk" line. I like the preachers and hookers line before it; it fits with the whole rotten-sin-in-the-bible-belt theme. But the trunk thing makes no sense unless the protagonist is a serial killer. So you might want to back up a couple lines and rethink the word "amongst," which produced the need for the "unk" rhyme and is pretty awkward grammar on its own.

      The first two stanzas sound like verses; the rest seems like a series of ideas that need to be whipped into shape. Don't get me wrong, there are some really good ideas in there; they just need to be tamed into a structure of some sort. I like them all, especially the cigarettes and Krispy Kremes line. Well, the list at the bottom is probably too much subject matter to include in one song. But the random lines that you have written out all sound good. I hope you can find a way to include them all.
      Beware of deepities.<br>-- Daniel Dennett

      Comment


      • #4
        The trunk line was just something I thought was funny, I agree that it doesn't fit tone wise.

        Maya Angelou is probably our most famous resident these days. I'd like to find a way to name drop her.

        I'm not sure how deep I want to get in to the cigarette thing. I think the title says it all really. I'd like the song to be about the holier than thou smugness that drips off of damn near everyone in a city that was literally built on selling death.

        I learned the Hanes thing on Wikipedia researching the song, and did some more digging. Hanes, as in "Wait til we get our Hanes on you" and the leader of GE started the Human Betterment League in the 40s. They forced sterilization on less desirables. Often without the parents permission. Most of which were young poor and black. A 14 year old rape victim was sterilized for being promiscuous. Boys were castrated. They did so because they were afraid that affluent whites weren't breeding fast enough.

        Comment


        • #5
          I can't relate. In Pennsylvania, you can't buy beer in a grocery store. Nor wine. In fact, you can't buy beer in the same store where you buy wine. We have 'beer distributors' and 'liquor stores'.

          Comment


          • #6
            This is a song about Winston-Salem, NC. I've had this title in my head for years and keep meaning to do something with it. A few weeks back I'm doing some grocery shopping on a Sunday, went to put a six pack of beer in the cart and realized that they couldn't sell it to me as it wasn't noon yet. The hypocrisy of not being able to buy a 6 pack (for later I might add) on a Sunday morning because the local government thinks I should be spending that time in church learning about how Jesus turned water in to wine pushed me towards working on it a bit. I really hate this town.

            Right now I'm just at the random lyric stage and a little brainstorming. I'm still trying to figure out the tone of the thing. I've got 3 pieces of music I could go with for this. One is a piano thing I threw together in EZ Keys, one is a folksy acoustic bit, and one is a harder rock song. I keep going back and forth between all of them, I could use a little more humor in the rock version, but I'm not sure I want to lose any of the bite.

            I see this as being my "Walking in Memphis" except nothing cool ever happens here, ever.

            The Maya Angelou line is true, I went to her house about a month ago to look at some flooring issues, and we shot the bull for 15 min or so. She is a cool old bird. I was this close to telling her that I was a bit of a poet myself... but then I chickened out.


            The City That Cancer Built

            We got outlaws, and we got blue laws.
            On Sunday we roll up the side walks
            A half a million hypocrites I count myself amongst.
            We got preachers, we got hookers
            Hell I got one in the trunk

            It
            “I started being a songwriter pretending I could do it, and it turned out I could.” —James Taylor.

            Comment


            • #7
              Just to let you know, you can go outside and buy beer from a vending machine out here in Japan. Hahaha. Anyway, I like your brainstorm. What are blue laws? And is that line about the mall being named after the socks company and that they tried to sterilize black people true? Cause that's crazy, man. hahaha. The Krispy Kreme line is classic.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">Like Final Fantasy music? Like heavy metal?<br />
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              • #8
                In NC you can buy beer and wine in a grocery store, anything with more thn 6% alcohol is sold at a ABC store.

                Blue laws are the laws that are intended to get you to go to church. A few years back you couldn't sell anything but food before 1pm on Sunday here. I think that must have got changed, either that or everyone just ignores it. Alcohol sales used to be prohibited before 1pm, but it was changed to noon when we got the NFL here, as most of the Panther games started at 1pm. Games, I'm sure a lot of politicians go to... Good thing God is a football fan I guess.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm not sure how deep I want to get in to the cigarette thing. I think the title says it all really. I'd like the song to be about the holier than thou smugness that drips off of damn near everyone in a city that was literally built on selling death.


                  I think you're going to have to do at least a little explanation on the cigarette thing. Otherwise, no one outside the local area is going to get the song. The trick will be how to let people in on the theme without being too straightforward.
                  Beware of deepities.<br>-- Daniel Dennett

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think you're going to have to do at least a little explanation on the cigarette thing. Otherwise, no one outside the local area is going to get the song. The trick will be how to let people in on the theme without being too straightforward.


                    I agree. I like the stuff you have going on, but right now it feels like I haven't been indoctrined yet, that the song is for a specific group with knowledge of something I don't have.
                    Don't listen to Justin.
                    LCK - 2/21/2012

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There's a lot of nice flips of phrases in there. Lots of good writing. Were this mine I'd pull out one nice bit and just make a song about that one. You have like 15 ideas in there. We're shopping for beer, throwing hookers in trunks, bitching about cigarettes and... Hello Maya Angelou! WTF? It's colorful but not coherant.

                      What I'd do were I were you: Drop the preachy bit and keep it personal. Who gives a **************** about the broader state of the world? You want your Beer on Sunday morning. That's interesting. Stick with that. Hypocrites are lame straw men: We can all agree they are bad. Great.

                      Pussing out about not telling Maya Angelou: "Hey, I'm a poet too." That's really good stuff too. That's the real dirt. How fun is that? But getting uppidy about the socioeconomic state of your town is ... exhausting.

                      THIS: "I really hate this town."

                      That's good straight writing. There's emotion there. I'd run with that one straight up the middle too.

                      What is funny is I've seen this a bunch of times in this thread: The introduction/explanation people write to their lyrics is often better & truer than the lyrics they spent time crafting. I've actually gotten a bunch of good songwriting ideas from the little bits of reality & truth people share in their explanations that are absent from the work or simply not as pointed.

                      Also, I'll say it cause no one else will: The Hooker in the trunk line is stupid and crass and quite simply not funny.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">Correction - &quot;max is wrong, abrasive and, likely, a felon&quot;<br />
                      <br />
                      finally found it ... the dumbest person on the internet. matximus.</div>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So, is it a preacher or a hooker you have in your trunk ? ? ? ? ? . . . , Makes a difference, you know.


                        Hard to say how well it works/flows without music. But it's pretty cool lyrically.


                        PS - I'm not sure about the title. Not referenced anywhere. Plus there doesn't seem have a repeating part, does it?

                        "Outlaws and Blue Laws"
                        "Half a Million Hypocrites"
                        http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/marshallsongs
                        http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/marshallsongs

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here we go. Damn near writes itself.

                          You Can't Buy Beer on Sunday

                          I wanna get outta this church pew
                          I'd rather be sipping a cold brew
                          But here I am sitting here stuck
                          And that ain't the worst of my luck

                          Because You Can't buy beer on Sunday
                          On Sunday this town goes Dry
                          You can't buy beer on Sunday
                          I don't really know why

                          Sundays are always the worst
                          My woman drags me to church
                          And if my cooler ain't stocked for the Game
                          Then brother - it is a shame

                          Because You Can't Buy Beer on Sunday
                          On Sunday this town goes Dry
                          You can't buy beer on Sunday
                          I don't really know why

                          If the preacher can serve us some wine
                          How is selling a sixer a crime?
                          I'm thirsty but what can I do?
                          These blue laws are making me blue

                          Because you Can't Buy Beer on Sunday....

                          Bridge CONCEPT:
                          If drinking's already sin
                          And God is really watching
                          Does the man in the sky
                          Really care when I buy what I'm drinking?
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">Correction - &quot;max is wrong, abrasive and, likely, a felon&quot;<br />
                          <br />
                          finally found it ... the dumbest person on the internet. matximus.</div>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I love the idea. I think you need to come right out and mention where it is you're talking about:


                            Welcome to beautiful downtown Winston-Salem, NC
                            If we can't kill you with the cigarettes we'll kill you with the Krispy Kremes
                            ___

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here we go. Damn near writes itself.

                              You Can't Buy Beer on Sunday

                              I wanna get outta this church pew
                              I'd rather be sipping a cold brew
                              But here I am sitting here stuck
                              And that ain't the worst of my luck

                              Because can't buy beer on Sunday
                              On Sunday this town goes Dry
                              You can't buy beer on Sunday
                              I don't really know why

                              If the preacher can serve us some wine
                              Why is selling a sixer a crime?
                              I'm thirsty but what can I do?
                              These blue laws are making me blue

                              Because can't buy beer on Sunday
                              On Sundays this town goes Dry
                              You can't buy beer on Sunday
                              I don't really know why

                              BRidge:
                              Since drinking's already sin
                              If God is really watching
                              Does the man in the sky
                              Really care when I buy what I'm drinking?

                              CHORUS OUT:


                              yeah... but that's not the song he's writing.
                              ___

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