Friday, October 3, 2008

No Sleep Til Upland (song naming gone awry)

As you may know, for much of my online time during the last ten years, I identified myself online as "Ontario Emperor."

What you may not know is that, back in 1998, the whole "Ontario Emperor" thing started as a music project. Before I started blogging as Ontario Emperor, or even posting on Usenet as Ontario Emperor, I was gifting the 'Nets with various musical works - primarily in MIDI format, but also in MP3 form. In fact, you could buy CDs of Ontario Emperor music at the old (not that you ever did, but you COULD have).

Because all of my songs (with one exception) were instrumentals, the only way in which I could add lyric creativity to my songs was via the song titles that I chose. For various reasons, my songs received titles such as the following:
  • "Gotta Daily Payment" (9 November 1998).

  • "Nixon Landslide" (21 December 1998). Completely based on an Election Night 1972 incident recorded in Charles Colson's book Born Again.

  • "Or a Little Faster" (10 May 1999) and the related "Or a Little Rougher" (July 1999).

  • "Finding My Anonymity," "Finding My Serenity," and "Finding My Tax Return" (November 1999). At the time I released my CD "Digital Judge," I was consumed with the realization that CD technology meant that albums no longer had to have two sides. Therefore, "Digital Judge" had three sides, each of which was introduced by a short "Finding..." song.

  • "Rudy Left" (6 January 2000). To my knowledge, this is the only song based upon the retirement of Rudy Favila - I believe he was working for the California Youth Authority.

  • "Road Array" (8 February 2000). To my knowledge, this is the only song based upon the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and the resulting township/range patterns that influenced road placement west of the Appalachians.

  • "The Contract Was Mute" (11 April 2000). People familiar with "Everything Counts," or Depeche Mode's contractual history, will understand the reference.

  • "Bovine Lament" (12 April 2000).

  • "I Beckon Here" (2 September 2000).

  • "Little Vegas One" and "Little Vegas Two" (28 December 2000), "Madrid" (16 February 2001), and "Even Newer Mexico" (17 October 2006). The 2000 songs have nothing to do with Nevada, and the 2001 song has nothing to do with Spain.

  • "Chilltown Spilldown" (4 April 2003). A "Big Brother US" reference here (and in the music).

  • "Mills Around" (10 February 2004). Although I can't remember for certain, I would assume that this refers to the chain of shopping centers.

  • "Sarah Toning" (28 September 2007). I guess I could have called it "The Chemicals Between Us," but that title was taken.

  • "Maybe Lean (Chuck)" and "Maybe Lean (Barry)" (30 October 2007). Ironically, this has nothing to do with any 1950s artist, but relates to a 1980s group (the Cure) and a 1990s group (Bush).
So I was driving to work this morning, doing what I've often done in my car for the past month-plus - namely, listening to the Junior Boys' mix of "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy." Listening to the synth arpeggios throughout the song, I was wondering if I could construct similar arpeggios, but in a non-dance format - baroque, perhaps. If I were to do such a thing, I'd want to name the song in homage to its inspirational source, so I figured I'd name it "Fumbling Towards" something. But what?

Then I realized that the arpeggios that I admired so much might not even be present in McLachlan's original version of the song (which, to date, I have never heard). Therefore, a homage to Junior Boys would be in order.

"Fumbling Towards Juniors" didn't really have a nice ring to it, so I began thinking about "boys," and the first boy band that popped into my mind were the Beastie Boys. At that point, I conceived of a title:

"Fumbling Towards Bestiality"

It was at that point that I realized that I had to stop the exercise and go back to square one.

So, how do YOU name things? And how often did the Beastie Boys appear on Tiger Beat's cover?
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