Friday, November 30, 2007

National Solo Album Month: The Get-Arounds

For those of you who may not have known (or read the updates), I decided to participate in National Solo Album Month 2007; the goal of which is to create a full length solo album in a month. The only rules are that the album must be at least 29:09 minutes long, can only contain 1 cover and has been written/recorded and performed by the solo artist.

I had already been writing songs as part of my song of the week exercise, but a 30 minute album in a month meant that I'd have to triple my current rate. What slows me down the most when I record is trying to figure out what to write songs about and my compulsive overdubbing tendencies (an old theory is that if you mask a crappy song with enough instruments it becomes good). To counter this I decided to pretend to be an oldies band with 4 members -- 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. All four members could sing. This stopped too many overdubs (though I did add tambourine to almost every song and claps to a few). Also, being an oldies band meant that I could write every song about a girl.

All in all, I had a pretty good time doing this. I'm pretty happy with how the songs came out. I have to admit that in the 3rd week I got pretty sick of the routine of recording. For the most part it would take me between 30-75 minutes to write the song. Usually in the same night I'd try to record acoustic guitar and all the vocals. The next night I'd record guitar(s), bass and drums. It was pretty much always a 2-day process. This required me to come home from work, eat, record, watch a tv show, record some more, play mario galaxy and go to bed.

So anyway, without farther ado here is The Get-Arounds album: Get Around!

Get Around!

01. I can't be your friend

02. You make me feel alright

03. It's sunny again
I like 1/2 speed drums in the guitar solo on this song.

04. You know what I know
I think this may be one of my favorite songs I've ever recorded.

05. Whenever you're around
This is my least favorite on the album. If I had more time I would have replaced this one. The lyrics seemed clever before I went to bed, but seemed kind of dumb the next morning.

06. Set ourselves free
This song is (sort of) about George Michael and Maeby from Arrested Development.

07. Put your little hand in mine
Probably my second favorite on the album.

08. She doesn't see me

09. Since I met you
I actually cheated on this one. There are 5 vocal parts in the chorus. This is the only song I cheated on. Also, I did the "Get Around" part in this before deciding on a band name. The name was suggested by Curt who had not heard this song.

10. Looking out my window
This one is a little strange, but I feel like it really has an oldies sound to it.

11. What means everything
This one was inspired by black Friday....

Bonus Tracks
As I said, I got pretty sick of doing this at one point. When I got up to 10 songs, I recorded a cover just so I knew that even if I didn't try anymore I would be done. Eventually I recorded 2 mores songs which replaced the cover and the second song I wrote:
I've gotta know now
I wrote this one while I was raking leaves. This was when I expected to be a 60's garage band, not a 60's pop band. I realized my voice didn't work and was happy to keep this off the album.

Purple Toupee -- by They Might be Giants
I have no idea why I choose to cover this song. It didn't turn out very well.

So that's it. I'd be very interested to hear any comments you have on this. Which songs you like, which ones you don't. Does it sound anything like a 60's band? How are the mixes (I can't decided if the vocals are too loud/quiet)?

Thanks for listening...



At 11:27 AM , Blogger pencrush said...

I think your two favorites are my two favorites as well. I really like "you know what I know" That's a really great song. I actually like "whenever you're around" a lot too... I didn't listen to the lyrics too closely, but musically it works for me. I think the vocal levels are fine. Not too loud, or too soft. Good job.

At 12:33 PM , Blogger pla said...

The vocal levels are a little quiet on my setup, but that may be more my issue than yours. Still, I think they could come up a bit if you were inclined to remix things.

I really liked "It's Sunny Again" - the slower tempo works really well. I agree that "Looking Out the Window" is the most solidly oldies sounding of them. And "You Know What I Know" is solid. "Whenever You're Around" isn't as bad as you think it is, though, as I said, I can't entirely follow the lyrics on that one.

All in all, really impressive for one month of writing and recording.

At 1:32 PM , Blogger ricky said...

come on guys, i posted the lyrics too! what, you can't read my handwriting? :)

At 1:33 PM , Blogger pla said...

you did? did i miss something?

At 1:44 PM , Blogger ricky said...

granted it is hard to see, but underneath each song title is the date it was started, the order it was finished and a link to lyrics.

At 3:47 PM , Blogger pla said...

hey, there they are. now i can confirm that you did, in fact, sing "yo homes, to bel air." nice.

At 5:32 PM , Blogger magicmarker said...

i can't read your handwriting.

i have been listening to this a ton. while i was studying for my final, driving around with molly and at work.

i think it sounds great and it is nice to have a bunch of ricky songs to listen to.

"looking out my window" really stands out maybe because the tempo maybe the countryishness of it. I think it is sweet.

i will give it some more listens for further comments.

At 6:33 PM , Blogger ricky said...

i'm glad everyone is enjoying it so far!

i was kidding -- i often have a hard time reading my own hand-writing after the fact. posting the lyrics was kind of a joke because they are impossible to read! but i'm happy that you could at least confirm the fresh prince lyric.

At 4:56 PM , Blogger pla said...

and i confirmed that the chorus in "since i met you" does not include the phrase "it started with a banquet," which had seemed a little odd to me. good thing you provided the lyrics....

At 2:37 PM , Blogger pla said...

Not sure if you care, but the link's dead...

At 4:52 AM , Blogger Joey said...

Oh wow, I just found the liner notes txt in my documents, and I would never have found this blog if not for it. The album was good! The Fresh Prince reference caught me completely off-guard, and I had to go back and listen a few times to make sure it wasn't just my mind messing with me.

Also holy crap, TMBG covered by you? SO MUCH WIN


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