Monday, December 30, 2013

Economy in Song Lyrics

How can song lyrics be economical? I write about three types:
  1. Songs with expressions repeatedly peppered throughout
  2. Instrumentals with the song title in it, frequently with few or no additional words
  3. Songs that have one verse, repeated one or more times
The idea for writing about economical lyrics has popped up for a few years, but percolated a bit more when I heard "Deck the Halls" recently, thinking about the "fa la la" part . Another Christmassy song came to mind—"Angels We Have Heard On High Lyrics " with drawn-out "Gloria" ("GLaw-aw-aw-aw-aw ... riah"). Funny that few lyrics websittes spell Gloria as actually sung.
Extreme examples of repeated chanting expressions ("n" words!) that pervade a song:
  • "Nobody But Me" by the Human Beinz, written by Isley Brothers ("Shout") loads up on "No-no, no, no, no-no-no, no, no-no, no, no-no …". This Songfacts Lyrics webpage includes trivia and comments.
  • Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye uses the na-na chant throughout, including fadeout, fadein, and seemingly endless looping. This ST Lyrics webpage states near the end "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey-ey, goodbye [repeat many times and fade out]". No kidding about many times!
  • The ending of "Hey Jude" ("nah nah nah …") is another example of repeat-many-times in a song, although the end is a final "HEY JUDE".
The previous three songs predominantly feature "no" or phonetic variation of "no". In some songs, the spoken or sung lyrics are the same as the titles, maybe to better remind listeners what the song title is. Some examples:
"Woo Hoo" features one main utterance (ok, maybe two) was obscure enough that the song title initially eluded me—The Rock-A-Teens -- Woo Hoo (lyrics). More recently, "Woo Hoo" was popularized by a group named 5,6,7,8 for "Kill Bill" starring Uma Thurman (lyrics). On a barely related note, Homer Simpson has uttered woo hoo for the past 25 years.

The following five songs repeat their verses—no story here!

What songs cross your mind that fit the lyrics economy models I listed?

Monday, December 16, 2013

McCormicky-Libbyish Pumpkin Pie

Last month, I published "Which Pumpkin Pie?" that described ranges of ease and cost—fast and expensive, or laborious and cheap. For this article I'm publishing the method I used. For the ease, I bought frozen pie shells, canned pumpkin, and condensed milk. I already have cinnamon and nutmeg. Deviating from most recipes I ran across, I added vanilla and sesame oil (a favorite flavoring of mine).

Ingredients and Mixing
The table shows ingredients for the recipes from Libby's, McCormick, and me.
Libby's
McCormick
Me
1 pie shell
15-oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
14-oz can condensed milk
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

12-oz can evaporated milk


3/4 C sugar


1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ginger


1/4 t cloves


1/2 t salt


1/2 t nutmeg

1 t vanilla

1 t sesame oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a medium-large bowl, beat eggs. (Both recipes used wire whisks. Have also spotted use of a wooden spoon, a rubber spatula.)
  3. Stir spices and fluid flavorings into the eggs mixture, then add the condensed milk and pumpkin.
  4. Pour mixture into a pie shell. (I used the Pet Ritz deep-pie, 6-oz shell that already is in its own aluminum pan. Costs the same as the shallow, 5-oz pan.)
  5. Place pie into a wider pan in case of filling overflow. (Libby's suggested a foil-lined pan.) Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce temperature to 350° and bake for 40-50 minutes. Insert a knife to test for filling doneness. Libby's recipe says to insert the knife NEAR the center. (Forty minutes was perfect for my pie.)
  7. Cool on wire rack (about 2 hrs).
  8. Serve nekkid (~270 calories) or with whipped cream (ooh la la). :-)
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