Hustle Beach

Here are some facts either directly or loosely connected to this week’s song, “Hustle Beach“:

1. Thanks to my pal Ron Warner, this track represents my boldest step yet into the world of MIDI recording, in which you record not sounds, but rather data that you can manipulate to your heart’s content as the days go by.

2. While I like to think that the new system made the rhythm track a little tighter, I fell victim to a common syndrome of MIDI novices: I quantized everything, and as a paradoxical result, things sound probably more rickety than if I’d left them alone.

3. In other technical news, I discovered Half-Speed Recording on ProTools, which enabled me to do the entire song as a duet with a charming and attractive chipmunk.

4. I attempted a perverse merger of a laid-back genre (reggae) and setting (beach) with an extremely uptight subject (my neuroticism surrounding the notion of hard work, work ethic, etc.).

5. The lyrics represent my attempt to write more directly. Every line was scrutinized to make sure that I could understand what it was about. This is how I’d like to write from now on, so any feedback about the lyrics would be extra-appreciated.

6. Like David Foster Wallace’s essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again,” the lyrics deal with the dark side of resort culture (employees sick of plastered-on smiles, heart-attack victims washing up on the shores of all-inclusive resorts, etc.).

7. The chorus rips off three songs at once. They are, in descending order of theft-size, “Victim of Love” by the Eagles, “Finally I’m Yours” by Andy Pratt, and “Martha My Dear” by the Beatles.

8. Similarly, the background vocal at 2:53 is lifted from “Soul Sister” by Allen Toussaint.

9. While I conceived of this song a few months ago, it was probably M.I.A. who inspired me to do it now, via her new song “Hussel”: “Hustle hustle hustle / grind grind grind / Why has everyone got hustle on their mind?”

10. The Cubs are in the playoffs!!!!

11. We joined Netflix this week. So far the best movie of the experience has been “The Thin Blue Line”, an Errol Morris documentary about a wrongly-accused cop-killer from Dallas. With a creepy score by Philip Glass.

5 Responses to “Hustle Beach”
  1. Judah says:

    Another T.V.-theme candidate. I don’t think Bea Arthur is in this one, but Hasselhoff may be involved.

  2. Abraham says:

    I’ll take hasselhoff, hustling away glamorously….

  3. Ron says:

    Good job with the technical prowess. Glad to help.

    Did you do the half-speed recording by hitting shift+space bar to begin the recording? I do that to playback stuff at half-speed, but I’ve never thought to do that for recording. Or maybe I did, but forgot. At any rate, good plan!

    If you want that chipmunk to harmonize on an interval other than octave, just take a regular vocal take (perhaps the same one as what is being harmonized against), and run the pitch-shift audiosuite plug-in to shift it up or down the desired amount of semitones.

    I think the Thin Blue Line has been on my queue for nearly the entire time I’ve belonged to Netflix (18 months), but it’s lost somewhere in those 500 movies. Maybe I should bump it up a notch. The only Erol Morris I’ve seen is this documentary called Gates of Heaven, which I liked enough to purchase!

    The ol’ C.U.B.S. didn’t quite live up to their slogan this year. Maybe we’ll have to have an addendum as C.U.B.M.O. (mid-October). He he, couldn’t resist.

  4. will says:

    whoa! like the smell of the sea off hustle beach this song came and slapped me in the face! great one! yeah! o.k. lots to talk about…nice, tight rhythm track. all instruments are perfectly syncopated keeping the listener grooving the whole time. love the piano on the verse—works as a nice percussive here. also, the organ fill on the verse is subtle and effective. the “chipmunk” backing vocal is niiice and nasty—makes me think of sweating it out on hustle beach. the chorus seems a bit abrupt at first, but, once you settle into the melody it makes sense. the strongest musical contribution to the chorus is the organ—outlines everything quite well. coming back out to the verse from the chorus is absolutely genius! from THAT chorus THAT verse is a tough transition—i think you stumbled across the only way to get back in. now, i’m little vague on yer new lyrical philosophy. if so, only because i’ve always found yer lyrics to be pretty direct and literal. however…for this paticular tune, i am thrilled by the repeated “work…” i think it really conveys the feel of the song—the grind—day in and day out. it works as such an in-yer-face moment..i like that it’s used as a theme throughout the song. some of my favorite moments are “u draw a line in the sand & stay there-this way no one says that u don’t play there” also, “on hustle beach u live till u die-nothin’ bleeds u dry quite like the hustle”. this is a fine song lyrically and mabey you approached it differently; but, from someone who has been scrutinizing yer lyrics over the course of 2 BT albums, the PEARLY SWEETS stuff and now 52 TEETH, i see no noticeable difference—you are usually direct and economise well. i’ve never felt that you just throw words about. i’ve always believed that what you say is honest and heartfelt. though, the sentiment in a song like “hustle beach” does require a certain directness and that was definitely achieved here. this one is a true winner. current joy: gito gito hustler. have a great week.

  5. Abraham says:

    ron: thanks brother…. good advice about the pitch-shifting stuff… yes, I am indeed super-down on the cubs right now. laying down and dying…. ugh.

    will: thank you! this song was definitely more far-out in a lot of ways, so I’m glad that it hit its mark… I also like obnoxious stuff like the repetition of the word “WORK”…. it’s what rock and roll was built on, before terrible concepts like good taste spoiled the fun for everyone. I appreciate what you’re saying about my lyrics. I think that everyone goes through moments when they say, “I’m gonna revolutionize {whatever aspect of life} by taking this new approach,” and then the people around you say, “uh… still sounds like you.” but, as long as it stays fresh for the person that does it, right?

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