You would not be out of line in considering “Calculators” a loving tribute to the Brothers Gibb, mixed with a tablespoonful of Blackstreet. To me, it belongs to the same family as some older songs on this blog like “Kathleen” or “I Do Little Things,” i.e., genre exercises that allow for a lot of lyrical vulnerability. That being said, the aforementioned songs are far from the most popular songs I’ve posted, so perhaps this one will fall by the wayside as well.

It’s either very old or very new, depending on how you figure. I yanked the roots of it a couple days ago from a songwriting notebook I was keeping in mid-2001. I had lived in Chicago less than a year… can you imagine? When I revisited it this week, I remembered the melody right away, but I also felt like the original lyrics were sort of all over the place. For example, one line read, “Askin what’s your name to Mr. So-and-So.” What does that even mean?

So on Friday, I got out my hacksaw and forced a more linear story that tries to play on a “calculator”‘s ability to be a person or a device. The lyrics reveal that, despite the narrator’s contempt for such calculators, he himself is the real numerologist… he just can’t stop quantifying everything.

As far as the arrangement goes, well, I just kinda ran outta time. So you get piano, bass, drums, and a lead vocal. It’s not bad. I figure that you’re gonna like it or you’re not, and a few extra layers of synths and voices wouldn’t really change things anyway. Pragmatism dressed up as stoicism. Classy!

4 Responses to “Calculators”
  1. I am a big fan of this! The righteous high-register singing and the wicked piano riffage kills. The funky flowery background bass (like that double-dose of alliteration?) jazzes ‘er up nicely.

    AND, who hasn’t been in calculator-mode before? Heck I am always in it. Right now, I’m calculating. And you calculate so much, that you start making calculations about your own calculations until it’s just a calculator-boggler and you blow a calculatin’ fuse.

  2. Abraham says:

    Thanks, P M S. When the bass part kicked in, I was worried that it was too much frippery all at once, but I’m glad it worked for you. I relate to your concerns about moments of excessive calculation.

  3. Judah says:

    Catching up on old tracks, and liking this one! (Also like Kathleen and I Do Little Things, so perhaps I’m just that kind of guy.)

  4. Abraham says:

    Thanks Judah! I’m that type of guy too, I think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: