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Thing a Week

Last Build Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:26:34 +0000


Thing a Week 52 – We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions

Sat, 30 Sep 2006 00:40:12 +0000

Unbelievably, we are here. Thanks to all of you who sent in hand claps – every one of them is in there. It was very charming how almost all of you apologized for the quality of the recording, and suggested that I just throw it away and forget about it if it was unusable. I […]

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Thing a Week 51 – Summer’s Over

Fri, 22 Sep 2006 22:44:33 +0000

Isn’t it though? Here’s the thing – this is song #51, and the next one is #52 and I’m freaking out. It was very hard to write this one. You can imagine how much pressure I’m feeling at this point to wrap the whole thing up with a couple of really kick-ass songs about monkeys […]

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Thing a Week 50 – Pull the String

Sat, 16 Sep 2006 01:39:23 +0000

This appears to be about a famous person with a terrible secret. It’s not about anyone in particular as far as I know. Maybe it’s about you – Tom Cruise! Or you – John Hodgman! It kind of reminds me of Big Bad World One, mostly because of the A/E ambiguity in the verse. Believe […]

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Thing a Week 49 – Make You Cry

Fri, 08 Sep 2006 22:23:54 +0000

Sometime in this week I found this guitar figure that hypnotized me into playing it for about a hundred hours straight. I wish I had picked something that was a little easier to play, because it drove me crazy during the recording process. My poor, stubby little fingers! I don’t think I’ve done a song […]

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Thing a Week 48 – The Big Boom

Fri, 01 Sep 2006 02:15:46 +0000

Last weekend when I was staying with some friends in Pennsylvania, there was a very loud noise that woke me up. It was thunder. But it was crazy thunder – it seemed to last about a minute and a half, and it wasn’t a bang, it was this huge, diffuse roar. And after it stopped […]

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Thing a Week 47 – I’m Your Moon

Sat, 26 Aug 2006 01:29:58 +0000

A few people suggested I do a song about Pluto, and I thought it was a fine idea. It was turning around in my head last week when the first line of the chorus came to me, as if from deep space. As you certainly know by now, Pluto is not a planet anymore. Just […]

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Thing a Week 46 – You Ruined Everything

Fri, 18 Aug 2006 18:10:03 +0000

I was having a conversation with a friend who had recently become a parent, and she reminded me of something I had forgotten about since my daughter was born. She was describing this what-have-I-done feeling – I just got everything perfect in my life, and then I went and messed it all up by having […]

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Thing a Week 45 – Mr. Fancy Pants

Fri, 11 Aug 2006 20:58:50 +0000

I tried to write something else, believe me. But this stupid line about Mr. Fancy Pants having the fanciest pants just wouldn’t get out of my head, so I was forced to follow it through to whatever this is. I’ll warn you, it’s a short one. A nice little amuse bouche (but for your ears). […]

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Thing a Week 44 – Big Bad World One

Sat, 05 Aug 2006 02:15:26 +0000

Enough with the bigfoots and zombies, this one is pretty straightforward subject matter. The headline is “Sadsack Can’t Find Love,” which is just about as classic as it gets. I have spent more time than I would like to admit hanging out by the food table at parties, because it makes me look like I’m […]

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Thing a Week 43 – Under the Pines

Fri, 28 Jul 2006 13:04:54 +0000

Not many people know this, but when Leonard Nimoy did the Bigfoot episode of “In Search Of…” he and the creature hooked up one night and had this crazy fling. These kinds of things never end well, but Bigfoot in particular is a bit of a cad anyway (being mostly wild animal). As you might […]

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Thing a Week 42 – Creepy Doll

Fri, 21 Jul 2006 16:29:54 +0000

I don’t know what’s going on with this one, I just decided earlier this week that it was time to write a song about a creepy doll. I was thinking about various 70s horror movies that scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Back then you didn’t need to torture people […]

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Thing a Week 41 – Seahorse

Fri, 14 Jul 2006 12:47:45 +0000

I was thinking about how with seahorses, the males are the ones who carry the fertilized eggs until they hatch. And then of course I started thinking of a sad seahorse, whose female had left him alone to care for the kids – AGAIN. I’m pretty sure this is not actually the way things really […]

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Thing a Week 40 – Skymall

Sat, 08 Jul 2006 06:36:45 +0000

Ah, the joys of travel. I actually enjoy browsing the SkyMall – never mind the delicious array of products for the person who already owns all the world’s products; the copy alone is worth the price of admission, which is zero, since Skymall is free. Look into it. SkyMall Buy the song Send a Donation […]

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Thing a Week 39 – Pizza Day

Sat, 01 Jul 2006 02:14:45 +0000

In my school, it was Friday. The pizza wasn’t any good at all, but you can’t really argue with pizza at school can you? Those of you who’ve spoken to me in the last 24 hours may be surprised that there’s a song here – until about 2:00 this afternoon I had pretty much nothing. […]

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Thing a Week 38 – Drinking with You

Sat, 24 Jun 2006 02:26:23 +0000

I don’t know what it is with me and the office crushes – I haven’t had a job in almost a year so you know, it hasn’t really come up. But I find them very sweet, I think because offices are a lot like high school, which is the best time to have a crush. […]

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Thing a Week 37 – Rock and Roll Boy

Sat, 17 Jun 2006 01:46:12 +0000

I went trolling for some interesting audio this week over at the Internet Archive – frankly, I’m a little sick of writing songs, and I wanted to flush out the system with a found audio thingie. I found this treasure trove, a collection of kids on cassette in the public domain (if you’ve never been […]

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Thing a Week 36 – Not About You

Sat, 10 Jun 2006 00:25:07 +0000

Ah, denial. Sometimes it’s the only thing that keeps you going. This one cried out for hand claps from start to finish, but I resisted – the first step is admitting you have a problem. Funny story: while I was recording this, I got a call from the Gin Blossoms. They want their pre-chorus back. […]

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Thing a Week 35 – Soft Rocked By Me

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 23:43:09 +0000

I find this one a bit unsettling. The guy in this song is a total ass – his philosophy is whatever the opposite of carpe diem is. I thought the idea of someone “soft rocking” you was kind of funny when I started this, but now I think it’s just creepy and sad. I’m disgusted […]

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Thing a Week 34 – Famous Blue Raincoat

Fri, 26 May 2006 14:54:00 +0000

This is a cover of a Leonard Cohen song. If some of you kiddies haven’t heard it, you should, and in fact you’re about to. I’m sort of obsessed with it – to me it’s a nearly perfect example of how stories can be told in songs. You never know exactly what happened, but you […]

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Thing a Week 33 – Tom Cruise Crazy

Sat, 20 May 2006 00:07:30 +0000

Poor Tom Cruise. Sure, he’s got plenty of money and fame and power, but the dude is seriously effed up. I’m a fan, I think he’s a pretty pretty fellow and he makes a fine action film. And I’ve really enjoyed watching him freak out in public of late. But there’s something about these superfamous […]

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Thing a Week 32 – Till the Money Comes

Fri, 12 May 2006 19:53:01 +0000

Just so you know how bad this monkey problem of mine has gotten, every time I type the title of this song my fingers want to type “Monkey” instead of “Money,” which would make for a very different song. This is more on the theme of “asshole sings a breakup song,” in this case his […]

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Thing a Week 31 – Just as Long as Me

Fri, 05 May 2006 22:57:20 +0000

I wrote this song for a documentary a friend is working on about being tall (and in case he is reading this: yes, I certainly do owe him a phone call). Some people fake the funk, me, I fake the bluegrass. And this feller in this song, you see, he’s extremely tall and he would […]

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Thing a Week 30 – The Presidents

Fri, 28 Apr 2006 16:44:21 +0000

This is a song that I wrote last year for a Presidents Day edition of Little Gray Books – one small fact about every US president (thanks Wikipedia). Some of you more dedicated Coulton scholars may have already heard the live version in episode 7 of the Little Gray Books Podcast. Back then I performed […]

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Thing a Week 29 – Code Monkey

Sat, 15 Apr 2006 00:19:31 +0000

Yay, monkeys. This is not autobiographical, but I did indeed used to have a job writing software. VB! MS SQL! I affectionately referred to myself and my co-developers as code monkeys, especially when a client asked me a question that I didn’t want to answer (“What do I know? I’m just a code monkey.”). Now […]

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Thing a Week 28 – When You Go

Fri, 07 Apr 2006 16:44:47 +0000

The creative process is a funny thing. This week I was convinced that I was completely out of songs, that I would never write again, that all the ideas in my head were really just the same lame idea that I’d been using over and over again all along. And I had this piece of […]

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Thing a Week 27 – Madelaine

Sat, 01 Apr 2006 05:31:27 +0000

New recording of an old song – this is another one from the Supergroup set list. I’ve always liked this one, but couldn’t listen to the 4-track cassette, midi drums version anymore. I was working on something else for a while this week but then decided not to use it, long story I’ll get to […]

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Thing a Week 26 – Re Your Brains

Fri, 24 Mar 2006 13:53:59 +0000

If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that being trapped in a mall surrounded by a million zombies would be really troublesome. But how much more annoying would it be if the head zombie used to be your co-worker, and he was kind of a prick even before he got infected? And now he’s right […]

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Thing a Week 25 – Stroller Town

Fri, 17 Mar 2006 23:03:31 +0000

On a sunny day in my neighborhood, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a stroller (believe me). I’m not complaining, in fact I freely admit that I am part of the problem. So this is kind of about that, though it’s also about a baby who likes to drag race. And before you point […]

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Thing a Week 24 – Don’t Talk to Strangers

Fri, 10 Mar 2006 18:18:39 +0000

Yes: the Rick Springfield song. This recording is based on an arrangement I once did live at Little Gray Books with my friend Phoebe. I heard a recording of it recently and my voice sounded terrible, but I liked the arrangement a lot so I thought I’d flesh it out a little more and give […]

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Thing a Week 23 – A Talk with George

Fri, 03 Mar 2006 23:56:29 +0000

Chapter 23 in which you are visited by the ghost of George Plimpton and he relays to you an important message about life. It was Jim Hanas who told about the song contest going on at The Plimpton Project, an organization dedicated to getting a statue of the man erected somewhere in the city. George […]

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Thing a Week 22 – Take Care of Me

Fri, 24 Feb 2006 15:53:41 +0000

Sometimes you wake up grumpy, that’s all. I like this one – you can see that I’ve become addicted to hand claps in the chorus, as well as the combination bridge/solo move (that way you don’t have to write bridge lyrics!). I should point out that the solo is actually played by me on an […]

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Thing a Week 21 – Chiron Beta Prime

Sat, 18 Feb 2006 01:21:31 +0000

I’m in Denver you see. So this is from the reserves – I wrote it around Christmas time last year at the request of my friend Andrew at Z+ Partners. For their holiday card they sent a CD, and they wanted a Christmas song with a futuristic theme. Of course I went right for the […]

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Thing a Week 20 – Curl

Sat, 11 Feb 2006 02:09:26 +0000

As some of you know, I’ve lately been feeling a bit under the weather. I saw a doctor recently, and I was diagnosed with – Olympic Fever! This week’s thing is about the US curling team, who will be competing in events next week. Those of us not intimately familiar with the sport would probably […]

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Thing a Week 19 – So Far So Good

Sat, 04 Feb 2006 00:31:33 +0000

There is no funny here, so don’t bother looking. This is a breakup song, or maybe just something about the end of an old thing and the beginning of a new thing. Pretty sparse arrangement, but I’m digging the heck out of the guitar part in the left ear – minor 9th! Also, watch out […]

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Thing a Week 18 – Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance

Fri, 27 Jan 2006 15:44:05 +0000

It was time for this song to get the full treatment and rise up from its obscure position on the Songs page. For those of you who don’t know, Soterios Johnson is the morning anchor on the NPR station here in New York, WNYC. He may or may not have a secret life of dance, […]

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Thing a Week 17 – I Will

Fri, 20 Jan 2006 18:53:43 +0000

Easing back in with a Beatles cover this week. This song has been floating around in my head for quite a while, who knows why – maybe I’m in love. I think this may be the sweetest love song ever written, so I’ve recorded it without any winking or irony or irreverence. Just straight ahead […]

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Thing a Week 16 – You Could Be Her

Fri, 06 Jan 2006 22:46:07 +0000

The three or four of you who remember when I used to play in a band called Supergroup will perhaps remember this song. We played it a few times but it somehow never got recorded, so here is an acoustic demo. I had big dreams of loud guitars but in the end had to settle […]

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Thing a Week 15 – Resolutions

Fri, 30 Dec 2005 20:36:53 +0000

Took a page from the Radiohead playbook here and had my laptop read some lyrics to you (thanks, American Academy of Pediatrics!). I also used my new dobro I got for Christmas, and my daughter’s toy piano. Happy new year everyone: Resolutions

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Thing a Week 14 – Flickr

Fri, 23 Dec 2005 04:18:40 +0000

This is Super Special Video Edition of Thing a Week. Some of you will no doubt be watching this on the new video iPod you got for Christmas – the rest of you, maybe you shouldn’t have married a cheapskate. I won’t explain too much about it here, except to say that it’s an example […]

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Thing a Week 13 – Drive

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 21:53:26 +0000

I don’t know what’s going on here, other to say that the gentleman in this song likes his car very much and doesn’t speak English that well. This is mostly a sketch at this point, it could stand to be dressed up quite a bit, but studio time was hard to come by this week […]

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Thing a Week 12 – Furry Old Lobster

Fri, 09 Dec 2005 23:54:01 +0000

By request, this one comes from the book tour I’ve been doing with John Hodgman. In the book, there’s this very funny history of the lobster in America, in which John explains that what we think of as lobsters today really were not the first animal to be called “lobster.” In fact, the old kind […]

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Thing a Week 11 – Podsafe Christmas Song

Wed, 30 Nov 2005 21:03:26 +0000

Yes, I know, it’s two days early. That’s how restful my week off was – I am now twice as productive! Actually, I’m off for a mid-Atlantic tour with John Hodgman tomorrow, and I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to post this if I don’t do it today. This week’s thing came from […]

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Thing a Week 10 – When I’m 25 or 64

Fri, 18 Nov 2005 17:13:44 +0000

This is my first ever mashup. I’m on the road so my recording capabilities are limited, plus I’m so angry about this whole Sony rootkit thing that I felt like a little illegality was called for. I’m too old to smash things, so this copyright violation will have to do. I did actually purchase these […]

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Thing a Week 9 – The Town Crotch

Fri, 11 Nov 2005 16:24:57 +0000

Last week was so computery, I wanted a little palette cleanser this week, so you’re getting a nice simple all-acoustic number. This song is based on a memory I wish I had – none of this actually happened, but it is cobbled together from the many tiny bits of kindness and desperation and longing that […]

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Thing a Week 8 – Sibling Rivalry

Fri, 04 Nov 2005 17:11:35 +0000

This week, a little laptop music. I’ve been in airplanes and hotels all week, so everything had to happen inside my computer, which made for an interesting challenge. The vocal track is from some voice over work a friend of mine did for a TV show, cut up and arranged in Ableton Live. I added […]

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Thing a Week 7 – Brand New Sucker

Fri, 28 Oct 2005 15:16:52 +0000

My friend Brett tells me that last week’s thing was good because it was angry, and that I should be angry more often. Fine! This week’s thing is an angry breakup song! It was written a few years ago, but I somehow lost the recording. Honestly, it wasn’t that good an arrangement so nobody cared, […]

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Thing a Week 6 – Someone Is Crazy

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 23:42:03 +0000

Whoo boy, rough week. That’s why this is getting posted at 7:30 PM – but I will point out: it is still Friday. This one comes from a verse that’s been floating around in my head for about 10 years. I think that originally it came from an argument with some girl about something, but […]

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Thing a Week 5 – Baby Got Back

Fri, 14 Oct 2005 20:18:42 +0000

This week is a cover of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot (note: he is not an actual knight). Had to activate the whole team for this one – guitar, mandolin, banjo and even some shakers and tambourines and other things lying around the house. I’ve wanted to cover this song for a long time, […]

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Thing a Week 4 – Shop Vac

Fri, 07 Oct 2005 14:03:17 +0000

This is me doing Fountains of Wayne – you know, funny tragic suburban angst power pop ennui, etc. I started recording this one before it was written, which is something I never do. But I knew I was going to do hand claps in the chorus and I couldn’t wait. I came up with the […]

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Thing a Week 3 – W’s Duty

Fri, 30 Sep 2005 19:12:28 +0000

For a long time I have been obsessed with the word “duty” which sounds to me a lot like the word “doody” (as in, you know, poo). It’s gotten really bad, so that ever time someone talks about their solemn duty, or how so-and-so has fallen down on their duty, it makes me giggle. So […]

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Thing a Week 2 – My Monkey

Fri, 23 Sep 2005 21:05:46 +0000

My strange obsession with monkeys continues with Thing Two of Thing a Week. I don’t know where to begin explaining this one. Here is what I know: The guy in the song has recently had an argument with someone he loves and is trying to apologize. He happens to have a pet monkey, more of […]

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Thing a Week 1 – See You All in Hell

Fri, 16 Sep 2005 22:07:46 +0000

Well, you asked for it, or rather, I told you that you were going to get it. Here’s the debut thing of my Thing a Week series. It’s 48 seconds long, but I think it has a special kind of quirky charm. The lyrics are taken from a text message that a TV producer sent […]

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