The latest video from The American Songbook: Redacted is up!
The song is inspired by my fascination with fraudsters–from Ponzi to Theranos and everything in between. Our culture’s idolization of financial success mixed with our belief that you can always reinvent yourself and “fake it ‘til you make it” (a phrase that originated in a multi-level marketing scheme) makes the U.S. fertile ground for schemers, charlatans, and con artists.
But when it came time to choose which con-artist to sing about in my show, the deciding factor was that Lou Pearlman did something with the money that he stole that no one else did: he gave us boy bands.
Here’s my new lyric video for Corporations Are People Too! is out! It’s the peppiest, grooviest, upliftingest track from my latest album The American Songbook: Redacted, and the video is a collaboration with Dan Pavelich, a multi-talented artist and good friend.
What on Earth does Corporations Are People Too! even mean?
Remember when Mitt Romney said, “corporations are people, my friend”? He was referring to the concept of corporate personhood, which can make sense when needing an entity to sign a contract, but gets weird when the Supreme Court says their personhood entitles them to religious beliefs.
So I decided to make fun of this concept the best way I know how: a comedy song!
Inspired by the sunshine pop of the 60s and 70s, I’m really happy with the way this arrangement came together. And sticking with that era as inspiration, I asked Dan to create illustrations in the style of Hanna Barbara, Schoolhouse Rock, and a lot of the other stuff we Gen-Xers grew up with. He totally nailed the style and I couldn’t be happier with this video.
I hope you like it, and check out the other tunes on the album!
I don’t know if Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith meant for his metaphor of “The Invisible Hand” to sound as creepy as it does, but to me it sounds like a criminal organization in a James Bond movie. So when I wanted to satirize the concept of the invisible hand in my show and album The American Songbook: Redacted, I figured the best way to do it would be in the style of a James Bond title sequence!
Musically I’m really proud of the arrangement on the album, I did my best to capture the campy swagger of classic 60s/70s James Bond movies and those iconic John Barry soundtracks. My good friends Peggy O’Brien & Steven Rosenthal, both funny and talented filmmakers, offered to put together a title sequence style video for my live show, and when I saw how amazing the video turned out I knew I had to make it into a lyric video.
The Great Disappointment is a thing that actually happened, when a Bible scholar convinced thousands of people that the 2nd Coming was going to happen in 1843 or 1844. Dates came and went, and the final, for sure, no-doubt-about-it date of October 22, 1844 passed with nothing happening.
Some people lost faith, some people redoubled their faith, and some people said that something did happen that day but no one saw it. Either way, “The Great Disappointment” makes a good title for an emo rock song, so that’s what I set out to make. Another band uses the name for a song that’s not ostensibly about the historical event so I added “of 1844” to be specific and differentiate.
We all know Henry Ford as the car guy, the man who adopted the assembly line, made affordable cars, and whose company changed transportation and manufacturing, but did you know he had some strong opinions about music?
He hated the popular music of the teens and twenties, what was starting to be called jazz. He thought it was crude, vulgar, a bad influence on young people, and he blamed its popularity on a Jewish conspiracy. He blamed a lot of things on the Jews. So many, in fact, that he bought a newspaper and had them publish a weekly anti-Jewish column. It ran for 91 weeks.
Musically the old man preferred the old timey music he found wholesome so he heavily promoted square dancing and fiddle contests. Did you take square dancing in grade school gym class? Thank Henry Ford.
So I figured the best way to make fun of all of this ridiculousness would be to write Henry Ford a 1920s-style jazz song. It’s featured in my new show The American Songbook: Redacted!
To sing Madonna’s Get Into the Groove I needed to lower the vocal an octave and somehow I ended up sounding more like Peter Murphy from Bauhaus, so I decided to lean into it. Enjoy Mads the Goth!
Neil Diamond’s “Heartlight”
Neil Diamond and Burt Bacharach walk into a movie theater to see E.T. The Extraterrestrial and they walk out thinking “we gotta write a song about that!” So they did and this is that.
Watch Heartlight by Neil Diamond
Watch Take This Job And Shove It!
Take This Job And Shove It!
This classic country song, originally sung by Johnny Paycheck, is a prime example of why you should never, ever take career advice from country music! On the upside it inspired a movie of the same name, the climax of which is Robert Hays telling his boss to, you guessed it, take his job and shove it!
Back In Time
Speaking of movies, we have this classic from Back to the Future! Because you can’t go back to the future unless you first go Back in Time!
Watch Back in Time by Huey Lewis AND the News!
Watch The Trucker Classic: “Convoy!”
Still speaking of movies, this song was so popular they made a movie out of it! And the movie starred a better country music songwriter who had nothing to do with the song! Kris Kristofferson played Rubber Duck in the movie based on this CW McCall (a pseudonym for Bill Fries) song; so, that’s weird.
OK, so I guess every song in this Greatest Hits has something to do with a movie (Get Into the Groove was featured in Madonna’s screen debut Desperately Seeking Susan if you were wondering). But this one takes the purple cake because Purple Rain is the name of the song, album, AND movie! I even turned on the reverb for this one!
Closed beaches and social distancing will not keep me from getting some sun! And to celebrate I did a 60s beach pop style song about the only place I can responsibly sunbathe: the fire escape of my Brooklyn apartment. Enjoy!
Well, the beach is closed and I need some sun but when I go out I can’t avoid everyoneI wanna get some sunbeams on my face But I gotta give everybody their space So that means I can only go to one place…
I’m catching rays (rays, rays, catching rays) On the fire escape (scape, scape, fire escape) It’s been too many days (days, days, too many days) How much more can I take (take, take, what can I take?) I’m going out of my mind I need some sunshine That’s why I’m catching rays on the fire escape
I got a beer and a shot (shot, shot, a beer and a shot) And the wind in my hair (… “shut up!”) I always get a spot (spot, spot, get a spot) Cuz no one’s ever there (I’m so alone) Oh, here are no ocean sounds But it’s the best place that I’ve found To avoid people cuz it’s 12 feet off the ground
I’m catching rays (rays, rays, catching rays) On the fire escape (scape, scape, fire escape) I hope it’s just a phase (phase, phase, just a phase) It’s really not that great (it’s not that great) It’s not sexy at all And there’s a chance that I could fall When I’m catching rays on the fire escape
I can’t play any frisbee, I can’t lie in the sand I can do two whole things, I can sit or I can stand I smile at people far away as they walk by my place But I don’t know f they’re smiling back cuz they’re covering their face
I’m catching rays (rays, rays, catching rays) On the fire escape (scape, scape, fire escape) Can’t catch any waves (waves, waves, catch any waves) I’ll never get in shape (I’m getting fat) It’s not a perfect plan But at least I’ll get a tan When I’m catching rays on the fire escape I’m catching rays on the fire escape I’m tired of catching rays on the fire escape
This is my favorite song musically on the new live album so I had to make sure to get a lyric video together for it!
I even dabbled in calligraphy to make some of the props for the beginning of the video because I figured there had to be something hand-written in a song about impersonal invitations 😛
Check out the other lyric videos from the live album too, there a lot of fun and a nice way to enjoy tracks from Rob P. Rocks a Jazz Club while you’re poking around on YouTube. And you can always buy the album on iTunes, bandcamp, Amazon, etc. or stream it on Spotify. It’s everywhere! But the only place you get all the lyric videos is right here at the HQ.
New lyric video for everyone’s favorite surf-style rock song “Driving With Grandpa”! It’s the second lyric video for my new live comedy concert album Rob P. Rocks A Jazz Club and it’s a song that’s been well-received from Brooklyn to Europe!
And like the first lyric video from RPRaJC it features a retro pic of a 10-ish-year-old Rob P.!