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 Invisible Hand: New Lyric Video debuts Jan 26!
One of my favorite tracks on The American Songbook: Redacted studio album is The Invisible Hand, a 60s-era James Bond style theme song about Adam Smith’s famous metaphor for laissez faire capitalism. The joke being that “invisible hand” sounds like some kind of underworld organization that you’d find in a James Bond movie (fwiw I wrote and performed the song before a secretive organization named The Invisible Hand appeared on the animated spy comedy Archer).
When it came time to record a studio version of the song I wanted an arrangement that sounded as much like a classic James Bond theme as possible and I’m really proud of the orchestration and performance I put together.
When I did the song live in the debut performance of the The American Songbook: Redacted, I had a very simple slideshow animation projected on the screen behind me. My good friends Peggy O’Brien and Steven Rosenthal, amazingly talented filmmakers, asked if I had thought about doing a video montage in the style of a James Bond title sequence. I said I had but added that my video and after effects skills probably weren’t good enough to do something worthy of the arrangement I hoped to put together.
Lo and behold, they offered to put together something, and what they delivered was so unbelievably cool that I wanted to do more with it than project it behind me in the live show. With their permission I put lyrics over their great visuals to create a lyric video for the song. It’s the 4th lyric video from AS:R after Satanic Panic, The Great Disappointment, and The People Who Were Already Here, and it will be released on Thursday, January 26 at 9pm NYC time, 0100 Friday, 27 of January GMT.
There may be a live stream on premiere night, I’m still figuring out what to do (and I need to reconfigure the laptop I used to stream all those Cover Tuesday shows after an operating system upgrade) so stay tuned, I’ll update here and post on the various social medias that I still can tolerate (post,mastodon and instagram).
Update! (Jan 26, 2023, 2pm EST)
The premiere is tonight at 9pm NYC time and I’ll be doing a 30-minute pre-premiere live stream to talk about the video, James Bond Themes, and maybe even laissez faire capitalism if people are into it! Here’s the lyric video will be here, and will go live at 9PM, and the pre-premiere live stream will be on YouTube and Twitch! Come through if you can!
It such a cool video, I can’t wait for you to see it! Until then, check out the cool arrangement in one of the embedded players below 🙂
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.
Contrarian is track 2 on 2013’s Keep Your Jazz Hand Strong! and I think it’s a really fun, upbeat tune. When I was recording it (here at my Brooklyn HQ) I was having a hard time really getting the energy up where I wanted it. I knew I had the right tempo but something was missing. Then I realized: I needed a hype man!
Every good ska band has a hype man! I was pressed for time though so I had to step in and be my own hype man (Be Your Own Hype Man is going to be the title of the self-help book I write in my retirement). I know I must have looked a fool jumping around my apartment trying to hype up a band that was also me, but it was a lot of fun and I hope that comes through on the track.
Lyrics-wise it’s a subject I’ve always wanted to tackle as I’ve had many friends over the years who have relished the role of contrarian, of finding out what everyone likes and decided to dislike it and like something else. Not because they truly like things, they just like liking what others don’t like.
O.K., now I’ve confused myself. Here are the lyrics:
You always disagree!
I know a guy, he makes me quite irate
Anything I like he automatically hates
He’s a contrarian, You can never be right! He’s a contrarian
If all of his friends say they like a flick
He’ll say it was lame just to be a dick
He’s a contrarian, “I don’t have to see the movie.” He’s a contrarian
He’ll argue for days on end
Just because to him that’s fun Never ending! He’s a contrarian
He’ll say the opposite thing just to egg you on
If the whole room is pro, you know he’s gonna be con… Khan!! He’s a contrarian, Everybody’s always wrong! He’s a contrarian
He never takes time to think things through Automatic!
He just disagrees because he thinks he’s better than you
He’s a contrarian, “Pfff, yeah, you’d think that.” He’s a contrarian
He could score less points than you and somehow say he won “I played smarter.” He’s a contrarian
Watch him now!
None of his beliefs are held deeply It’s all on the surface!
Blindly choosing the opposite takes no thought It’s so predictable!
If all of his friends became contrarians like him
He’d say, “oh, that’s what you are? Then I’m not.”
He’ll spend all day quoting useless facts,
All of his videos are Betamax Betamax! He’s a contrarian, “It’s a superior technology” He’s a contrarian “It’s not that inconvenient.”
Any agreement just makes him tense
So he’ll argue things that don’t make sense
He’s a contrarian, “I just don’t think puppies are that cute.” No! He’s a contrarian “Sunshine? Bah!”
He would join the NRA just to say he doesn’t like guns Bwoh! Bwoh! Bwoh! He’s a contrary…
He’s a contrary…
A very, very contrarian Contrarian!