• Submitted on time! Mar 12, 2023
First Words

Had so much fun writing this. Not very proud of this recording or my playing/singing. Threw it together quickly. #momlife. Thank you Ben for giving it a once-over.

But I’m happy with the songwriting. Took inspiration from Weird Al’s “Albuquerque,” “Loser” by Beck, “Citgo” by Taking Meds, some general Frank Zappa, and general The Barenaked Ladies. And “David’s Small Wet Sandwiches.” The ultimate vision would be to do it 20 bpm faster, a drier sound, more stacked harmonies, maybe some ska horns or something, and like, more funny elements. I am still kind of figuring out what the vibe of the vocal delivery should be.

When we lived in Medford, the old-school Boston family next door to us sold their house in 2021 to a guy from Arizona. When he moved in, he hung a huge banner from the porch with his company logo, and it said something like “WE FLIP HOUSES!!!” We had a few conversations with him where he casually dropped that he just moved here from Arizona and bought several houses in Medford and was flipping all of them. In only a few short months, he moved out of the house next door to a much bigger house on Marshall St., across from Ben’s sister’s apartment. Anyway, there was a line in the poem about a dolphin flipper’s hidden hand, and it made me think of him, a different kind of flipper extending his hidden hand throughout the Boston housing market.

One thing I like doing in songs is playing with perspective. I, you, he, we, they – I usually choose whatever pronoun/perspective sounds good in the line. I like blurring the line between telling someone something and having an inner dialogue. This song isn’t any exception, as I reckon with the fact that even though I have all kinds of feelings about what this guy is doing, it’s partially thanks to generational wealth that I’ve been able to buy a home. 

The flipper extends the hidden hand
To slap on the vinyl-plank floor
And the sight of the black-frame Anderson windows
Makes me feel like I’m poor
Despite the fact I’m demonstrably not
Or am I? Cuz look at this feat–
He landed in Medford from Arizona
And bought up half of Marshall St.
He landed in Medford from Arizona
And bought up half of Marshall St.

“Take the risk and taste the reward”
But somebody bet on you first.
Was it your grandpa, waving the gavel
or grandma’s fat fat purse?
Of course, somebody bet on them too,
But that’s a secret to keep 
He landed in Medford from Arizona
And bought up half of Marshall St.
He landed in Medford from Arizona
And bought up half of Marshall St.

Looking for feedback on

Songwriting mostly. I know the other aspects of the track have issues. But happy to have any feedback :)


daeclan March 27, 2023 9:16pm

this is fun and i felt it so deeply (cos my grandma lived in Medford all my life and i done seen it change). i love the inspirations, and can hear al & zap & wet sammy here — it is playful & i can hear the space to spice w ska horns or zappa-esque high-polish doo whops. it’s a slice of life when life is kind of poking you in the eye haha, great work & fun sounds. i encourage you to lean more into your instincts–notch ’em up to 10–but love this 🙂

EliasSZ March 24, 2023 9:25am

Love the vocal harmonies in the opening line and throughout. There’s something very playful about this song that I could also see you leaning into it further – but I kinda like the dry delvoery of the vocals because, to me, it sorta intensifies the absurdity in a way. Never mad when anyone leans into David Byrne though…

nick March 15, 2023 2:14pm

I’m guessing that’s you on guitar? love when you play electric. great use of acapella for the intro, and landing where the drums come in. nice and B52sy. totally interested in hearing it faster like you mentioned. combined with some of ryan’s comments, i think that would do a lot for this one. totally relate with playing with pronouns to change perspective without any prompt.

fun to see how you and @@TylerK took this poem in slightly different directions.

Ryan March 14, 2023 12:53pm

Whoa, okay Nora! This is fun as hell. I would love to hear a version of this with a big full mix on it to hear the extent of the vision you described at the top of your blurb.

Songwriting-wise — chorus is great. Really cool harmonic and rhythmic decisions. Drives home the prevailing feeling of the song the way a chorus should. You already identified what I’m most curious about, which is the verse vocal delivery. I think I want you leaning into the fun even more. Given the slightly sociopolitical lyrics, I think the dry delivery comes off a little wry, whereas tapping into a bit more David Byrne might highlight the absurdity of it all in a way that matches your sound world more. Does that make sense? Some occasional doubles, Ben’s background yelps, some big room verbed-out moments, etc. might also serve it well, but that’s mix stuff.

nurphgun March 15, 2023 12:35pm

Yes! Absolutely should’ve taken more of a David Byrne approach. After all, these are NOT his beautiful houses!!!

Ben March 13, 2023 9:38am

Memories of hearing him out the window having one of those wayyy overly-polite but definitely very heated exchanges with our landlord asking him to pay for his new fence that was falling down. He kept saying “I’m a good neighbor! No, you don’t really know me that well yet. I’M A GOOD GUY. I’M A GOOD NEIGHBOR! I just think it might be the right thing if we split it. I’m really a good neighbor!”

*Narrator: “He wasn’t.”

This is somehow one of my favorite things you’ve written. Whenever you’re ready for me to give it the random-insane-background-singer-in-frank-zappa’s-1980s-era-band treatment with some high energy background rock and roll screaming vox, you know where to find me.

Ben March 13, 2023 9:50am

one of those situations where hey we’re moving anyways in a few months. it’s probably better to just get out of the way let godzilla and king kong fight it out

Ben March 13, 2023 3:49pm (edited)

i was picturing vocals like the crazy guy in this vid (bobby martin)