This week marked the 200th episode of my podcast Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena.
Skeptoid has a long-standing tradition of making every 50th episode a lavish musical production. This tradition began last year at episode 150, which established the lavish musical employing a host of talented professionals; and crumbled all to hell this week at episode 200, when I applied my own unassisted imbecility toward the construction of a musical piece. The result is a parody of marketing efforts from purveyors of pseudoscience in the form of a song entitled Buy It!
Being an experienced non-musician, and quite impressively talented on no musical instruments, I elected to make this piece an a cappella. This allowed me to leverage my deep gifts for not singing. Critics have already praised the performance as one of the great voices made for blogging.
My background in not composing music helped to cunningly construct chord progressions as provocative and complex as those from The Wiggles.
And so armed with the needed talents, I proceeded. Among those talents are not the abilities to count beats, keep rhythm, or hold a note, so I had to cheat a bit. Contrary to suppositions I’ve already heard, no sampling or pitch correction was used in Buy It! But there is a lot of looping. This meant I had to record each loop, usually 4 measures long, in the correct pitch and timing. So I played each vocal part separately on a keyboard into Garageband, each on its own track. I listened to each track solo, as a guide, as I sang each line. There are thirteen separate vocal tracks, plus ten handclap tracks and one finger snap track. Put them all together, mute out the keyboard guide tracks, and presto, we have a multitrack vocal performance that’s actually in sync and reasonably close to being on key. Pretty good, I thought, for someone who has no clue and little hope of ever obtaining a clue.
Yes, I know there is some clipping in a couple parts. The clipping provoked much colorful language. It’s not in the original recordings, so perhaps some future engineering will get rid of it.
The crowd-shouted “Buy it!” line caused a lot of headaches. Richard Saunders gathered a crew together in Australia and did some takes. I thought it would be fun to make this a bi-continental piece, but unfortunately I ended up being unable to use that clip; it just didn’t sound right when I mixed it in. I also gathered my family around the mic and we all shouted it too, but it came out unintelligible. So I ended up reverting to my original concept of a Village People style chorus: a combination of basses and falsettos. I doubt any listeners were able to divine that inspiration, but that’s what I was going for. Regardless, it was the only one of my three options that worked.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. It was fun to make, and I think its message is a worthy addition to the Skeptoid body of work.