Mystery song lyrics
October 21, 2005 4:16 AM   Subscribe

Looking for the band/composer that created the songs on an old cassette tape I have from the early 90's. Song titles include "We can Rearrange the World" and "Goddamn the Empty Sky", "The Lament of the Corporate President's Wife" among others. The tape had only a hand-written label on it calling it "Maestro Mix", and probably was copied 1991-92.

I actually asked this question once before, and got no luck. Trying a second time, just in case the broader AskMe readership can help. :)

Some context:
I grew up in New Hampshire, and my sister, who is 4 years older than I, went to a performing arts high school in Natick, Massachusetts called Walnut Hill. When I was in the 11th or 12th grade (around 92-93, my sister was by this point in college), she gave me an old box of tapes she had in high school from a few of years earlier. One in particular caught my interest, which was a cassette tape with "Ani Difranco" written on one side (this proved to be her self-titled album it turns out, with "Both Hands" as the opening track- good album, but easily identified ages ago). On the other side, it said simply "Maestro Mix", and my sister couldnt' recall anything about it. The tunes are catchy, "show tune" like, but with often vulgar or base lyrics that, I think, add to their charm.

Over the years, I have tried every now and then, and have never been able to track down the artist/band that did this, or whether it was a student work at the Walnut Hill school, or something commercially available at the time, etc....

Two particular things that might help clue in the music geeks in the room:
1) One of the last songs is "Goddamn the Empty Sky", in English, which it turns out uses the text of a poem/song by Violetta Parra.
Goddamn the empty sky,
and the stars at night
Goddamn the ripply bright
stream as it goes by
Goddamn the way stones lie
on dirt or on the street
Goddamn the summer's heat
because my heart is raw
Goddamn the laws of time
when they cheat
My pain's as bad as that.
2) Another song, apparently called "Oh my god, it's so beautiful", was actually done as a cover on yet another mix tape I was given as a gift around '94. However, the cover sheet for it, which listed the band covering it, was lost so I can't follow that lead, either (all-female a capella group).
Oh my god it's so beautiful,
Oh my god it's so beautiful,
Oh my god it's so beautiful, on the eleventh floor

Now Joseph was talking to this blind girl
At the top of his lungs.
As if describing the view in meticulous detail
Could make her see where it's coming from.
And now to tell you what kind of guy Joseph is,
At the end of his spiel
He assured her the view was not spectactular
As if he realized just how she must feel.
Amazon, google, P2P, etc.... any resources I've looked at over the years have turned up nada, whether I search on snippets of lyrics, supposed song titles, whatever.

Does anyone have any clue? I have just the cassette, which is basically irreplaceable. I'd gladly buy the album of whoever made this if I can just figure out who it is.
posted by hincandenza to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Have you tried entering long lyric strings into Google with quotes around them? I have had great success identifying mystery songs that way.
posted by Miko at 7:19 AM on October 21, 2005

Strangely, I searched on "Goddamn the ripply bright" and found this link:

It's got to be the same languagehat that I see on MeFi, right? Maybe you could direct your question there...

Good luck!
posted by chrisubus at 7:36 AM on October 21, 2005

(Are you sure it's the same band on all tracks? The word "mix" might reasonably be taken to imply that it's a mix tape...)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:17 AM on October 21, 2005

I can't give you a specific answer, but if you're lucky Musipedia may help you out somewhat. Also, I'd advise you to make a copy of the cassette if you haven't already, because I know from personal experience that cassettes can crap out on you, even when treated well.

PS: I looked at your profile and see that you're in Seattle too. Lots of record stores on the Ave are staffed by total music geeks who live for the moments when people consult them to identify obscure stuff. It might be worth a shot. Good luck.
posted by apple scruff at 8:26 AM on October 21, 2005

Maybe something to do with this guy?
It's a close fit geographically with Ani DiFranco, (Buffalo, Montreal) although Maestro Pero's current style doesn't seem to match what you've described. You might shoot him an e-mail on a hunch, though.
posted by Floydd at 8:39 AM on October 21, 2005

What are the rest of the song titles?
posted by user92371 at 11:39 AM on October 21, 2005

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for some of the answers- I don't think that Maestro Pero thing is related, but it's an interesting link. The styles are *so* different... but like you said, it can't hurt.

chrisubus: funny story. I did email languagehat (yes, it's the same one) once when I found that link last year, and sure enough... he told me he found that poem because of my original post. :)

nebulawindphone: the reason I think it's the same band performing it is because every song is done by the same few set of voices (a few male and a couple of female voices, very theatrical style of singing). The style of each song is similar enough that they were either written by the same people, or they are a variety of songs arranged by a common person.

user92371: Unfortunately, I don't know the real song titles, only what I can guess from the main chorus phrase. I also don't have a way of playing it anymore, as I don't have a cassette deck! However, from what I can recall:

Song 1: unsure of the title

My husband's a well liked respected around the neighborhood kind of a guy
But you don't see him very often or sleep in the same bed with him or eat meals with him very often
And I'm gonna tell you why!

I don't mind if he's got a hard on for almost every woman that he happens to see!
Because I know, if he's got a hard-on, the chances are he won't be coming home and bugging me.

Song 2: spoken word/singing, no idea of title
um... lots of stuff about watching her neighbor have sex through her window... "I cried... and then I went and got doughnuts!"

I can't recall all the songs after this or their order. Some of the "titles" include:
"Lament of the Corporate President's Wife"

"We Can Rearrange the World"
Has a nice ending lyric set:
I certainly do appreciate
All that you have done for me and
All that you have won for me
I hate to see a marked depreciation
Of our current currency
I can see the necessity
For whether the sea is blue or black
I know the sea will never come back
I know the sea will never come back
It has suffered a sea change
And we can reaarrange the world...
A song about being overweight:
If could slim about an inch away
You know I'd go out with boys most every day
We'd be hanging around but anyway
I don't feel like exercising today

All the people that say I'm fat are jerks
Because losing weight is so much work
You know I'd rather sit with myself at lunch
Than sit with the girls and eat a celery bunch
And the final a song about a girl overdosing on heroin:
Jeannie's doing heroin with a big ol' plunger
Don't know where she's going in,
But she's going down under

She got dancing moves
A graceful reluctance
A figure that soothes
A mourning introduction
I can't recall much more than that now, but I'll see what else I can think of.
posted by hincandenza at 12:54 PM on October 21, 2005

Of little help, perhaps, but to me all these songs sound very stagey -- show tunes, as you said. The use of extant poems further suggests some kind of student production.
posted by dhartung at 1:06 AM on October 22, 2005

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