Jeff's online journal, ramblings, whatever.

52 Weeks – Week 4 – Who is this Stranger?

Explanation of the 52 Weeks Project


Today’s piece of music, presented in three forms:

“Who is this Stranger?” from Travels!

(For those not familiar with Travels, this may help.)

I’m going to present all Travels songs in these three formats, as the differences can be striking and interesting. For example, with “Who is this Stranger?” the MIDI version has a lot more energy than the CD and live version, due to a faster tempo and a screwed-up keyboard in the other two (it was supposed to be a square wave, but due to some miscommunication it ended up being a Hammond organ, and the two sound nothing alike).

To quote from my Travels memoirs: “This is where the musical style of the show shifts from an old-fashioned musical to a rock opera. The energy level is high as the show gets rockin’. This is heightened in the MIDI file by the Square sound (the techno video-game sound) and on the tape by the slap bass line. Easily one of the songs that lost a bit on the CD, it still is a great entrance into China.”

“Who is this Stranger?” is one of the first songs I completed while orchestrating Travels, and I was really excited about the energy put into it. As time went on during the orchestration and rehearsal process, I discovered that what I put in the MIDI file and what the orchestra was capable of playing were often quite different, both in terms of skill level and just being real instruments, and as a result the CD suffers. The live version is a little more energetic, since the drums and bass were both killed on the CD.

“Who is this Stranger?” was also one of the only songs Nate asked for my lyrical help on. I think after I gave helpful suggestions like “I’ve never seen their kind or like, I kind of like their look, but look, they look just like Al Gore” and Annelise’s favorite, “Who are these strangers, strangers from Granger,” Nate turned elsewhere for lyrical help (although, in my defense, lines like “You will see it all as we push off my favorite pier/You’re gonna push your friend in the water?” stayed in the show).

Finally, the song should have been titled “Who are these Strangers?” since that’s what is actually sung, but oh well, whaddya gonna do?

Coming up next week: “I’ve Got Rhythm” from Pimp Lando 7!


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