Anticipatory Song

I’m reading these days about the history of opera, specifically the fall of the castrati and rise of the soprano, and thus the aria, and I remembered this, which I wrote in 1994:

Score for a 3/4 piano piece in C minor called "Anticipatory Song"

That’s a scan from our high school’s literary magazine. I’m proud of this thing, and I like—playing it for the first time in 25 years via musical typing on Garageband—that I chose C minor, of all keys. I also find it very funny. The dynamics!

Title is probably an homage to Camper Van Beethoven’s “Ambiguity Song”. Anyway, this is what a high school junior does when he’s afraid of drugs and sex.

“On a Tip” – The Halo Benders

My first intro to this band, on a mixtape a friend made for me 22 years ago. Jesus. It’s 4 chords, plus a lot of E-Maj scale-based noodling I haven’t tabbed out yet. Lyrics are copied from online; I’ve left Calvin’s out for clarity.

E G# C#m A (x3)

E G#

C#m           A
    You would never 

E        G#             
   Do me in and act like
C#m            A          E         G#
   Like you're doing me a favor 
C#m             A             E
   But could it be in all the papers
G#       C#m      A
That you leave in places
E          G#        C#m    A
Worse than floors of gerbil cages 

    To be on 
    On a tip
C#m               A
    That you call in to be on 
E G# C#m A 

BRIDGE (4 bars):
G# -
C#m -
G# -
A -

E    G#    C#m       A
Your bad toast is almost home
E    G#    C#m       A
Your bad clothes, or so you boast
E           G#    C#m      A
That's not to say that you don't have
E       G#      C#m     A
Time to do your time everyday

    To be on 
    On a tip
C#m               A         E  G# C#m A
    That you call in to be on 


There’s a 16-bar breakdown at the end, where Doug squeals on some barre chords. I imagine it’s a lot of G#. It might be the same E-G#-C#m-A pattern, just whammied and distorted. But you get the general idea.

“No Sky” – Guided by Voices

UTBUTScoverI was a late fan to GBV, and after years and years of Bee Thousand supremacy in my fandom,[*] their Under the Bushes Under the Stars has usurped all their records as my favorite. I was surprised that this song’s tabs weren’t posted online anywhere, and then surprised that I was able to figure it out. Lots of open chording.

Tune down a half step (EbAbDbGbBbEb), which everyone should always be doing anyway.

Play all chords with open, ringing B and e strings, sliding the E/powerchord shape up and down the neck.


  E     A           B

INTRO/BRIDGE: same open E-A-B chords

A                                  E
Seen you around, yeah. I wanted to call you around (x2)

E                                A              B
     Could you, could you keep a secret from me, yeah? (x2)


A                            G       Bb
When I'm alone, I can see no sky. (x2)

BRIDGE (repeat to fade)

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. While I was supposed to’ve been writing the taxidermy book I instead spent some months in the spring of 2009 recording, track by track, this record, titling it, stupidly, Me Thousand. It’s been heard only by close friends who don’t judge.

“Pneumonia” – Fog

This is my song of 2015. I heard it during an Adult Swim bump that was chiefly about nipples. Not one of their best. It was too short to Shazam, or nothing came up, so I took to Adult Swim Bump Forums (yes they exist, and yes there is more than one) and posed the question to the group and within a day they got back to me. All I heard on the bump was the first 8 bars or so, and then a bit from the outro. I was very pleased to find the rest of the song even better:

I found chords for the song online but they’re mostly wrong. Here’s the song in full:

Chords used:

        E A D G B e                 E A D G B E
Gmaj7:  3 2 0 0 0 2         Cmaj7:  x 3 2 0 0 3
Dsus4:  5 5 7 7 7 7         D1:     5 5 7 7 7 5

A:      x 0 2 2 2 0         F#m:    2 4 4 2 2 2
D2:     x x 0 2 3 2         F#dim:  x x 0 2 2 2

[Gmaj7 Cmaj7 Dsus4/D1 Cmaj7] x2


Gmaj7                  Cmaj7
Is it depression or disease?
                  Dsus4    D1           Cmaj7
Tell it to the millipedes.

Gmaj7              Cmaj7
The casserole was good,
and the drives were so nice.
D1                   Cmaj7
Welcome to the worst part of your life.


A  F#m  D2/F#dim  Cmaj7

A                   F#m
I'm hard to fix because
it took me so goddamn long
   F#dim            Cmaj7
to figure out that I broke down.

(Verse chords over weird synth solo.)

Mold spores fill my lungs.
The silverfish hide in the venetian blinds
in the wintertime.
In the bathroom,
With the shower running and my clothes on
I figured out that I hate you all.

I'm hard to fix because it took me so goddamn long
to figure out that I broke down.

Hold Cmaj7 for many bars, then back to Verse chords until out.

“The Snowdon Song” — Tony, Caro & John

Old British folk song. Apparently Beach House covered this song and called it “Lovelier Girl” because of the U.S. being what it is among young folks in the post-millennium, and when I found chords for that cover online I was excited and then played them and they’re wrong. Not just different-key wrong but like, there are from what I can tell no minor-seventh chords anywhere in the song. But who knows what else Beach House did with this unassailable great.

So the recording I have is off on the tuning, and there’s all kinds of melodic lines being plucked that are beyond my capabilities, but here’s the basis for the song in the hopes a better player than I am can build off it.

Forgive misheard lyrics, though I stand by that weird line in the chorus.

“I Wish I Meant More to You” – The Field Mice

No clue which record this is off of. My mixtape pal put it on a mixtape for me. You could get away with playing this whole thing on just the b string, but there’s chords behind those droning notes, too.

Capo on 2


I find myself hoping 
For love from which you endure
That seems real 
Does mean more
             Am       E
And I'm almost sure it does

I want us to be more than
More than the friends we are
Could we ever be
More than friends?
      Am            E
I don't think so, I don't

A                      Am
I wish I meant more to you
I wish I meant more to you
That we were more than friends 
A                     Am
I wish I meant more to you
I wish I meant more to you
To you

F# E F# 

If I were to say something
This friendship wouldn't change 
For the better
Once you knew
It wouldn't be "I love you too"
I just know it wouldn't

It is more than unlikely
The way that you feel for me
Is as I for you
I for you
As I for you
For you

I wish I meant more to you
I wish I meant more to you
That we were more than friends 

I wish I meant more to you
I wish I meant more to you
To you

F# E F# E (repeat)

End on B