Thing a Week Redux

5 years ago Jonathan Coulton (that's me) started a project called Thing a Week, in which I released newly recorded song every Friday for a year. I'm replaying it in real time here with all the songs and the text from the original posts.

May 23

Thing a Week 35: Soft Rocked By Me

I find this one a bit unsettling. The guy in this song is a total ass – his philosophy is whatever the opposite of carpe diem is. I thought the idea of someone “soft rocking” you was kind of funny when I started this, but now I think it’s just creepy and sad. I’m disgusted with the whole thing.

No bass – no time!

PRESENT DAY JOCO SAYS: No bass, no time, no matter! It’s funny, you obsess over every little thing, and then one day you don’t put bass in and it doesn’t really make all that much difference, the world doesn’t end (literally).

The loathing I felt for this character I created certainly comes from my own tendency to avoid seizing the day at any costs - I really don’t like to strive, or make waves. Here’s a story: I had a girlfriend at some grade school age where having a girlfriend means you tell each other that you LIKE each other and then you never speak again (doing it wrong). Her family moved out of town and we got together for one last (first?) hanging out together time at her house after school, and it was chaste and awkward. After she moved she wrote a letter to me saying that she had a new boyfriend and he was awesome! I found out later at some high school reunion that she made it up because she was mad that I didn’t try to kiss her. I’ve always been too busy “respecting” (I think I might mean “fearing”) girls to ever try to make out with them. I’m pretty sure it was this very memory that made me hate this character so much. The passive voice joke though, that’s a winner.

This song has had much more of a life in live shows than it ever did during Thing a Week, and for that I must thank Paul and Storm. It was their idea to cram a semi-improvised medley in the middle, and it’s always an enormously successful set piece when we perform it together. It’s also a great excuse to sing soft rock songs in three part harmony, which is all I ever wanted to do anyway.

I haven’t talked about Paul and Storm much during this reblog thing, but that’s because this was the year I met and got to know them. They contacted me sometime after Baby Got Back and we started doing shows together, and we’ve been friends and frequent collaborators ever since. I learned a great deal from them about many things, especially touring - from the best envelopes to use when you’re sending posters to the cheapest way to book a hotel (Paul is a master of the Priceline bidding mojo). I continue to rely on them for advice for all sorts of things, and to be a little jealous of their energy and never ending string of good ideas. If it was the internet that helped my career get off the ground, it was Paul and Storm who helped me figure out how to bring it out into the real world in front of real audiences. They are consummate showmen, and if you say otherwise I will write a very long blog post explaining my opinion about it. Count on it!

Seriously, don’t wake the dragon (because he is very tired).

You can find more info on this song, a store where you can listen to everything, and also other stuff at jonathancoulton.com.


  1. chicazul said: I would be interested in that long blog post about Paul and Storm, but I can’t find it in me to publicly insult their showmanship.
  2. jonathancoulton posted this