The Alligator Song

Listen: RealAudio 28.8
T.O.: Toronto, Ontario, the largest city in Canada, my home and birthplace.

Canada's Wonderland: An amusement park near Toronto, where I've had various summer jobs.

The Story
The story of the Alligator song is pretty clear from the words. She was my supervisor at Canada's Wonderland. We got along famously. I loved her sense of humour, and was physically attracted to her.

I asked her out. That was my first mistake. She suddenly started acting strangely around me. After about a week of being ignored and obsessing about what I would do if we did go out, I called her. That was my second mistake. I just wanted an answer, even though I had a sinking feeling that it would be "no". I figured we needed to confront this in order to get past it. So I looked her up in the phone book, and called. She said, not "no", but "I can't", because she was my supervisor.

She continued to act wierd (even while denying that she was acting wierd), all summer. Day to day, we were so competent that we barely needed to speak, so we didn't.

I couldn't really do anything because she was my supervisor, and I think she thought I was some kind of stalker. So I spent the rest of my summer being ignored by my former friend, and it sucked hard. Even a year later, I was still pissed off.

The Song
The song was one of the first I wrote, and I wrote it on piano. When I learned ukulele, I played it on that, and it was the first song that anyone told me they liked. I was sort of embarassed, because the song is an anger sandwich.

While the tune is happy, even joyous, the lyrics, the songs's meaning, are quite vicious. Especially in the old version of the chorus, where it said:
You were proud to be a freak,
The black-clothes wearing kind
But your true freakdom lay within your mind.
It just seems wrong to me that someone should like something that's vicious, that's all. On the other hand, I can't deny that I like it. Besides, the anger sandwich is pretty similar to the way I had to be nice at Canada's Wonderland, while being so angry inside.

The song is oddly structured. It goes: verse / verse / bridge / chorus / instrumental / verse / chorus / verse. I could have made it more standard by inserting a chorus between the first and second verses. The reason I didn't is that the chorus doesn't make any sense after the first verse. It needs verse two or the bridge in front of it before it makes sense. And for me, having it make sense is really important.

Recording Notes
(see also My Sister's Guitar recording notes)

[Aaron plays the piano]
I dragged my computer upstairs to the piano...
The Alligator song has 11 tracks, and I performed all of them:

The most interesting thing about recording this song was piano. I dragged my PC upstairs to record the piano, which was an adventure unto itself. Then, once I had a track I was happy with, the machine crashed. I had to record the track again. It was tricky for me figuring out where to put the microphone. Since it's an upright grand piano, I settled on the top front (where one would put music).

It turned out to be completely worth it.

Until the piano tracks were added, "The alligator song" was sounding dangerously similar to "Play me a song", but adding piano (which was the original instrument for both songs) gave "The alligator song" a fullness that surprised me.

The "bah" vocals were recorded on a whim to add even more build-up to the first chorus. They were inspired by 50's music, specifically "At the hop".

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