Tag Archives: Synthesizers

Personal Soundtrack

10 Jun


The Song

How Do You Do? by Hot Chip

Like to be able to dance to your love songs?  Hot Chip can help with that.  With frontman Alexis Taylor’s silky falsetto adding a lightness to lyrics that often express a sensitive and passionate worldview, the group’s beat-driven brand of electronic songs offer plenty of emotion to go along with your dance moves.  And there are a lot of dance moves to be found among propulsive anthems like “How Do You Do.”  Starting off with a percolating synth line that brings an alluring edge to the rest of the tune, the song is a joyous celebration of love that bridges the gap between the dance floors of the 80’s and the future.

Clean bursts of synths beam around a spare backbeat like laser beams through the smoke machine of a long-lost night club.  As each new layer of sound is brought in, they come together to form a jam that finally crests in a furious instrumental breakdown that demands to be danced to.  Taylor’s lyrics offer a wide-eyed celebration of his feelings towards a lover, with the refrain “How do you do it? / You make me want to live again” repeating over and over again until the whole thing becomes an anthem.  The high-paced energy of the song slows down at points to let you catch your breath, but when everything starts up again, the dance party has only gotten more furious.

The Activity

You used to think that feelings like this only existed in movies and Hallmark cards, but this full-speed, no-apologies passion that you’re currently harboring is as real as it gets.  It started casually, simply.  Just a locking of eyes across the nightclub dance floor as you both grooved to the DJ’s beat.  But ever since then, as you went from casual texts to frozen yogurt dates to massage trains in the park, your feelings for this person have grown to the point that when you think about them, your breath catches in your throat and you forgot where you are.

You are pretty sure that these feelings go both ways.  But it hasn’t been spoken yet – by either of you.  Things, relationship0-wise, are at a turning point.  It’s still just a relationship, and not a Relationship.  It’s all fun and games.  But you want more, you need it.  If it’s possible.  And the only way you’ll know if it is, is if you put all your cards on the figurative table.  The only way you know how – music.

You spend several days racking your brain for the best, most powerful way to tell them how you feel.  You listen to records and watch romantic comedies, looking for inspiration.  And then finally, you stumble across Say Anything.  The image of John Cusack raising the boom box over his head and letting Peter Gabriel do the talking for him is one that resonates with you.  Your partner in romance has a bedroom window conveniently located in the perfect location for a serenade.  But your burning love is too hot for just a re-enactment of a decades-old movie scene.  You need to do your own thing.

So you spend several more days, writing the perfect lyrics and putting the music together, playing each instrument and recording most of the song.  Most of the song except for the vocals and the keyboard part.  So that when the fateful day comes, and you have your hopeful lover waiting in the window, you can play the synthesized notes yourself.  A live show, for an audience of one.  Just you, the mic, some speakers, and the ‘Board.  And your love.  Does it work?  Do they run down and jump into your arms and start a joyful dance party, followed by some physical lovin’?  Of course.  Music always works.