Hey Fr. John! So stoked for the new album — people are gonna love it. Below are just a few references I thought you could throw in. I even included a few pitches, but totally fine if you use your own (you’re the boss, lol). Some are a little obscure, but I know how you love a good esoteric reference! I also attached my credit form to this email if you could just sign that and email it to my prof. Thanks!
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire refers to the deadliest industrial accident in New York City’s history. 146 garment workers died in 1911 when a fire broke out and workers couldn’t escape the building. This reference provides an opportunity for you to comment on the human price of capitalism and the dangers of locking doors. Could be a good way to talk about how locking up our hearts leads to metaphorical smoke inhalation?
Sample line: Like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire/ our freewill sits on the pyre
Coined by British cultural critic John Ruskin, this is a literary term that refers to the practice of the often overly sentimental attribution of human emotion to inanimate objects. FJM, you could use this to be self-critical of your own use of this device (which I love!). Like, “Ohhh, look how self-aware I am.” That sort of thing.
Sample line: Watch the clouds gather on TV/ They look sad, but that’s pathetic fallacy
The Carpenters… Space Encounter
This was a television special featuring the soft rock duo The Carpenters that aired on ABC in May 1978. The premise of the special was that aliens came to earth to ask The Carpenters to help their extraterrestrial race make music. No doubt you consider The Carpenters your musical predecessors and you love taking a look at humankind from a distant view — perhaps even an extraterrestrial view? Maybe?
Sample line: Mankind is strange, what a lark/ just floating on a marble in the dark/ The Carpenters… Space Encounter/ Music binds us, we can’t discount her
Have you already sung about the singularity before? No? Really? Wow, OK, you’re overdue. You’ve definitely sung about VR devices, so this seems right up your alley. Basically, it’s the idea that we’ll invent artificial intelligence that will eventually just start improving itself to the point of being incomprehensibly intelligent, surpassing human intelligence, and radically changing the world. It’s sort of the haunting conclusion of technology’s progress and says a lot about the nature of humanity and blah, blah, blah, something about how we’re all too plugged in.
Sample line: Hardback books and carcinogens/ children’s choirs and Playstations/ soft shell tacos and KFC/ are you prepared for the singularity?
The Teapot Dome Scandal
While this one sounds appealing, you should be wary… essentially, it’s just a bribe scandal that involved President Harding, but it gets really murky. I definitely missed this question about this on the AP US exam (me, a professional researcher!!). If you do mention this, maybe draw some parallels to current political scandals? This one involves a murder, so maybe it’s saying our current political scandals aren’t as bad as we think they are?
Sample line: Politicians never change/ our government just stays the same/ Oh, you want some proof? An example?/ Uh…just take the Teapot Dome Scandal
This is an art style that emerged in the late Renaissance in Italy. Whereas early Renaissance art focused on balance and ideal beauty, Mannerism puts these concepts on their head, exaggerating features and emphasizing the artificial over the natural. Again – maybe you could use this to draw some parallels about modern society? Like how we’re all artificial? I know how much you hate how artificial we all are.
Sample line: What is beauty? What is pain?/ What is art if not for gain?/ Mannerism, stretch you thin/ breathing artificial oxygen
Los Feliz Murder House
This is a house in Los Angeles where, in December 1959, the father of the house reportedly murdered his wife in her sleep with a ball-peen hammer and then committed suicide using a cocktail of prescription medicine. The house was never occupied after the murders and rumor has it that the family’s Christmas tree and unwrapped gifts still remain untouched. Spooky huh? You sang about the Hollywood Cemetery, so this seems like it would be a logical interest of yours. There’s also something that seems interesting about being frozen in time. That seems songworthy.
Sample line: Our love is patient, our love is kind/ Our love is frozen, stuck in time/ Christmas Eve, quiet as a mouse/ Meet me at the Los Feliz Murder House
Married at First Sight
This is just a reality show. You love mixing fancy references with references to pop culture, and who’s to say this one wouldn’t fit in nicely? There’s not much to it. It’s just about people who get married when they first meet each other.
Sample line: Download apps and then swipe right/ Next thing you know, we’re Married at First Sight
Malo kingi (or the common kingslayer) is a jellyfish named after Robert King, a tourist killed by the sting of one of these jellies. It’s about the size of your thumbnail but can kill you! That’s pretty interesting, right? Something about like insignificant things becoming significant? Maybe?
Sample line: Swimming off the coast of Queensland/ who would think a jelly could slay this kingsman?/ Just a sting and fade to black/ the malo kingi stabs you in the back.
British Rail 15107
This is a diesel-powered locomotive that was commissioned by Great Western Railway, but delivered to British Railways after nationalization. It was never given classification and had a short life as a locomotive. Something poetic about that. I think. I found it by hitting the random button on Wikipedia. Little researcher’s trick ; )
Sample line: Just a cog in the machine/ just chugging towards the dream/ Life is short, is there a heaven?/ Just ask British Rail 15107
This is just a medium-sized park in Toronto. That’s it. You probably won’t find use for it, but it’d really throw people for a loop if you did.
Sample line: By the George Bell Arena after dark/ We must be in Toronto’s Runnymede Park