Jonathan Feinberg
COMMISSION

In early May of 2021, I solicited song topics, as responses to this post, limit one per person. The only stipulation was that each idea must reflect something that the requester would truly like to hear a song about; they could not just try to throw me a curveball of a topic too bizarre, obscure, or unpleasant to write about.

I made no promises about what I'd do with each idea, other than that I will write and perform a song. It might be short; it might be pop; it might be a pastiche; it might be acoustic; it might be electronic... But it will be.

Songs in GREEN are finished, and can be played here, or on the SoundCloud project page.

1 Elma Mayer - I CHALLENGE You to A Duet

A song titled "I Challenge You to a Duet", challenging someone you would like to do a duet with, including John, Paul, George, Ringo, Beyoncé, or Jakub Józef Orliński (recommended).

Featuring Elma Mayer on vocals.

2 Katherine McVety - Bird and Fish

The little fish would be in love with the bird, but how will they ever meet?

3 Lisa Loeb - Great Minds Think Alike

Great minds think alike.

Featuring Deb Hiett on vocals, and Marc Muller on dobro and mandolin.

4 Thomas Colthurst - Better

A song about unloading a dishwasher only to discover there are enough dirty dishes piled up to completely load it again.

Featuring Dan MacKenzie on bass and vocals, and Matt Beck on slide and lead electric guitars.

5 Brian Woodbury - The Vocabulary Builder App

Song from the point of view of someone taking an "Improve Your Vocabulary" course, or using an "Improve Your Vocabulary" app, etc.

6 Colleen Werthmann - Thunder and Lightning

How thunder happens, how lightning happens.

7 James Williamson - Boy

White matter versus grey matter.

8 Chris Rael- Opening

Here's the lyric message: "Don't apologize for hurting me. My suffering is not for the loss of your intimacy. It's for the lies, betrayal & usury you deployed upon gaining my unearned trust. But thanks for the life lesson. I'll never again give away my belief in what's possible so cheaply."

9 David McLary

Music is or is not math. Make a case in your song.

10 Golan Levin

Angst about minting NFTs.

11 Megan Cash

A song about a year of online school could useful.

12 Jan-Willem Maessen

Use graph coloring as a metaphor for police abolition.

13 Mónika Veress

Cats.

14 Lindsey Simon

Band practice.

15 Robert Rindler

GAY MALE LOVE CELEBRATED!

16 Lauren Hannah-Murphy

A song about women who powerlift and/or female athletes. About how women are strong and are not strong "for a girl" or any other qualifier. And if you want to get really into it, some of the bullshit comments female athletes get in response to social media posts (usually, but not always, from guys) could be good lines. Take a look at the FB or Instagram profiles for ""you look like a man".

Example: Jen Thompson is a powerlifting legend and holds world records for bench press (315.5lbs at 132lbs bodyweight I think) and when she recently posted herself benching 225 for 12reps, one of the responses (from a guy) was essentially "um, actually 4 45lb plates is only 180lbs. 4x45=180, not 225."

17 Dina Emerson

Uploading your consciousness to the cloud and something goes very wrong

18 Jonah Feinberg

A slug who wants money.

19 Daniel Sandler

"Stop Making It So Hard To Love You" (ambiguously about a relationship or an employer).

20 GideoN Kendall

A heartfelt song from the point of view of the subject of a limerick (ex: the guy from Nantucket).

21 Frank Jania

You've taken a time machine back to when you were 13. You get one song to convince yourself you're really you as an adult and give yourself advice about the future.

22 Francis Fung

I'd love to hear a song about contacting the implicit edge of our awareness (e.g., through the modality of Focusing, see focusing.org for instance ) though this may be difficult to write about without actually learning a little about how to do it. Also more at cefocusing.com.

23 Peter Lurye

It's an impressive project. But there's one issue—is there anything Brian Woodbury HASN'T already written a song about? Hey, that's your song—"The Song Brian Didn't Write."

24 Lauren Cairco Dukes

A pleasant sounding song about construction trucks would get a lot of play time in our house.

25 David Saff

Either this moment: https://www.facebook.com/david.saff/posts/10212036212642951, or a song about being a very small optimistic autonomous helicopter that is the only helicopter on its planet, whichever fits better your current earnestness budget.

26 David Shenk

A man spends decades trying to be understood and admired. In vain. Late in life, he realizes he can never have both, but he might be able to attain one if he is willing to sacrifice the other.

27 Mike Brum

I would like you to write a song about racing - but not "nascar" racing. More the high-octane, over-the-top anime-style racing you see depicted in Redline (great anime if you haven't watched it) or even the Speed Racer live action movie (which is also great and grossly underappreciated).

28 Gus Prevas

I would like you to write a song about "the life and/or works of Jorge Luis Borges".

29 Tars Cunha

A song about a guy in his 30's trying to learn to skateboard without getting badly hurt.

30 Ali Mohammad

Fuck you Karen! even though I have several wonderful friends named Karen!

31 Katherine Profeta

A song about someone who goes to a political protest and sees a cute person of whatever gender and crushes out and starts wondering how hot they look to them in their protest gear and then is overcome by guilt because they’re not protesting in order to meet a lover and turns around and walks in the other direction. Your choice whether they meet them again another day, or that’s that.

32 Greg Falcon

A song about contented procrastination. The subject has stuff to do, but doesn't care, and doesn't care that they don't care.

34 Daniel Mackenzie

Please write a song about missing college.

35 Sallie d'Orsay

Composting!

36 Garrett Rooney

Since you're someone who's made a pretty dramatic change of career I think you'd be well equipped to tackle that subject matter in a song.

37 Bob McVety

Rising from the ashes of homelessness and addiction to a life with a family and everything you could need or want.

38 Dom Schulz

An animal rights/vegan concept album song about domesticated animals turning on their owners and retaking the planet.

39 Joshua Feinberg

A song about students who challenge authority with the hook "Mister Feinberg, I disagree."

40 Jud Porter

I'm now the same age that my dad was in some of my earliest memories of him, and going through the same things with my kids that I remember him doing with me. Like teaching me to ride a bike and play soccer. So a song about that.

41 Geoffrey Borggaard

How about a nice allegory illustrating the sunk cost fallacy?

42 Michael Holt

me

43 Kurt Hirsch

Antitrust law.

44 Brent Curtis

Roko's Basilisk.

45 Elliott Goldkind

I've wanted to write a song about the Ruggles Orientator forever, but never have. If you're so inclined, I'd love to hear itI!

46 Jay Shaplin

The merch guy slinging your swag is the loneliest guy.

47 Chris Shabsin

Saving the world one inch at a time... When others are striding towards hell at a mile a minute.

I'm not sure if this can be optimistic or dark or what, but... There's a strong river current out to sea, and we're trying to swim upstream.

48 Ned Burns

Trying to survive a storm at sea.

49 Greg Price

I’d like a song about the joy and serenity of kayaking alone on a river in the woods.

50 Deb Hiett

A joyous romping ditty about the concept of how artists are expected to work for free. Stomping Irish tune? Bippy patter song? Disco boogie track? Dunno. Could be heavy on the snark or sarcasm, but even without hearing the lyrics, the energetic music would make the listener want to learn it, choreograph it, enlist friends to perform it live, record the video, release it on every social media platform with simulcast zoom events across multiple time zones, and promote it in print media. For free.

51 Jim Ryan

How about a song about sex? That has never been addressed before.

Seriously though, most songs about lusting, longing and doing the nas are set in the exciting beginning or bitter end of a love affair. How about a song that addresses the hopes, conflicts and thrills of long haulers d’une certaine age?

52 Alan deLespinasse

Pick 3 emails from your spam folder. Adapt each one into a verse.

53 Charles Izenstark

Maybe something about some moms getting together drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and talking about their kids.

54 Mark Lerner

A song about someone's secret life.

55 Kurt Hoffman

“I can’t get out of bed”. Three verses set up situations where the chorus ‘I can’t get out of bed’ is the resolution. The last one is directed at ‘you’ and it implies that the sex is so good. It’s a fun, dancy number.

Like I was thinking the first one is because the song’s narrator is depressed. like: ‘I found the note she left me. She’s never coming back. I’m just a lone bereft me, a sad insomniac:

I can’t get out of bed...”