04) Madison

Back in February of 2006, Jefferson Pitcher, J. Matthew Gerken, and I set about writing and recording the original demos for these Presidents songs as part of the February Album Writing Month challenge (www.fawm.org).  We wrote and did demo recordings of 42 songs (all but G.W. Bush) in Februrary–28 days and 42 songs.  Sheesh. 

In any case, as part of that, we wrote little texts to accompany each new song as we got them up on the FAWM website.  I like looking through them now as they seem part of a crazy, crazy time. 

Burr Settles, a fine songwriter in his own right and the FAWM-lord, was kind enough to get me an html backup of all the original texts we wrote, and it includes the comments other songwriters wrote on the demos as we got them up.  I’m including those as well.

04 Madison (Zinger)

by Christian Kiefer — 2006-02-06 @ 03:34am (EST) — Alt/Indie, Folk, Pop

Gads, I thought the last mix was rough. This is rougher yet.

In any case, this one, on James Madison, is about jealousy. Washington and Jefferson are well-remembered presidents. Adams perhaps less so, but Madison is completely forgotten. What the hell did he do? Quite a bit, actually, but it’s all mostly forgotten because Jefferson and Washington were real showboats in dapper coats and powdered wigs. Madison, on the other hand, was an ugly little fucker, and so that certainly effected his public image. He’s on the $5000 bill, but who has one? Not I. A Washington, sure. Even a pocketful of Jeffersons, but alas no Madison.

But who’s famous? His wife: Dolley Madison. Drop the extra “e” in her first name and you have a name sacred to, as the song says, “every sticky fingered chubby from sea to shining sea.” So James is, perhaps understandably, a bit miffed. His jolly, buxon Dolley gets the royal pop culture treatment but alas James is only the lapdog of obscurity. Destiny is a mean fucker, to be sure.


  1. Eric Distad | 2006-02-06 @ 01:04pm (EST)I’ve tried to listen to this track like 4-5 times and the download halts at diffrent spots… frustrating.The zinger references are great! Lyrically it’s very solid, conveyed the sense of Madison’s bitterness perfectly. Can’t wait to hear the demo.
  2. Eric Distad | 2006-02-06 @ 01:09pm (EST)Finally got it to work. The banjo/high vocal combo is interesting… not something you hear every day. It really works here… something about the bitterness of the lyrics with the sweet vocals and the banjo just seems to fit.I would love to hear an organ part reinforcing things on the latter half of the song.
  3. Christian Kiefer | 2006-02-06 @ 04:58pm (EST)I was actually thinking of adding Hammond or pump organ on it. Pump organ would make more sense in terms of meshing with the banjo, but Hammond is more attractive to me because it makes LESS sense. 🙂 But then again, that’s the dumb way I think.I think my server was having a crapout, but hopefully it’s better now and will keep on working. If people have a problem, please shoot me an e-mail to xian@christiankiefer.com and let me know & I’ll reload the song.
  4. Burr Settles | 2006-02-06 @ 10:55pm (EST)wow. way to co-opt “zinger” too. i’m really impressed with these. the bridge is a little weird… not quite sure how to put my finger on it. but i’m impressed with the 3 prez songs so far… they run the risk of being cheesy, but indeed, they are rather well-formed and interesting.
  5. jeff pitcher | 2006-02-07 @ 08:26pm (EST)i like the busom reference…subject matter in whole. high voice is great. where do you find it by the way, i’m still looking? i think it would be cool if you ran the banjo through a ring modulator (or something) to make it distort in a weird way, then recorded a super pretty piano or organ part. split them left and right. but then that would be me. the lapdog of obscurity. brilliant.
  6. PlushBaby | 2006-02-08 @ 08:46am (EST)Jiggly boosom pressed to every open mouth… is indeed a wonderful image…I didn’t like the highness of the vocal in the beginning but now I think it suits the song very nicely!
Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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