Artificial Heart discussion



  • @Craig: that's the impression I get. it's like JoCo's own "Commander Thinks Aloud".
  • The monkey butler Brian Dennehy is pretending to be Rick Springfield?

    Souvenez-vous il y a un disque avec un singe ?
    Un singe qui fume une pipe, comme un homme.
    Je veux dire, le singe est comme un homme. Pas la pipe.

    Shave the peach fuzz,
    but only on the cheeks and chin, and forehead, and arms and torso and legs, but not the top lip!

    @Craig, I also thought that about Now I Am An Arsonist, when listening to the album version, though I don't remember ever thinking that when I listened to the live version. Perhaps the words hadn't sunk in yet. However, he said this when he introduced it on the cruise:

    This is one of those impressionistic songs that even I don't really understand; perhaps you can tell me what it's about later on.
  • I've been a bad fan. I've avoided watching youtube vids of the new songs, wanting to wait (and wait and wait) for the studio album. I need to know the songs first before I can appreciate a version that sounds muddy and hard to understand! I've seen many of them live in person, though.

    And I intend to order level four, but one thing has been holding me back. I'm not much of a t-shirt wearer, so I thought I'd get them for my husband, who wears t-shirts but really prefers ones with pockets. But then I thought I'd like at least one of them for me. Our household of two certainly doesn't need TWO level four purchases, but there isn't a way to order different sizes. I've got an email in to JoCo about this. A friend pleaded in her paypal comments for one of the shirts in a different size. 

    An issue for anyone else? Hey, maybe someone out there is in the same boat - and we could do a shirt exchange. Husband wears men's large and I wear a women's medium. The one I'm most interested in that size is limited edition second shirt (black with red printing).
  • He hasn't even decided on the brand of T-shirt yet, so there may be an opportunity to change shirt size when that happens according to how the sizing works for that brand, and I suppose you might be able to ask for different sizes at that point.
  • edited September 2011
    Who says there are no monkeys on the album? Nobody Loves You Like Me
    could be about someone mourning the loss of their monkey. Who says the
    Nemesis is not a monkey? Who says it's not a french monkey pretending to
    be Rick Springfield?

    The opportunities for monkeys are endless!
    Stole my idea yo.  ;P

    I've been a bad fan. I've avoided watching youtube vids of the new
    songs, wanting to wait (and wait and wait) for the studio album. I need to know the songs first before I can appreciate a version that
    sounds muddy and hard to understand! I've seen many of them live in
    person, though.
    Same here.
    On a more serious note, could Now I Am An Arsonist be about either the Columbia or Challenger Space Shuttle disasters (or both), as told from the point of view of the ship itself? Because judging by the lyrics that's the impression I get.
    All of my brain.  Didn't think of that possibility.
  • So the Big Package of Everything contains this album on vinyl. I take it this will also be available for purchase individually later?
  • Also, I find it funny that the "wrong words" from PAX Prime 2010's performance of "Dissolve" made it in the final version. I had gotten used to the "fear set me free" "started using me" lyrics, because now I keep hearing his "it's wrong words from an earlier draft..." line.
  • I did not even notice it included a vinyl LP. Good thing I have a friend with a record player, and I'll be moving to the same city as her in a year or so! I wonder if she'd like it. Wow, now that I read that all sans-hysteria, I realise that's A LOT of stuff.

    You should probably ask JoCo whether it will be available separately. If it isn't, I expect there will be people who have no idea what to do with a vinyl LP except sell it.
  • edited September 2011
    Part of my reason for purchasing level four was because of my recent record player acquisition and my need to play more things on it. So far I'm limited to some Hugh Laurie, Tally Hall and Tom Lehrer. JoCo will make a very pleasing addition.

    ETA: It's also upon reviewing the amount of stuff that it involves that I'm trying to work out how big the box is, and subsequently how extortionate customs charges are. It would suck immensely to have to pay an additional $100 (£70ish) just to receive it-which is about as much as a reasonable ThinkGeek order costs me.
  • Somewhat related: has anyone managed to download the Good Morning Tucson video? How big is the file? When I download it, Safari seems to think it's 1.07GB (I guess that's what the server tells it) but it keeps downloading and sometimes gets more than 2GB. The problem is since it doesn't know how big the file is supposed to be, if the download fails for whatever reason, it just assumes that was the end of the file and the only way I can tell it didn't really succeed is that I can't open the file. I had similar problems downloading Artificial Heart, except there it didn't even have a guess at how big the file was.
  • I managed to download it, it is 1.07GB but frustratingly isn't able to be played by VLC and is incredibly jumpy in Quicktime. If it's worth anything I downloaded it with Chrome.
  • @weirdojace: The point of big preorder packages like this is that they usually contain exclusive items that are never sold elsewhere. The t-shirts for sure fall into this category; the vinyl might too. I'm not sure he's even decided yet.
  • @Gina @Angeltastic I had the same thoughts regarding the t-shirts.  I hope that there is an opportunity later to clarify sizes and such.

    @weirdojace I am specifically interested in the vinyl, myself. :)

    Does anyone have any information regarding liner notes?  Do they exist with the 'hard' copies?  If so, I would really be interested in reading them while listening...
  • There are plenty of places that sell vinyl record frames if you don't actually have a record player. Just make sure JoCo signs it first.
  • @kate: what do you mean by liner notes? The physical CD contains a booklet with lyrics for all songs and a rather lengthy list of credits on the packaging behind the CD. Someone posted photos earlier in the thread. Is that what you're looking for?
  • edited September 2011
    @Angelastic & @Jon Who, you can export the video to iTunes by clicking on the "share" menu in Quicktime. The exported video will be naturally smaller in size.
  • edited September 2011
    @chicazul - I don't see that link. Also, I Googled some images of "Jonathan Coulton Artificial Heart" while searching for the packaging, and for some reason one of the results was a photo of broccoli. Wacky.
  • image

    Speaking of "The Stache", talk about your alternative interpretation.

    (This picture was not taken as an alternative interpretation of "The Stache")
  • edited September 2011
    Ah, the video finished downloading (again) while I was out and it really is 1.07GB (so what's this 2GB thing I downloaded?) and this time it opens and plays.

    Nice idea, @Craig. If I didn't have a friend with a record player (or if she doesn't find the music depressing enough for her tastes) I'd consider framing the vinyl. My little signed photo of JoCo is tiny compared with the other posters and stuff on my walls.  ETA: Except, of course, I will have an Artificial Heart poster as well.

    The only other record that was actually 'mine' was a Michael Jackson breakdancing record, but I'm not as much of a Michael Jackson fangirl as I was when I was four.
  • From @chicazul:

    what do you mean by liner notes? The physical CD contains a booklet
    with lyrics for all songs and a rather lengthy list of credits on the
    packaging behind the CD. Someone posted photos earlier in the thread. Is
    that what you're looking for?

    Yes, that is exactly what I am looking for.  The download only seems to include the cover art, but no liner notes.  Can you point me to the photos you mention?  Thanks!
  • @chicazul Oh, I think I found the post, in another thread:

    "@Gilles: Picked up my copy. Here's some photos from the booklet. Should fill in
    the lyrics that aren't already in the wiki if you didn't already have
    them and someone wants to transcribe:

    (They're out of order, but all there.)"

  • @chicazul @gilles

    If anyone is willing to post some nice liner note scans, that would be really great.  I wonder why this was not included in the downloads this week?
  • Looking at the track listing for Marian Call's new album, I'm reminded that I have actually listened to certain albums in order more recently than the cassette tape days. I used to be woken up by a CD alarm clock, and if I'd had Something Fierce in there, I'd certainly be glad that Good Morning Moon were the first track. Even if I'd end up hating the song for waking me up (Well, I could always alternate, since one of my favourite songs of hers is the first track on the other CD.)

    End of buzz marketing for Marian Call piggy-backing on Artificial Heart excitement. I did suggest she release it while JoCo's servers were down and we all wanted to buy something, but I guess it wasn't quite ready.
  • edited September 2011
    So, who'd like to throw ideas around as to what could be in the box from "Dissolve"? = D

    I'm actually really interested to know your guys take on this is.

    Personally I think it could be some kinda gas that makes you obey the last person you saw. Only saying this because of how the tables are turned at the end of the song. It's quite obviously something that screws with you in some way "and it used me. and I liked it"

  • Went with Level 4 of course, I just couldn't pass up so much awesome :D  While I love all the songs, The World Belongs to You, Glasses, and Today With Your Wife are probably my favorites.  Not sure what I think about Fraud yet, but everything is amazing. 
  • edited September 2011
    I hadn't really thought too hard about it; I really like a lot of the lines in that song but I hadn't put them all together and wondered what they were about yet. I sort of vaguely thought it could be something which brings up a bittersweet memory, or some kind of revelation about her which puts their relationship/breakup in a whole new perspective. Evidence that she's a spy with a secret identity, and/or his nemesis? A pregnancy or paternity test? I figured he left something different in the box for her (or for 'you'? I guess that's someone different from the 'she' in the beginning) which twists the situation yet again; maybe he's not who she thought he was either.

    Far too late you see the one inside the box is you…

    I guess the too-obvious-to-be-obvious answer would be: A very powerful solvent.

    ETA: I haven't read all of the Lord of the Rings so I'm not sure if this works, but, something precious and rare that you kind of want but it kind of screws you if you're not careful? Could it be the ring?
  • edited September 2011
    haha it could very easily be the LOTR ring! I like the idea that it's something that changes the way he looks at his relationship like, as you said, a pregnancy test.

    Evidence she's a spy with a secret identity now that I like the idea of! Although it doesn't quite fit with the "and it used me" thing = /

    I was wondering when the references to something that has a ruined eye would be thrown in = P
  • The "and it used me" line isn't on the album version. That entire verse has been changed to

    It was mine now, something secret
    Something precious and rare
    And then it changed me, and I liked it
    Now I wish it wasn't there

    I like the idea of it being the one ring. I had just been thinking of the box as some nameless monstrosity, which also suits the ring...
  • edited September 2011
    ah you are right. that's my bad.

    The more I look at the lyrics the more I can't think of what it could be  = /
  • @kate - Yes, that's the post I was thinking of. Sorry, I didn't realize it was in a different thread! As far as I can tell the lyrics have all been transcribed into the wiki, but as of now the album credits have only been treated to my incomplete transcription (I knew I should have brought the CD case on this trip!)

    I feel a little iffy about freely sharing good quality scans of the whole package if it wasn't included in the digital download (on the assumption that liner notes/art are one of the bonuses implicit in buying a hard copy) but I understand the desire to see it. I have a scanner at home if no one gets to it before then.
  • I made a video for Sucker Punch. You can see it in this thread. Enjoy!
  • @chicazul Thanks for the help!  The hesitation to share scans is understood. (For the record, my purchase includes a hard copy, but presumably it won't arrive for some time.) 

    I sent an e-mail asking about the liner notes, but have not yet received a reply.  We shall see. :)
  •  @Gina: Yes, you will be able to get shirts of varying sizes, though it isn't set up that way yet.

    Also, the limited edition USB stick will have the karaoke tracks, and JoCo thinks Artificial Heart karaoke tracks would be a good idea.
  • For those who're not too happy about Rocking Alone At Home, here's a decent acoustic mp3 for y'all. Ripped from the Nerdist podcast by... someone whose name I again fail to remember. Was it @Angelastic? I don't know. Memory is a privilege I'm rarely afforded.
  • According to this thread, it was @Colleenky who ripped it. :) 

    I like the album version of Alone At Home less than the slower version, but I still like that it's there, so we have two different versions of the song. The album one is good for coding frenetically to, while the acoustic one is better for general-purpose listening.
  • edited September 2011
    I stand on the faster/rock side of Alone At Home, so neener!

    Huh, also noticed a call out for "Tom" in "The Stache". Maybe it's Tom from " Re: Your Brains"? Is the singer "Bob"?
  • Silly T-shirt idea I just thought of:

  • @MJPM I heard it as "I think my brother Tom went here" for the longest time, but the wiki says it's " I think about a time when here", as in, "I think about a time when we'd be so cool".

    Which is a bit disappointing. I mean, imagine if it'd been Tom Cruise?

    @Angelastic A darn good idea. I had like an image in my head of the usual "I heart whatever", except with "artificial" written on a piece of paper and duct-taped on top of it. Which is less cool than your idea :)
  • @skyen The official album insert has it as "Tom", so the wiki needs a change.
  • I've thought for a long time now that the Tom in the song is Tom Selleck and/or Thomas Magnum, given the subject of the song.
  • @psychoBman That's good, I hadn't thought of that!
  • edited September 2011
    @skyen I was originally thinking of something like that (I didn't think of the duct tape, just 'I [artificial] heart whatever') and then I was thinking of just drawing a heart with gears and stuff in it, although I'm not particularly good at drawing. Then I thought, 'Hey, I could use the picture of an artificial heart from the album cover!' and I looked at the album cover and realised there was a logo I could use much more easily than the picture.

    ETA: Actually, I think it started from wondering what the emoticon for an artificial heart would be.
  • *Rises from grave due to excitement*

    Just saw that it was out earlier today. AWESOME way to turn my week from meh/shitty to flipping awesome.

    Anywho, I'm almost finished with my 4th full listening. My opinions of Sticking it to Myself, Nemeses, Today With Your Wife, Now I Am an Arsonist, Dissolve and The Stache didn't change from the live versions (5x AWESOME and 1x meh, not impressed. Respectively). Most of the others I hadn't listened to enough to really develop an opinion of them before. The exception being Alone at Home. I never cared for the slow version. I love the faster version. Can't really say why. I think that the faster version makes me feel (Especially in the 2nd verse) that this guy is a bit psychotic, and at some point, after all of this time of doing all this shit for his wife that he doesn't want to do, he's going to snap and kill his wife. It's definitely not typical for JoCo, but I like it.

    Really, I don't think there's a track on here that I dislike (I'm still not that impressed with The Stache, but it's still okay). Even Je Suis Rick Springfield. I don't speak any French, but it's still entertaining to me.

    Also, there as a conversation earlier about the track order. I normally don't care, but there was one example... I think it was Sucker Punch into Glasses. Listening to it in order, I've almost always thought that the beginning of Glasses was part of Sucker Punch. Not sure why, because they really don't sound that similar, but still.

    Anyway, it's probably about time for me to crawl back into my grave.
  • edited September 2011
    I had originally thought of the Artificial Heart cover in terms of something steampunk-ish, with knobs and dials and levers and, er, steam.
    Something along the lines of this, albeit drawn in somewhat less than 10 minutes, obviously. Lots of corrugated metal and rivets and stuff. Like a sort of Victorian Vascular Billboard (the name of my wizard-rock band)

  • Well, now I've found the cover art for Artificial Artificial Heart on my iTunes coverflow!
  • @angelastic @kate Thanks for the info. I've ordered and emailed Scarface my shirt preferences, who had answered my original email, and he says he made the change in the database. So that's the way to go for different T-shirts in one order!
  • Okay, now I have the album and am listening. Yay! Today with your wife - has anyone mentioned how much it sounds like a Ben Folds song? Even the way he sings it... I could be talking out my ass again, I'm not that much of a Folds fan/listener, but that's how it's striking me. 

    The pause in The Stache sounds right to me - not jarring at all. It's in the right place. It's like holding your breath at an exciting moment, and then falling forward into it...

    In Now...Arsonist, the doubling of JoCo's voice sounds very weird to me - the two tracks are too close maybe, and it sounds kind of buzzy and grating. 

    I haven't listened enough to form likes or dislikes of the songs themselves yet.
  • @Gina - good to know, I'd tweeted JoCo on the subject but that was foolish given he was at Dragon*Con and all. I will email Scarface and sort it out.

    Thoughts on the album:

    I adore Sticking It To Myself. Including the ridiculous horns. Joyous joyness of bleak despair at one's own failure. Yes.
    Something I noticed: the percussion in Artificial Heart actually sounds like an Artificial Heart. I regard this particular touch as GENIUS.
    The baseline (which becomes a top line) in the chorus of Today with Your Wife kills me *every time*.
    Is Glasses the new love song to his wife? I think it's the loveliest song on the album, anyway.
    Je Suis Rick Springfield is hilarious. It sounds exactly like Rick Springfield is sat in a bar in France desperately trying to convince the listener of his extraordinary fame. Love it.
    I'm glad it's not just me that had been thinking Now I Am An Arsonist sounded Colombia-ish. But I do also agree with @Gina on the slightly weird sound quality when JoCo's in octaves... perhaps I will adjust though :-s

    As a listen-in-order kinda gal, I keep expecting the songs to pop up in Artificial Artificial Heart order. Which possibly means I listened to it too much. On the plus side, my brain seems to think this order is much better.

    In summary, I think it's kind of utterly brilliant. And I keep pondering how he's going to do the tracks live on JCCC2 :-)
  • Don't really know what to say about the album yet. I would say it's not as "JoCo" as his previous work, lyrics-wise it's more mainstream, less crazy/weird/nerdy, and music-wise it's more TMBG-influenced. "Now I Am An Arsonist" sounds like The Decemberists to me. I prefer the live acoustic version of "Alone At Home" to the album version.
  • If Now I Am An Arsonist sounds like The Decemberists, then I'm going to have to check out The Decemberists.

    Here is a quick chain of thoughts I just had while listening to Len's Geek A Week interview with Bill Amend (I only recently realised there was a podcast of it):

    Comic syndication->webcomics->xkcd->Creative Commons->Somebody should make an animated video for Nemeses featuring Black Hat Guy and White Hat Guy! ... ... Oops, there's no white hat guy... I meant, somebody should make an animated video for Nemeses featuring Black Hat Guy and Hat Girl!

    Episode 1

    Episode 2

    Episode 3

    Episode 4

    Episode 5

    While I was looking for those, I figured out how to make people who have listened to the live version of The Stache too many times stumble.

    Also, at least the first time it's said, before it becomes all metaphorical and to do with the ring destroying the wearer somehow, the 'watch me dissolve' could mean, 'watch me turn invisible due to the powers of the ring'

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