SubscribeStar Saturday: Behind the Songs: By the Light of the Laptop Screen

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Rest in Peace to Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf, who passed away Friday at the age of 74.  I’ll be writing a full obituary about Loaf next week, but I wanted to take a moment to remember his legacy here.  Few musicians have had a greater impact on my vocal and composition than Meat Loaf and his frequent collaborator, songwriter Jim Steinman.  In a series about songwriting, it seemed fitting to acknowledge his influence.  Indeed, today’s song, “By the Light of the Laptop Screen,” owes much to the rock ‘n’ roll-meets-Broadway style of Loaf/Steinman.

Today marks the third installment of the six-part Behind the Songs miniseries for SubscribeStar Saturday.  In this series, I’m going to reveal the stories behind each of the six songs on my debut EP, Contest Winner EP.  I’ll go track-by-track, in order, detailing the inspirations behind these songs.

This week’s tune, “By the Light of the Laptop Screen,” is something of a companion to “Hipster Girl Next Door.”  The two songs are part of what I call my “two-part coffee shop trilogy” (I wrote another song, “Sweet Little Ukulele Player,” that was something of a third part, but I seldom play it, and I don’t think it rises to the level of the other two tunes).

Like “Hipster Girl Next Door” and “Greek Fair,” “By the Light of the Laptop Screen” has becoming something of a fan favorite.  A graduating senior used it (to my delight and, given the lyrics, my chagrin) to accompany his graduation slideshow—while receiving his high school diploma!

There’s also been rich speculation about who this song is about.  Today, I reveal all.

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4 thoughts on “SubscribeStar Saturday: Behind the Songs: By the Light of the Laptop Screen

  1. If your music reflects your doodles, then I’d pose that you’re a jazz man. A walking bass accompanied by chaotic brass and piano. Am I wrong? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yep, I am a jazz guy. Most of my songwriting is pop-rock oriented, but I love jazz, and have played in a few jazz bands. I took a semester of Jazz Theory in college, and it really opened my eyes to new musical possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like jazz when it’s done well. You can be chaotic but with a sense that you know where you’re going. Some jazz is unlistenable, especially when you get a musician in the band who decides to overstretch. One of our CW group (the pub meets) is a big jazz fan and goes to the clubs in his area. I haven’t seen jazz live since my university days.

        I get the impression (though I could be wrong) that you’re an all rounder with musical instruments. I think you play piano and guitar – what else do you play?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I play saxophone, piano, bass, and rhythm guitar. I can play super basic drums, but I would never pretend to be a drummer, haha! I picked up guitar mainly because parents kept hiring me to teach their kids guitar lessons—I learned by doing!

        Yeah, there are so many styles of jazz, and some really do strain credulity, much like atonal modern classical music.

        Liked by 1 person

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