Smart Music for Smart People

Writer/song writer Jonathan Coulton took some time off of his book tour with John Hodgman to play some tunes at a conference for science writers I attended this weekend in Baltimore.

All things considered, good music is hard to find (how many bands form for every one that gets a music contract?), and so is funny music. How great is it when you get to hear songs that are both good and funny? Coulton is one of the rare musicians who can weave sophisticated, sexy, and funny lyrics into a tune you’d actually want to play just because it sounds good. (Are you listening Weird Al?)

His selection of tunes seemed tailored to appeal to the sort of people who go into science writing, primarily evoking images of supervillains, nerds and sysadmins railing against the iniquities of a world where their unique talents and delicate sensitivities are perpetually trampled by the unenlightened masses.

My favorite line of the night was from Skullcrusher Mountain, a ballad that gives listeners a glimpse of a supervillian in love.

Isn’t it enough to known that I ruined a pony,
Making a gift for you?

You can listen to his music for free on his website. I haven’t had a chance to listen to much besides the things he played for us, but I highly recommend Skullcrusher Mountain, Code Monkey, and The Future Soon.

Download the songs for keeps for a dollar a pop. Although the smiley faces next to some songs seem to indicate that he’s giving those away for free.

My recommendation is download Skullcrusher Mountain while it’s free. If you like it, buy a song or two to keep this guy in business.

And if you haven’t clicked on the YouTube video above, you should take a moment to check it out. You’ll develop a whole new respect for zombies.

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