I’m So Post Modern Lyric Writing Masterclass Page 2
Welcome to the I’m So Post Modern lyric writing master class. Firstly, I will conduct a short lecture on the comedic paradigms within the song. Then, I encourage you to have a go at your own lyrics. Feel free to comment on others as well. Keep it constructive and nice.
I’m So Post Modern contains four different kinds of line, these are identified as:
Standardina: e.g. “I’m so post modern I just don’t talk anymore, I wear different coloured t-shirts, according to my mood.’
The ‘Standardina’ is the most common style of line found in the song. It’s main attribute is the ‘trihumorous’ structure, being, that (after the ‘I’m So Post Modern’ intro) it sticks to a rhythm of three. It is a common belief in comedy circles, that a joke is best serviced when it’s repetition amounts to three. This also serves the rhythm of the song, which is divided into three chords played evenly, followed by two short bursts on a fourth chord, acting as a punctuation.
To use another example. This would be a bad example of a ‘Standardina’
“I’m so post modern I bought a sky writing bi-plane and crashed accidentally.”
If you think about the rhythm of the song, you’ll realise that this line is ‘duohumorous’ and contains only two comedic rhythms. It also lacks a classic ‘punchline.’ As well as obeying the comedic rhythm structures, ‘trihumorous’ lines also make it much easier to execute the classic ‘set-up, twist, and punch-line thematics that are at the heart of most humorous material.
E.g. “I’m so post modern I bought a sky writing bi-plane and crashed accidentally, while writing my suicide note.”
This is once again a ‘trihumorous standardina.’ and allows for the set-up of a common entity ie ‘sky writing bi-plane’ a dramatic twist, ie ‘crashed accidentally and punchline ‘while writing my suicide note.’
The next style of line is ‘Bookendian.’ These are usually quite uncommon, and only one occurs in the original song.
E.g. ‘I’m so post modern I wrote a letter to the council…I think it was M.’
‘Bookendian’ lines differ from Standardina’s in that they are ‘duohumorous,’ and only contain a basic set-up and punchline, but no twist. In this case, the punchline must act as the twist as well. The middle section makes use of the comedic tool of ‘pause’ to accentuate the effect of the punchline.
E.g. ‘I’m so post modern I’ve got the weirdest of headaches…it’s in my foot.’
The next example is ‘Multivex’ lines. These lines are ‘Standardina’ in structure, but manage to fit in multiple comedic juxtapositions within each subsection. Only one ‘Multivex’ line occurs in the original.
E.g. ‘I’m so post modern I give live mice to buskers, dirty tea towels to the mormons and pavlova to crabs.’
‘Multivex’ lines allows each subsection to exist as its own little joke within the line by putting two entities together that don’t normally go together.
E.g. I’m so post modern that I laminate pancakes, stir-fry ice vovos and spread cruskit propaganda.
The final example is ‘Super-syntax’ lines. These are also ‘Standardina’ in structure, but are different in that they require the performer to say a number of words very quickly to try and fit the line into the timing of the song. The best example of a ‘Super-syntax’ in the original is:
E.g. ‘I’m so post modern that I brought every book written in 1963 as a reading challenge and clogged up a waterslide.’
If said at the normal speeds of the song, the singer would not quite get the entire line out. In the end, the action of saying the words quickly utilises the comedic tool of exaggeration and absurdity.
So, now a quick snap shot at the four styles of I’m So Post Modern lines we have just learned:
STANDARDINA – The most common form of line in the song, obeying the ‘trihumorous’ structure.
BOOKENDIAN – The ‘duohumorous’ line with a pause in the middle.
MULTIVEX – A ‘Standardina’ line that juxtaposes two entities within each section.
SUPER-SYNTAX – A ‘Standardina’ which requires you to say the words quickly to fit them in.
That’s structure, let’s have a quick look at theme:
The most common pitfall when writing lyrics is to assume that you can take any three random things, put them together, and expect it to be funny. This is not always the case.
e.g. I’m so post modern that I ran for parliament, promising tax cuts for zebras and then it rained beer.
There’s no real connection between the three elements. Look for unexpected twists, and exaggeration.
e.g. I’m so post modern I’ve got a tattoo of my pin number
This is already and unusual and engaging idea.
This takes it one step further
On my neighbours guide dog.
This takes it to its limit and provides a twist and punch line. It also helps that it is a joke you can actually visualise easily.
Here’s a couple of examples of some of the best recent entries from participants:
Alex C – ” I’m so post modern that I killed both of my parents, then threw myself on the mercy of the court, for being an orphan!”
Phil – “I’m so post-modern, it’s the year 3000, i am an apricot, and i know karate.”
Lexxie – “I’m so postmodern that I throw mars bars at martians, mini bars at minis and monkey bars at monkeys.”
Jeremy – “I’m so post modern that I outsource everything, my food and clothes, my government, my outsourcing.”
Now it’s time to try and write your own I’m So Post Modern lyrics!
Release the pantomime cows of creativity!