Kavalier Calm's Crowdsource Inspiration

I'm KC, The People's Bard. I write songs and poems inspired by the people I meet on the internet. Ask, and I’ll write something for you.
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  • I wrote this song about struggling with an eating disorder—and being strong enough to overcome—for Selena at the awesome blog EDrecoveryprobs. You can read the full story behind the songwriting process and what I’ve learned about how to best support people with EDs here. Stream or download this song for free here: Drill Sergeant by Kavalier Calm. And best of luck to everyone fighting their own inner drill sergeant. Much love. — Kavalier Calm

    Louis asked me to write a song about an average Joe-type who fights for justice and falls for a woman he didn’t expect. So I created a small-time vigilante named Justice, who meets a cat burglar, Kat, who steals to help support orphans in her care. As an idealist, like Justice, I know the seeds of love are first planted by meeting someone with a good heart and wisdom. I’m thinking this might be the first song of many about these characters and their adventures and budding romance. If any visual artists would like to partner with me to bring these two to life, just let me know. To read the lyrics, click “Read More” below. To download for free, click here. Enjoy, fellow crime-fighters and justice-seekers. — Kavalier Calm

    Read More

    Listen, lazy.
    Let me laze with you.
    Long afternoons, long nights.
    Let your lonely hours go.
    Let love flow like water
    on lips, on legs,
    on lazy ways.
    Let me clean you,
    cover you,
    one lazy kiss at a time,
    like you, lazy,
    are mine.

    — an alliteration experiment from Kavalier Calm

    I wrote this love song in response to this quote. Free downloads here. Much, much love. — Kavalier

         Nothing Left To Chase

    Every morning you have
    two choices:
    sleep with your dreams
    or wake and chase them.
    But now that you sleep in my bed,
    the choices are the same.
    You, darling, were my dream.
    I have nothing left to chase.

    They say somewhere over the rainbow
    is a pot of gold.
    But who needs gold
    when you have a rainbow?
    Now that you sleep in my bed,
    I can finally see.
    Why would I go hunt for more?
    I have all that I need.

    Now that you sleep in my bed,
    there’s no decisions left to make.
    Any time I can have with you
    I should clearly take.
    VERSE 1

    Im curious about how or why you started doing this, and even more, why tumblr? how you found tumblr and why you use it? idk :P

    I started CI because I love songwriting but need motivation to consistently work at it. Why on Tumblr, though? My kid sister showed me Tumblr one day, and I was instantly intrigued by the idea of micro-blogging. I decided it would be fun to focus a blog on songwriting because I noticed the Tumblrverse was very 2D (all photos and text), and it would be original to bring music to it. I also appreciated the Ask/Answer and messaging features. There’s a natural, collaborative community on Tumblr that makes it a good fit for CI. When I started the blog, I used to just post open asks about song concepts, and I relied on input from you lovely strangers to shape the songwriting process. In general not enough people responded, though, so I started just browsing through blogs until I was inspired. And then I’d surprise people with a song for them. Who doesn’t like surprises? By total accident, I dedicated a song to someone on Tumblr’s staff, and in response I was given the opportunity to spotlight my blog under /musicians. It was an honor, and I like to think I haven’t wasted it. I’m still eagerly bringing audio to Tumblr’s 2D environment (even if Tumblr doesn’t make audio posts very friendly for the user or consumer). Some days I don’t know if it is the best medium for my project, but I’m not sure where else I’d go. Plus, I like everyone here too much! — KC

    Tonight’s love song is based on some lovely words sent to me by Gemma at gemz16 and input from the bloggers at kcritchlow and sixfeetunderdreamin. At first, I thought I had to know what the girl in question had done wrong to write a song about her pain. But then I realized that sometimes we never find out what haunts the people we love. This song is about about being in that situation and trying to convince the person that you care about them. I devote this song to my contributors gemz16, kcritchlow, and sixfeetunderdreamin. I also devote this to Rebecca at brunettee-swag, who asked for a song like Bieber’s “Be Alright”. Well, I’m no Bieber, but this, in a way, is a song about how everything will be alright. Enjoy, friends. — K.C.

         Forget Your Pain

    I know a girl who sits alone as the rain pours in her mind.
    Her broken face is quite a picture, and I can’t help but wish she was mine.

    And she’s always holding back tears ‘cause of what she’s done,
    and every time she starts to run, I beg:
    Darlin’, won’t you forget your pain?

    She won’t talk about old love; I know she’s lost something beautiful.
    And I know she’s burnt down bridges, and I want to help her burn down her whole past.

    Darlin’, won’t you forget your pain?
    I don’t care who you were, just who you are.
    Darlin’, won’t you forget your pain?
    I’ll love you and your scars.

    For this song, I used suggestions from three bloggers: pale-alice-bones sent me the beautiful, poetic line “a rose, a petal fallen from grace, to which the moonlight sighs and so she suffers”, which I slightly tweaked for the intro. The lyrics are also based on the language in her blog description and a message she sent to me stating she likes poetry and unusual combinations. This is the most subtle song I’ve written topically…can you guess what it’s about? I also used smashbrotherhood's suggestion “loop into the madness” and craftily slipped in/denied adoram's suggestion that I write a song about a medicine cabinet. I like the way it turned out for just an hour of work and a one-take recording. Thanks to everyone who played along. All the suggestions were great, and when I have more time, I may use the others. Enjoy, friends! — K.C.

         She Suffers

    I know a girl, a rose, a petal fallen from grace.
    And the moonlight sighs as she suffers fate.

    Handsome gentlemen make her weak.
    She thinks all their flowers pretty.
    And when she is mine, I try to find
    her innocence and her crime
    because she suffers,
    because she suffers fate.

    And all the shades of gray, and all the talk of right and wrong,
    help me draw the fault line between the world and us.
    And we keep on spinning, loop into the madness,
    but there’s no cure in the medicine cabinet

    Two hours ago, I asked if any artists wanted to collaborate, and J at phartography answered:

    This sounds like fun, you should go to my soundcloud and just pick something. http://soundcloud.com/ihasded

    I dug his work, and got excited about the challenge of playing with dubstep/electronic/beats because I’m all about two-track, acoustic minimalism. We chatted, and he directed me to his song Junkpilot, in which he imagined someone traveling to space in a jerry-rigged ship that regularly malfunctions. After listening a few times, I knew I couldn’t sing with it, but I felt I could give it some poetry. Something about the adventure in J’s sound reminded me of my grandfather, and I hit record and just started talking. Somehow these words flowed out of me, improv, in one take. And it felt so right, like magic. Not only did the words come easy, but the timing was spot on (the lyrical topics fit the instrumental moment). Enjoy this, friends. And, please, check out J’s amazing work and blog. Support him like you support me. And J, thanks for letting me play with your sound. — K.C.


    Day 7.
    Outer space.
    Alone. And it’s wonderful.
    I remembered my grandfather today.
    He was a cowboy.
    And when I was a boy, I wanted to be just like him.
    I suppose being an astronaut is the next best thing.

    When I built this in the junk yard,
    I should have guessed that some things would break.
    I should have guessed that I would break.
    But there’s nothing a good kick can’t fix.
    Just like when grandfather used to hit the top of the T.V.
    to make the fuzz go away.
    Cowboy tricks work in space, too.

    Day 3156.
    I’m alone, and it’s wonderful.
    My ship, my vessel, my horse
    carries onward.
    No man has ever had a pony like this before.
    The universe is my oyster,
    and I’m greedy for its pearls.
    Grandfather would be proud
    that someone else lived the cowboy dream
    in an age when cowboys aren’t needed.

    Here’s song #2 in response to the requests I received last week in this post. It’s a song about going back to a high school reunion and trying to reconnect with an old flame. Reunions sound dreadful to me, but it made a good song topic. I stretched to fit in these disparate requests, but lyrical stretching in some ways makes for more believable stories. Real life is odd, after all. I devote this song to these bloggers for their great requests (which I likely answered in an unexpected way): im-a-real-hipster answered: “Write about graduating from middle school or high school, and how you’ll keep those people in your heart, but you know you have to move on”; listen91 answered: “A Green Hotel Room” (which made me think of Loudon Wainwright III’s Motel Blues); purplebloodedmajesty answered: “ MOTHMAN”; and smashbrotherhood answered: “Pirates and Lasers”. Some listeners have requested that I put up more videos of my playing, so if you want, you can watch me perform this song on YouTube here. Thanks for listening, friends, and please keep putting in requests. — Kavalier Calm

         Green Hotel Room

    When the invitation came I cringed,
    but I sent the RSVP “Yes”
    in hopes that I’d see you again.
    When they sat us down by last name,
    I knew you’d be right beside me,
    as you’d been from kindergarten to 12th grade.
    You said, “How’ve you been?”
    And I held back a grin;
    I was glad to have you in my sights again.
    We ignored the Class President’s speech,
    held our hands over our mouths
    to hide the laughing. And I knew I’d confess:
    I never fell out of love with you.

    Our old classmates addressed us as a pair;
    they remembered those cartoons we drew
    about The Mothman and Pirates and Lasers.
    They remembered we were class clowns,
    but they didn’t know that
    we got around when no one was looking.
    They didn’t know
    that my favorite thing to draw
    was you without your clothes on.
    You weren’t Best Smile, and I wasn’t Best Eyes;
    you weren’t Most Likely To Succeed,
    and neither was I. But I confess:
    I never fell out of love with you.

    "So listen
    I’ve got this green hotel room,
    and I’d like to remember you.
    Yeah, wait ‘til you see this place.
    I know you’ll think it’s funny.
    The green wall paper is right out of the 70s.
    Oh, you have a date.
    I thought you came alone.
    Oh, you have a husband, and you have two kids.
    Well, I was just kidding.
    Tricked you again just like old times.
    Yeah, the wall paper in my hotel room ain’t even green.”
    And I confess to nothing.

    Elijah Cash wrote a song for the good people at our favorite bar in Washington, DC: The Getaway. If you’re ever in DC, you should make a trip. Enjoy, listeners! — Kavalier

         The Getaway

    I know a place in Columbia Heights
    where everyone goes to get high.
    They pour your drinks nice and tall,
    so you can forget it all.

    At The Getaway, that’s just what we do.
    Come on, my friends, I want to get away with you.

    Some get away from their desk jobs;
    they’re tired of wearing a suit.
    They slave away all day
    for The Man in their cubes.
    Some get away from the bad news
    up on The Hill:
    Politics and back stabbings,
    white-collar cheap thrills.

    Some get away from the loneliness
    filling up their mind.
    Once they have a drink,
    everything feels just fine.
    Well the gods of booze and a few good men
    built us this place,
    so we escape artists
    can get away.

    This song answers a brilliant request from  kevinapocalypse at the great gaming blog theredherb. He suggested that I write a song for the true hero of early Resident Evil games: The Save Room. These rare rooms had a typewriter for saving and an inventory box for swapping items. After dealing with the undead chaos, these rooms felt like “sanctuaries” to him. He also noted the beautiful music in these rooms, which I listened to much this week and like to think affected my writing (I had about a dozen creepier riffs that didn’t make the cut for this). So, I always push a request’s envelope, right? I agree with him that these places are sanctuaries—as the room with a save point is in many games. But there is another side to the coin. Programmers don’t give us a save point to congratulate us for our hard work; it’s usually a sign that something very bad is about to happen. Thus, save rooms are sanctuaries, but they are also just the calm before the storm. I dedicate this song to theredherb and also to these rad RE blogs I’ve been following for some time: hellyesesidentevilseries, residentevil-fanart, girls-kill-zombies-deader, resievilfan, and f***yeahresidentevil. Free downloads of this track are available here. Enjoy RE fans and fellow-gamers! — Kavalier Calm

         The Calm Before The Storm

    Finally. A place to rest.
    You’ve pumped bullets into so many zombie heads
    you only have half a clip left
    and HP in the single-digits.
    The music here is soft,
    and you have the time to collect your thoughts,
    organize your items,
    and plan for what’s next.

    But don’t let your guard down.
    This safe place is not a prize
    for all those hard fights;
    it’s the calm before the storm.

    What do you think this ammo’s for?
    Why did the programmers let you save your state?
    Because a boss is just around the bend,
    ready to make you RESET.
    Did you think it would get easier?
    You’ve won a battle not the war.
    The undead are plotting their offensive
    right outside that door.

    So you better save, maybe in two slots.
    Grab all the ammunition you got.
    Leave that unused weapon behind,
    so you can carry all the herbs you find.
    'Cause it's coming, the final push;
    wave your calm goodbye.
    You won’t feel safe again,
    'til those final credits roll by.

    Elijah Cash just wrote this song because he’s playing at a bar tomorrow night and wants to sing something situationally appropriate. We devote this post to some cool blogs we just found that recently posted about #whiskey: novembersilence, 90s1hitwonder, imgur, arcticsounds, pulpfcknfiction, and therewillbebourbon. Enjoy listeners! Oh, and the first round’s on us. — K.C.

         Whiskey River

    When the week’s been long, and you just want to let go.
    There’s a drink that will make you feel right at home.

    Won’t you come and take a swim with me my friend?
    In whiskey river.

    If you’ve never been to a watering hole,
    I can teach you how to hold your own.
    The bite of fire water can make a man drown,
    but he’ll be smiling the whole way down.

    You’ve got Jack, and you’ve got Jim, and you’ve got John Jameson.
    Serve it warm or on the rocks, I’ll take it any way you got.
    We’re all just one shot glass away
    from diving head first into whiskey haze.

    An unavoidable side-effect of some of my work getting love is it also gets hate. I’m fine with criticism, mainly because I’m my biggest critic. I’m not very fond of sweeping and unexplained rude comments about my craft, though. And I admit I almost let a troll win recently; for a millisecond I doubted what I’m doing with CI, thought about throwing in the towel. But then I remembered the enormous support I’ve had from listeners so far. I felt guilty about my self-doubt and realized I had to combat the emotion and what caused it. So, I wrote a song for trolling trolls. Whenever someone trolls on my work, I’m going to share this YouTube link of me playing this song. I welcome you to do the same to the trolls in your life. This could be like rickrolling or trolololing for the good guys. I should clarify that I’m not opposed to all trolling; in fact, I enjoy and participate in the craft of witty, logic-based trolling. I’m against hate-based trolling, the kind that needlessly hurts feelings and adds ammunition to the people and companies trying to rob our right to anonymity on the internet. I dedicate this song to these Tumblr blogs with great trolling content: f***yeahtrollface, trollfacecomic, trollhatesyou, trolldadcomic, trollthisway, trollney, and foreveralonecomic. Downloads of this track are available here and on YouTube here. I hope others enjoy this and find it to be a useful counter-attack. — Kavalier Calm


    Troll, I bet you were bullied in grade school:
    the kids laughed at your macaroni art.
    And now in the name of karma,
    you use the internet to spread your hurt.
    Well, two wrongs don’t make a right,
    and you hurt our right to anonymity.

    I bet you’re pushed around at work
    all day by some a-hole boss,
    and rather than stand up to him,
    you power trip on message boards.
    Your troll mother should have taught you:
    if you have nothing nice to say, shut up.

    Troll, you don’t like my song?
    Well, it wasn’t written for you.
    Shove that comment somewhere dark
    and find something better to do.

    And I know you’ve never been in love
    ‘cause you don’t know how to forgive flaws.
    You must get tired of being right all the time,
    as tired as everyone is of you.
    Well, haters gonna hate,
    and haters gonna be lonely.

    And troll, don’t give up hope; we can still be friends
    if you learn to be nice and see the bright side of things.
    But if you insist to be glass half-empty, cold, cruel, and rude,
    then I only have one thing to say to you.

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