iTom: Free Music From Tom Smith

Music in every style -- except dull. Tom Smith, the World's Fastest Filker and the prototypical geek folk-rocker, releases new music for free download on a regular basis. (It was a song a week for almost a year.) You can subscribe to the RSS feed, purchase a better-quality MP3 of the song, or purchase three months' worth as a downloadable album.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Album! iTom 1.0: And So It Begins

Funny thing about doing a song a week -- after a few months, you've got enough for an album.

iTom 1.0: And So It Begins is now available for purchase! It's got the first 13 iTom songs, in high-quality 192-Kbps MP3 format, along with all the lyrics and a spiffy HTML interface for your convenience.

I want to thank all of you for your interest in this project, and I hope you're having as much fun listening to the songs as I am writing 'em, and next week we'll do some more. :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

013: The Here and Now

There has been a lot of noise the past several years about religion, on many different fronts. What it seems to boil down to is, those who believe very devoutly can't abide the thought of the rest of the world not sharing their faith, or at least being subject to its rules, and those who do not believe can't abide the thought of having what they consider to be a superstition forced upon them.

I am in the latter camp. I was raised Lutheran, then Methodist (my lame joke about it is that I worship ways to kill Superman)... but I was a reader and a science-lover, and my Sunday School teacher could never explain why dinosaurs weren't in the Bible. A nine-year-old kid invoking carbon-14 dating really threw her off.

As I've grown older, I've gone through various degrees of hostility towards organized religion. Right now, I'm actually in a fairly benign phase, as long as no one mentions attempts to curtail reproductive rights because Jesus Loves Babies. But, some weeks ago, this song hit. Can't remember what particular news item set me off, probably something again about attempts to legislate "intelligent design" into science classrooms. But, when I started writing it, I almost immediately discarded the idea of being... well, mean about it all. So this is my attempt to explain politely -- as in, to my mother -- how I feel about the rational world vs. the existence of God, and more importantly how you don't need God to be a good person.

Buy this song for 99¢ (192 Kbps) through PayPal
Make a donation
Subscribe to iTom
Hear more songs
The Here and Now
Words and Music © 2006 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License

Welcome, friends! Welcome once again to the
Olde-Time Down-Home Gospel Hour!
My friends, I am here to bring to you the GOOD NEWS!
That this is a beautiful and dangerous and mysterious world we live in!
That there's a lot we don't know!
A lot we may NEVER know!
There may be a heaven!
There may be a hell!
There may be a devil!
There may be a GOD!
But there ain't no PROOF.

No hard-core science!
No Road Map of the Stars to the Pearly Gates!
No interview with Gabriel in Hot Archangels Monthly!
We've got to take it all on faith!
And that's a little difficult for some of us!
You hear about free will!
You hear about making your own choice!
And you'd like just a little bit o' proof.
And at some point, you realize there may not be no proof a-comin'.

And at that point, you realize
There may NOT be a heaven!
There may NOT be a hell!
There may NOT be a Devil!
There may NOT BE A GOD!
And you say to yourself, well, what am I doin' here?
If there ain't a god, what am I doin' here?
What is my purpose in life?
And I am here to tell you that your purpose in life
Is EXACTLY THE SAME either way!
If there's a God, your purpose is to LIVE!
To help people!
To make the world a better place!
And if there's NOT a God...
Your purpose is to LIVE!
To help people!
To make the world a better place!

Now, I know that some of you out there want there to be a God
for a very different reason.
Because you feel alone.
Because without God, it's a big, bad, scary, random universe out there.
Let me tell you right now,
it's a big, bad, scary, random universe out there WITH God!
Bad stuff happens.
Good stuff happens.
Stuff happens!
If it doesn't happen, you're DEAD!

But here's the important part:
You are not alone.
You've got a family of SIX BILLION right here with you.
You think they don't know your troubles?
You think they don't know your heart?
They know yours as well as they know their own.
You think the world ain't a scary place for them?
It's a scary place for everybody!
But it's also a fantastically beautiful place!
And it's the only place we know for sure we've got.
So it is our DUTY, our PURPOSE IN LIFE, our REASON TO BE,
Lemme tell ya!

God made the world, so they say,
And he did it in only seven days,
But they can't tell you if those days were short... or... long,
And they think their God is threatened if the dates... are... wrong.

God made Adam, God made Eve,
Kicked 'em out of Eden 'cause they were deceived (hiss that snake),
They had children, one was good... one... scum,
Cain killed Abel, then got married -- where'd his wife... come... from?

There's all those little problems where the story doesn't jibe,
If God created all of us, why single out one tribe?
Why weren't there any dinosaurs on Noah's floating zoo?
Why tell us all these fairy tales when we've got stuff to do?

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
Things happen, it's only natural to ask how (ask... how)
But there's no reason to trust,
The world right here and now's enough for me.

God made Commandments, God made rules,
God said "to build a better life, these are the tools",
He said the first four... are to wor...ship... me,
If you don't, you will be tortured for

But what if this world is all there is,
What if, when you die, there ain't no final quiz,
No hell or heaven? Well, that's all right... with... me...
We'll make it heaven here on earth, just wait... and... see.

Why punish us forever for an arbitrary rule?
Why set us up for failure? Does God have to be so cruel?
Why give us all these instincts for committing mortal sins?
Why give us all these ways to lose before the game begins?

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
There may be nothing, al-Akhirah, or the Tao (eternal Tao)
But I've got present,
The world right here and now's enough for me.

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
And you know we're gonna make it somehow (some... how)
But I ain't countin' on,
The world right here and now's enough for me.

There may be God, and there may not
The world we're livin' in might just be all we've got
That ain't no problem, 'cause, whether spawned... or... made,
The only way to live is not to be... a...fraid.

We've got our minds, we've got our hearts,
We've got our souls and they're the most important parts,
We don't need threatenin' to tell what's right... from... wrong
Just mind your business, clean things up, and get a... long.

The world is filled with wonderment and beauty near and far,
And trying to understand it is just being who we are,
If there's a God, he told us that the world he made was ours,
We're almost done exploring here, the next stop is the stars.

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
And we're gonna reach the heavens somehow (some... how)
It's up to us to fulfill our des...ti...ny,
The world right here and now's enough for me (enough for me).

We've got the world (we've got the world), the here and now (the here and now),
And you know we're gonna make it somehow (some... how)
Find God within you -- the rest comes na...tura...lly,
The world right here and now's enough for me.
I say, the world right here and now's enough for me.
That's right, the world right here and now's enough for me.
Ohhhhh... yeahhhh!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

012: Coulrophobia

When I ran this one by her, Anne pointed out that the phrase "scary clowns" is redundant. She's right.

Happy Halloween.
Buy this song for 99¢ (192 Kbps) through PayPal
Make a donation
Subscribe to iTom
Hear more songs
Words and Music © 2006 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License

It's that time of year, for fun and for fear,
For dressing as ghosts and ghouls,
Kids go down the street, they yell "Trick or Treat",
And they follow these simple rules.

Don't take any candy that smells like cheap brandy,
Open manholes, don't crawl down,
But the thing to do first is beware of the worst --
Too late! Look out -- it's clowns.

Nobody knows where they came from,
Or how long or why they're in town,
No, all that we know is they're here, they won't go,
And they seem to be all around,
Scary clowns.

With whiteface, bulb noses, and cute squirt-gun roses
And clothing that Sears doesn't sell.
They remind us what's good about our childhood,
If we lived in Kabuki Hell.

Their fluorescent shaped hair makes Anime fans stare
And those big floppy shoes really fit
Whether feathered or furry, there's no need to worry --
Say, is that not Tim Curry from It?

They can pack thirty-five in a clown car,
So they've no trouble under your bed,
Ignore that noise 'cause it's not clowns in your closets,
Waiting for you to lay down your head,
Scary clowns.

Don't think of those painted-on teardrops --
Couldn't be they're unable to cry.
Don't think of the reasons they always wear gloves,
Don't think about what's in that pie.

Think of the ones who would blow up balloons,
In the shape of a dog or giraffe.
Yes, remember the fun, not those freakish buffoons,
And for God's sake don't think of that laugh....

It's that time of year, when the clowns are all near,
Rather closer, in fact, than I like,
Always there with a gag from a big trick-filled bag,
Always waiting and ready to strike.

Now, to tell you the truth, there's not one shred of proof
That they really mean anyone ill
So you shouldn't assume that they've got that push-broom
To clean up the mess from their kill.

They're jolly good fun entertainers,
They're prolly just clowning around,
But watch for that sly little gleam in their eye,
As you get on the merry-go-round,
No, you've nothing to fear when the circus is here,
At least till the sun goes down,
Scary clowns.
Scary clowns.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

011: Lars Needs Women

The basic idea was a punny punchline I thought of months ago. (If for some reason you don't get it, it's a play on the title of a famous bad movie, Mars Needs Women.) But what amazed me was how hard I ended up working on it. No kidding, I rewrote every verse but the first at least twice, and I went through six different endings before settling on this one. Lars got the girl, Lars didn't get the girl, Lars was relatively content but wating for a girl, Lars got a harem of nubile young dancers, Lars got a guy in drag (whom I even briefly considered making Rupert, but, as Alex Karras said, "Mongo straight"), Lars got more lousy puns (e.g., about backrubs -- "Lars kneads women"), Lars and the girl and the troll got into a threesome....

And I'm still not completely happy with it. So, for all I know, this may be rewritten and rerecorded.

Or I might do a sequel. Or maybe "The Lars Variations". Or release an extended version on DVD, with multiple endings like Clue.

All of which is to say: If you're looking for deeper meaning, it ain't there.

Buy this song for 99¢ (192 Kbps) through PayPal
Make a donation
Subscribe to iTom
Hear more songs
Lars Needs Women
Words and Music © 2006 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License

Lars strong, Lars free,
Lars brave -- Lars ME,
Lars big, Lars tough,
But that not enough.
Lars lonely, want girl,
Lars search whole wide world,
Want blonde, brunette,
Redhead -- Heck! Whole set.
Lars needs women.

When Lars young thing
Won war, Lars King
Lars think Lars win
But Lars' troubles begin
All day make law,
Balance budget, flap jaw
"Hem-Hem"s, "Tut-Tut"s,
It drive Lars NUTS,
Lars needs weekend.

One night, Lars sneak
Out gate, down creek
Look up at stars
Being king not Lars
So Lars leave throne,
Go off on Lars' own,
Crown jewels, took some --
Lars slow, not dumb.
Lars needs somethin'.
Might be women.

One day, Lars stroll,
See girl fight troll.
Troll huge, troll vile,
But girl just smile.
Strong arms, strong back,
Pull sword, took whack,
Troll down, girl hack,
Lars think, "Nice rack" --
Lars needs woman.

Lars say great strike!
Girl cute, Lars like,
Girl shy, girl coy,
Girl girl, Lars boy,
Lars get girl hitched,
Settle down, scratch itch,
Lars' heart girl tame --
Should learn girl's name,
Lars needs women,
Lars needs women,
Lars needs women!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

010: The Coin-Flip Universe

I'm pretty sure everyone plays the game of If Things Had Gone Differently. If I'd played Red instead of Black at the roulette wheel; if I'd had the chicken instead of the fish; if I'd zigged when I shoulda zagged. (I had a beaut this past spring, coming back from my Mom's place in Arizona: If I had gone north towards Denver before cutting across the Midwest, rather than going straight across to Oklahoma City, my van wouldn't have been nailed by a hit-and-run driver in Dalhart, TX. Therefore, I am one of the only people on the planet who can legitimately say, "I shoulda turned left at Albuquerque.")

This song has been a long time coming. I knew more or less what I wanted to do, but until you sit and think about the possibilities, you really don't register them... and, as in the song, once you do start to think about them, you can't do much else for awhile.
Buy this song for 99¢ (192 Kbps) through PayPal
Make a donation
Subscribe to iTom
Hear more songs
The Coin-Flip Universe
Words and Music © 2006 by Tom Smith
Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License

Heads I win, tails you lose
Let's flip a coin and we'll let fate choose
This one here, that one there
Splitting an atom, splitting a hair

If I don't cross the street
I don't get mud on my shoes and feet
If I take a taxi, thus,
I don't get hit by a crosstown bus

We are our acts and memories,
What we think and do,
So am I being revisionist
When I try something new?

If we kiss, will I get slapped?
Can there be bliss if my lips are chapped?
If you're male, do I like boys?
I change my life with every choice.

If I choose while alone
Am I the same as if it were known?
if I don't choose again
Am I who I was way back when?

There are two possibilities
To everything we do
We're in one dimension that's linear
or creating one that's new

It's an expanding universe
that had better be true
Each choice multiplies the potential
universes by two (or three or....)

Heads I don't, tails I do
Worlds stretching out far as I can view
I just might go insane
Keeping them right inside my brain

All of my might-have-beens
Altruism and mortal sins
I can't keep up this load
Live for today or my head'll explode

I can't change what has happened,
I can't predict what will,
And so it seems my best choice
Is staying perfectly still

All around...
Life goes on...
There comes a choice, now it's here and gone...
Once again...
I don't move...
Wondering what I'm trying to prove...

Have I now...
ceased to be?...
If I do nothing, I'm not me...
So the world...
I'll rejoin...
Wait, maybe not -- let me flip a coin.