Jonathan Coulton Makes Great Music

It’s clear that you come to this blog in order to substitute my own tastes and opinions for yours. (Well, that and cute Eli movies.) So I want to point you towards Jonathan Coulton. He’s a musician and songwriter who’s seeing if he can make a living as a fully independent musician. There’s no label, there’s just him and his website. He writes one new song a week, a forced-march experiment in having deadlines.

I like his approach of licensing all of his music under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license, which means you can take it and share it as long as you give him the credit for writing it. What’s far more important, I love love love his music. It is crazy mad awesome. I find myself hard-pressed to pick just one favorite, or even ten favorites, but I have restrained myself because I know you all are busy people with lives who just happen to like taking a break from those lives to read blogs. Some suggested tunes:

Skullcrusher Mountain
A lot of Jonathan’s songs are about messed-up people looking for love. In this case the messed-up person is a mad scientist in his lair on Skullcrusher Mountain. How can you not love a song whose lyrics include, “Isn’t it enough to know I ruined a pony making a gift for you?”

Re Your Brains
The lead zombie who wants to eat your brains is your annoying co-worker who is still talking about F.Y.I.s and tabling discussions.

Soft Rocked By Me
It’s a love song by a guy who likes to rock out to Bread.

Not About You
Several of Jonathan’s songs are sad ones about the loss of love (like When You Go and So Far So Good). This is a funny one involving complete and total denial.

A Talk With George
A touching song about the ghost of George Plimpton visiting and giving you advice.

That’s five (or seven, depending on how uncharitable you’re being with your counting), and I haven’t yet gotten to Code Monkey (the one song you may have heard about before since it was on Slashdot), Chiron Beta Prime (a Christmas song from humans imprisoned by robots), The Presidents (a single fact about every US President), or Mandelbrot Set (the happiest math song I know next to Math Prof Rock Star). So go! Go listen! And if you like, give the man some money.



  1. on July 27, 2006 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Okay, okay! Yeesh! [Maybe tonight when I get home.] 😉

  2. on July 28, 2006 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I discovered your blog through Geof’s comments…thought I’d pop in and say hello.

    Coulton’s become my new songwriting hero, so it’s cool to see him getting attention. And, may I just say, it’s awesome to hear of someone else who’s familiar with Jim’s Big Ego.

  3. on July 28, 2006 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Welcome! Yeah, now that I’ve learned about his music, I’m pushing it as hard as I can. As for Jim’s Big Ego, you can thank katre who comments on here from time to time for turning me on to them.

  4. on July 28, 2006 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Andrew, you have to stop stalking me. Don’t think that I won’t take out a restraining order! 😉

  5. on August 6, 2006 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m finally getting around to listening to some of his songs, and I’m definitely going to end up picking up a few. “Ikea” caught my fancy.

    The stuff reminds me a lot of TMBG, except a couple steps further away from the absurd. 🙂

  6. on August 7, 2006 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    “Lay your cash down and put your trust /
    In the land where the furniture folds to a much smaller size”

    I like that he’s far less absurdist than TMBG.

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