npr's li'l creativity exercise
gimmicky? sure, but still kind of cool.
npr set stephen merritt of the magnetic fields down in a studio, gave him a few words and images, and asked that he create and record a song about them. in 48 hours. while being filmed.
mr. merritt chose the word "1974" and the phil toledano image at left. he then went to work creating the man of a million faces. the video of the songwriting process is fun and revealing. as those familiar with mr. merritt's work might expect, the resulting song is a creepy n' clever portrait of a shape-shifting master criminal. representative lyric:
quite the psychiatric case is
the man of a million faces
wielder of flails and maces,
veteran of high-speed chases ...
in my line of work, this would be equivalent to flashing newspaper headlines and youtube clips at social scientists, setting them down at computer terminals, and giving them 48 hours to produce articles. the resulting video would be boooooring, of course, but i bet they'd write some good stuff. i can imagine a really creative/sadistic graduate methods instructor assigning such a task as a final course project...