"It Sucks To Be Me" from the Broadway musical Avenue Q. (Thought it would be appropriate, considering the time of year, and what most of us have coming up)
This begins my marathon of blogging about songs from Avenue Q. They are all fun to listen to, and singing along with this first one is a GREAT stress reliever. Even if you don't like musical theatre, you will enjoy this stuff, simply for the lyrics... as you will find out from my posts to come. Dr. S... you better read this, because it's a LONG SONG. Hahaha... just kidding, just kidding :-)
OK, so we begin with this fun, snappy chord progression that sounds like it could possibly be from Sesame Street (which is great, because that's what this show is kind of like, considering it is all puppets.) Anyway, it starts out with the orchestra just playing the intro over and over again while Brian and Kate, two of the characters have a conversation that is basically: "Life is dissapointing, I got laid off, blah blah" which leads into the beginning of the song, which is Brian complaining about his life, which leads to everybody else complaining about theirs. The accompaniment that is played underneath this conversation is carried througout most of the song, and doesn't change a whole lot. Every once in a while the instrumentation will change, or there will be a few non chord tones thrown in there, but that's about it. The vocal line is simple, very speech like. Even when Brian gets to the "It sucks to be me" chorus, the accompaniment remains the same.
The second verse is Kate singing about how her life sucks because she doesn't have a boyfriend. The accompaniment changes slightly because there is a flute added to play the upper bouncy part, and the piano plays at a higher register. I think this happens for characterization reasons. These higher pitched happy sounds kind of represent her character.
Next, the gay guys, Ron and Nicky enter. (They are supposed to be Burt and Ernie. Ron is in denial of his homosexuality, and is very attracted to Nicky. By the end of the show, Ron comes out and we learn that Nicky actually has feelings for Ron.) They sing about how their lives suck because they have to live in a very small apartment, and they drive eachother crazy. They alternate singing lines. There is also a change to their accompaniment, which I think is also for character purposes. So, I take back what I said before about the accompaniment not changing. It changes styles to fit the different characters. Here it becomes kind of... for lack of a better word... oafish sounding. There is a lot of tuba, and it is just kind of clumsy sounding. At the end of their verse, ron and nicky sing "it sucks to be" and then all 4 of the characters have their own enterance and harmony part on "me", and they proceed to sing the "it sucks to be me" chorus.
Next comes the Japanese character, Christmas Eve. She is hysterical. She sings all of her L's as R's. Her accompaniment changes and adds some very oriental sounding instrumentation in there. When she sings her "it sucks to be me" chorus, she leaves of her s's and sings "It suck to be me." Hysterical.
Next enters a new guy who is looking for a new apartment, and he needs to see the super intendent, who happens to be no other than Gary Coleman. Yes, that's right, Gary Coleman. So, the orchestra plays part of the theme from "Different Strokes." Then, Gary Coleman gets his verse. His accompaniment is hopping. It gets a little Rock sounding, and the guy who plays Gary Coleman sounds exactly like him. I have to post his lyrics because they are fabulous: "My name is Gary Coleman from TV's different strokes. I made a lot of money that got stollen by my folks. Now I'm broke and I'm the butt of everyones jokes. But here I am, the super intendent! Of Avenue Q..."
Here, the whole cast decides that it sucks to be Gary Coleman the most. They come in and sing, "It sucks to be you! You win! It sucks to be you! I feel better!" and then on the second "it sucks to be you", they modulate to a higher key. Now we have a two part chorus going on, and it is divided by males and females. The males sing a line, and the females answer. (antecedent, consequent action)Then, we modulate again, to yet a higher key. The whole time, the accompaniment doesn't stray too far from its original form. It is a lot jazzier here... strong drum beats and some fun instrumentations. The characters now decide that things aren't so bad as long as they can be together while their lives suck. The original very simple accompaniment plays as the chorus sings "we live on avenue Q" over and over, and slowly fade out.
Here are the lyrics to the last chorus:
Sucks to be me, sucks to be you, sucks to be us, but not when we're together.
Here on Avenue Q, we live on Avenue Q, our friends do to.
Till our dreams come true, we live on Avenue Q."