Ukulele serenade series: “I Wasn’t Prepared”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

This shall be the last shout into this particular void.

For me this song has the same vibe as Faith No More’s “From Out of Nowhere” or KMFDM’s “Oh My Goth,” but adapts easily to a simple ukulele/voice set up.

It’s the wanting that draws me in & makes “I Wasn’t Prepared” perfect as my final selection for this series.

Off of Eisley’s 2005 release “Room Noises,” “I Wasn’t Prepared” can be played with a few chords and sounds beautiful with a sparse arrangement.

The vocals are a little challenging — probably more fitting for folx working with a soprano range — but there’s a lot of fun to be had in the attempt.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “I Wasn’t Prepared”

Ukulele serenade series: “Gunning Down Romance”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

As far as ’90s pop is concerned, Savage Garden did a lot of things right. Yes, there were some really bad aspects to ’90s pop music, but for the most part, I found the music that came from the Australian duo genuine and palatable.

“Love feels good and I want it pumped directly into my veins but ALSO FUCK THE UNIVERSE WHY AM I AN ANXIETY APE?”

Although this moody number off of 1999’s Affirmation is not my typical jam, it’s stuck with me for several reasons.

Lyrically, the song marries an aching sense of longing with an underlying feeling of existential dread — it’s skillful, deliberate, and effective. Love is science and we are needlessly complicated monkeys AND GODDAMN IT I WANT IT ANYWAY.

With a few minor adjustments, it’s a very comfortable song to sing for mezzo (second soprano) and alto voices.

The notation I based my version on had a few problems and I ended up cutting quite a bit out because it wasn’t working elegantly with the pared down uke/voice set-up I was envisioning. But I had a lot of fun messing around with it.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Gunning Down Romance”

Ukulele serenade series: “Just Say”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

As a native Pacific Northwesterner, I grew up aware of “The Seattle Sound.” Even though I was cast off in rural Eastern Washington and decades younger than most of the “grunge” movement’s key players, once I hit middle school, I was eager to dive in.

It’s hard liking stuff when it seems everyone else likes things.

I learned what I could through back issues of zines and blogs written by fans and soon realized that the scene was huge and included outstanding bands of all different genres. Some of the best pop and pop-punk music came out of Seattle in the 90s including a 1996 album called “New Mansions in Sound” by Fastbacks.

“Just Say” comes from “New Mansions…,” an anthemic single that made loneliness feel catchy. I pulled this song for my serenade selections because it’s fun to play and so goddamn relatable — and I thought it might bring some comfort to other folks who always seem to be the wrong number.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Just Say”

Ukulele serenade series: “Navigate the Seas of the Sun”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

If you know the name Bruce Dickinson, you’re likely either aware of his role as lead singer of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden or you’ve come across the name while consuming quirky paranormal films and documentaries.

Yes, Dickinson is metal af, but the ballads on his solo albums are legendary.

Less often do I speak with folks who are actually aware of the breadth of Dickinson’s solo albums. The solo albums were less traditional NWOBHM genre-wise, granting the singer — known for his signature style of super on-key hollering — a chance to show off a softer side in ballads like “Tears of the Dragon,” “Omega,” “Man of Sorrow,” and “Arc of Space.”

My fourth serenade selection is among those masterful ballads, “Navigate the Seas of the Sun” off of 2005’s “Tyranny of Souls.”

In some respects, “Navigate…” belongs on a soundtrack to a quirky paranormal film — with lyrics exploring the idea of connections continuing across lifetimes and generations. Yet at its core, it’s a beautiful song that translates well to ukulele. So, I trimmed it up — a lot — and tried to arrange it in a way that’s manageable for a beginner ukulele player.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Navigate the Seas of the Sun”

Ukulele serenade series: “Call Me a Dog”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

Feel like you don’t measure up? I’ve got the song for you.

“Call Me a Dog” is a bluesy ballad off of Temple of the Dog’s 1991 self titled album. The lyrics flirt with feelings of inadequacy in a relationship while maintaining a bit of soft wonder toward the connection.

The song is incredibly relatable to anyone that feels at a disadvantage with someone close to their heart and it’s classic Chris Cornell vocal style so it’s rough and beautiful and absolutely amazing.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Call Me a Dog”

Ukulele serenade series: “Coming Right Along”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

Nobody takes this shit seriously.

Love is complicated and capitalism sucks. So obviously, Valentines Day can be a lot of complicated suckitude. And I’m here to give a voice to that feeling as well.

I selected this song because it’s simple, beautiful, and relatable. It’s off The Posies’ 1993 album “Frosting on the Beater.”

And while you may not be serenading a lover with this tune, it may provide you a method of catharsis over this overhyped, cash-horny holiday.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

Alright, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Coming Right Along”

Ukulele serenade series: “Miss You In a Heartbeat”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

My version of romantic vibes, which is one of many reasons why I’m entirely unqualified for this.

When I made the decision to include “Miss You in a Heartbeat” in this series I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at myself. But I wanted to give potential players a sappy-ass love song they could learn quickly, and though I scoured my bookmarks for alternatives, nothing quite fit the bill like this Def Leppard ballad.

For our purposes, we’re going to cut it down a bit — you’ll find I’ll do that with a lot of these selections. I’m looking for quick, easy to practice pieces that an intro player could pick up in a few days.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Continue reading Ukulele serenade series: “Miss You In a Heartbeat”