Project 194, Day 5: Hit Me!

Today’s selection is a treat for the eyes as well as the ears! The show: Watch The Birdie. The singer: Alex Keiper, in an excerpt from the 2008 production of my musical revue about contemporary family life. More comments below, after the lyric:

I was a fool to go and drop my defenses
And stick my neck out for a knockout like you
It wasn’t long before I came to my senses
And realized what you were trying to do
You’re not about to see me suffer
You think you’re tough, but, boy, I’m tougher!
Hit me! Hit me harder!
I still don’t feel a thing.
Come on and git me! Hit me harder!
It doesn’t even sting.

The day we met, my world was lit up by lightning
But I discovered I was in for a shock
The way you trifled with my feelings was frightening
You said you cared for me, but that was a crock!
I know you think that I’m a bluffer
But show your stuff! I know I’m tougher!
Hit me! Hit me harder!
I still don’t feel a thing.
Hit me! Hit me harder!
It doesn’t even sting.

You say I’m not the fighting kind
You say the words don’t fit me
But then the truth just hit me
You was wrong, oh so wrong.
Fact is I should have seen it coming
And practiced self-defense.
You were one of the best,
But I’d have never guessed how you’d act up
Til I got smacked up!

Hit me! Hit me harder!
I still don’t feel a thing.
Hit me! Hit me harder!
It doesn’t even sting.

Watch The Birdie is a musical revue that’s had several incarnations over the years. First, there was a three-person version of the show, entirely in song, which I performed with D’Arcy and our friend Gary Pagano, plus Harvey Price on drums, at the Bourse in Philly and Don’t Tell Mama in NYC. Later, I had the idea of mashing up my songs with a collection of short radio plays by Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller called Family Snapshots, and I produced that version in 1998 as the senior showcase for the UArts musical theater students. This video comes from a later iteration of the show produced by Philly Music Theater Works in 2008.

Hit Me was among the songs added for that version, and Alex sounds great on this material. She’s another former student who’s done well here in Philadelphia over the past few years. In the show, the song is woven into a scene about a stressed-out couple who are at each other’s throats trying to deal with a sick, crying baby. Yeah, been there, done that.

When I started this song, I wasn’t thinking of it as a theater song, but just a straight-ahead rock song using strong, direct language in both words and music. In the bridge, though, I succumbed the influence of Fagen and Becker, two of my favorite pop songsmiths and lads who don’t shy away from harmonic complexity.

For hardcore Chazzyphiles, here’s a real curiosity – the composer’s demo for that song, with a slower tempo and a different instrumentation.

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194: Let’s Go (Day 1), What Happened To The Song (Day 2), Have A Little Christmas On Me (Day 3), The Hunk With The Funk (Day 4).

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One thought on “Project 194, Day 5: Hit Me!

  1. Pingback: Re: Birth, from Watch the Birdie (Day 51) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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