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We here at Quick Stop Entertainment are true lovers of music, in all its forms. We’re also quite keen on the spirit of competition, and of spurring creativity through said competition.

To that end, we launched a brand new form of creative combat here at the Stop. You’ll find the very first of these competitions here.

In this age of manufactured and painfully earnest talent contests, we’ve decided to instead shine a light on the quirky, quixotic underworld of musicians that don’t get nearly the attention they deserve.

Ah, but I did mention that there was a competition involved…

A week back, we sent out the call for challengers. Hundreds of you heard the call and fought for a chance to be in the initial group. 20 were selected. Of those 20, only 13 responded in time (Them’s the breaks).

Like a songwriting version of Iron Chef, these challengers were presented with a very specific songwriting challenge, and given one week to complete their songs - however they saw fit, within the parameters set forth. Here’s the Round 1 Challenge…

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ROUND 1 CHALLENGE

This is going to seem to be a rather straightforward challenge to kick off our second Song Fu competition. In actuality, it’s a pretty darn interesting way to give people a sense of just what your songwriting personality and style is. We’re taking a cue from a fellow named Paul Simon

Your first challenge is to WRITE A SONG ABOUT THE MOON.

That’s it. The only other directive is that your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.

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After one week of intense campaigning and voting, we eliminated the bottom vote-getters - leaving only 6 competitors (5th place was a tie) to move on to… ROUND 2. The remaining Challengers and our Masters were then presented with their Round 2 Challenge…

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ROUND 2 CHALLENGE

Your challenge is to choose a famous inventor and craft a song proposing a “dance craze” based on either the inventor or one of his/her most well known inventions. For an idea of what we’re looking for, here’s a song proposing the ill-fated “Lurch”…

Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.

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Your votes were tallied, and the top two Challengers from Round 2 moved on to battle head-to-head in ROUND 3…

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ROUND 3 CHALLENGE

For this Challenge, not only are we going to provide you with a theme and style, but we’re also going to give you the title. Your task is to write a song that utilizes all of the provided elements.

For this Round, we’re paying homage to the country balladeer greats – people like Jerry Reed, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller. Your task is to write a country ballad - using a backstory of your own creation – called “The Ballad of Rufus Amos Adams”.

Your song must run no shorter than 1 minute 45 seconds.

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Well, you voted on the Round 3 Challenge HERE. You chose one Master and one Challenger to battle head-to-head in the final challenge…

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FINAL CHALLENGE

THE SONG FROM (aka 70’s Cinema Pop): For this final duel between Master and Challenger, you must envision a world in which composer John Williams was never hired to write the now-iconic scores for the Lucas and Spielberg films of the 1970’s (JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, 1941, and STAR WARS). Imagine instead that the filmmakers decided to go with that other staple of the 70’s - a tailor-made pop tune. Think THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE’s “The Morning After (The Song From THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE)”, which you’ll find below. You must choose one of those 1970’s Williams-scored Spielberg/Lucas flicks and write “The Song From…” that the film never had, in the style of a 1970’s pop tune (particularly in your instrumentation).

The song must be at least 1min 45sec, and must be an original creation.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

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And now, their fate will be determined by you, as you vote for the winner of our 2nd MASTERS OF SONG FU. You’ll find the Final Songs below, followed by the voting form…

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MASTERS OF SONG FU

For this edition of Song Fu, we’re bringing in two (well, 5, if you’re being technical) very special Masters who you’ll be going up against. Think of them as the iron chefs of Song Fu, and your ultimate challengers, as you’ll square off against one of them mano-a-mano in the Final Round:

THE RIFFTONES

songfu-rifftones.jpgYou know ‘em as the RiffTrax trio, but here at Song Fu they are the mighty RiffTones…

MICHAEL J. NELSON - Michael J. Nelson is the creator of Rifftrax.com, and is the former host and head writer of the Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award-winning Mystery Science Theater 3000. Since that time, he has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, penned a regular column for TV Guide, and authored best-selling books for both HarperCollins and Abrams.

His first book, Mike Nelson’s Movie Megacheese, thrilled critics, including Richard Schickel of Time Magazine, who said of Mike, “He’s more fun than a barrel of Val Kilmers… Smarter than a roomful of Patrick Swayzes… and almost as hilarious as Keanu Reeves.” Mike’s laugh-out-loud follow-up, Mind Over Matters, prompted Kirkus Reviews to enthuse, “From someplace called Minnesota comes a Nelson funnier than Ozzie, Ricky, Lord or Half,” and even dared to compare him to another legendary writer, saying of his Serious Speech to Business People, “[It] could easily precede [Robert] Benchley’s immortal Treasurer’s Report.” And Kirkus Reviews loved his novel, Death Rat!, saying, “Fast-paced, outrageous and funny, first-novelist Nelson’s mockery of media mendacity is as biting as La Dolce Vita or Network - only funnier!”

Mike speaks all over the country, is a frequent guest on radio and television, and along with Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy sells out theaters with his RiffTrax Live events.

KEVIN MURPHY - “I’m probably best known for portraying that ol’ squat loveable bubble-headed robot Tom Servo on Mystery Science Theater 3000. In fact I’m the only member of the cast and crew to have worked on every single episode of the series, probably because I tend to like everybody. I also got to sing at the drop of a hat and collaborated with the lovely, leggy Mike Nelson on many of the show’s songs.

Right now I’m back with Mike and Bill for www.rifftrax.com , where once again we sit in close proximity to each other and make fun of movies; unfortunately we don’t write a lot of songs… yet. To exercise my musical jollies I occasionally write and record solo and with family members, under the name The Revolutionary Communist Mountain Boys. Oh, and I’m also writing my first comic book series, symptomatic of my terminal case of Adult-onset Geekdom.

BILL CORBETT - Beloved by literally billions of people, Bill Corbett is a former writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000 on the Sci-Fi Channel, and previously on Comedy Central. He was also a performer on the show, providing the second incarnation of the robot Crow and embarrassing himself in grand fashion as other strange characters - including the all-powerful but clueless alien The Observer, a.k.a. “Brain Guy.” Bill has always been an amateur musician (cough cough HACK cough cough), performing with garage-less garage bands, and writing / performing songs for MST3K - including the beloved-by-literally-trillions CANADA SONG. He now works with former MST3K colleagues Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy at Rifftrax.com.

Corbett is also a screenwriter and playwright. His plays have been produced at numerous theaters across the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and (seriously) Japan. He wasn’t able to attend the latter, but assumes it was a live-manga concept.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Corbett currently spends a lot of time in Los Angeles partying into the wee hours with stars like Skeet Ulrich, Harry Hamlin, and the late Red Buttons. But he actually lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife Virginia, their two young children, and a small Jack Russell Terrier who really runs the house.

He hopes someday to raise alpacas.

Official Website: www.rifftrax.com

FINAL CHALLENGE SONG:Love Theme from JAWS (When a Man Loves a Shark)
ROUND 3 SONG:(The Ballad Of) Rufus Amos Adams
ROUND 2 SONG:Do The Ballpoint!
ROUND 1 SONG:Moon Shine

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THE CHALLENGERS

JASON MORRIS

songfu-jasonmorris.jpgI suppose I am what you could call a “Multi-Instrumentalist”. That is a nice way of saying “Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none”. I began playing drums as a teenager and spent a great deal of energy during my 20’s trying to “make it” in the music biz. As a drummer, I have had the opportunity to play with some pretty incredible musicians, garnering literally DOZENS of fans over the years. In 2004 I joined the band Celestial Static, and spent several years melting some face with good friends Jeremy and Julie Elzerman. Once that ran its course, I decided to spend more time locked away in my studio, writing my own songs and learning to play guitar, bass and sing. It doesn’t pay the bills, but I have a good time doing it.

Official Website: www.jason-morris.com

FINAL CHALLENGE SONG:Take Me Home (The Song from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS)
ROUND 3 SONG:The Ballad Of Rufus Amos Adams
ROUND 2 SONG:The O’Sullivan Stomp
ROUND 1 SONG:The Universe Outsourced The Moon

[display_podcast]

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FINAL CHALLENGE VOTING

And now, it’s time for that all important voting, where you’ll decide who has shown the most Fu in the final challenge. This person will not only win the remarkable (and potentially off-putting) bragging rights and a clutch of fantastic mystery prizes, but also become the proud owner of the magnificent, one-of-a-kind MASTER OF SONG FU TROPHY, designed and handcrafted by [adult swim] superstar Dana Snyder. Please remember, you can only vote FOR ONE song - so choose very carefully. You may only vote once, so make it count. VOTING CLOSES AT 11:59pm EST on MONDAY, OCTOBER 27th.

[poll id="11"]

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Good luck, and bring on the Fu.

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Comments:

37 Responses to “Masters Of Song Fu #2: Final Challenge Voting Begins!”

  1. Mick Bordet Says:

    Nice work, guys!

    An alternative take on “The Song From Jaws”:-

    http://tinyurl.com/6l9ede

  2. Jason Morris » Blog Archive » SongFU - The Final Challenge! Says:

    [...] The final SongFu Challenge songs are posted and available for your listening pleasure HERE [...]

  3. Tv Miller Says:

    Without first being biased, Jason’s song was something I would listen to today, not in the pop 70’s which I think the contest implied. Therefore returning to the bias, only Kevin could drop a fine wine selection into a song. My vote is for the not-until-a-little-later reigning champions, Rifftones!

  4. Steve Chatterton Says:

    I’ll keep a good thought for you Jason.

  5. Jason Says:

    Hey, thanks Steve!
    I will need all of the good thoughts I can get, as I do battle with the three-headed leviathan that is THE RIFFTONES!

  6. Rhia Says:

    Jason, you should get a job writing theme songs for new shows on the Sci-Fi network! Good job throughout the contest - you have my vote!

  7. Kouban Says:

    Wow! I can’t decide who to vote for!

  8. Russ Rogers Says:

    Jason wrote a very strong, pretty ballad. But the RiffTones rhymed “savory” with “gravory.” Kudos to all of you. And by that, I mean I would give each of you a chocolate bar if I weren’t just virtual. Happy Halloween! Thanks for the songs.

  9. Stephen Says:

    All of the jokes in the Rifftones’ song’s fell really flat for me. Thats too bad, because if you ignore the lyrics it was a good song musically, and slightly more seventies-sounding than Jason’s. Jason’s song, while not a goofy song like we’d expect in this contest, has decent lyrics that actually fit the movie he picked (when a man HATES a shark would fit Jaws AND be funny. “Captain Quint’s theme” would work), which was kind-of the point of this contest, I thought.
    Hate to be so negative, but I just voted and saw that Jason was down 36 points! That makes no sense to me! Someone who voted for the Rifftones (like I did in round 2, awesome song then), explain this to me!

  10. Aerie Says:

    I listened to The Morning After first and the song by The Rifftones is just silly . . . it doesn’t capture the feel nor moral center of the 70’s genre in which the songwriters were to write. Also, their instruments sounded too modern (fake 80’s sounding drums, guitars that sounded like a 90’s processor trying to sound like a 70’s amp, etc.). Frankly, I didn’t like it.

    Jason on the other hand captured it all! The instrumentation and timbre matched the 70’s pop tune criteria. Plus, Jason’s lyrics illustrated the emotional themes within the movie. I could picture this song setting the stage for the opening of the film - and - the ending credits scrolling, with this song playing and giving that little something extra to think about (added perspective) at the end of the film.

    Masterful Fu Jason.

  11. bobservo Says:

    Well, I’m flat-out torn here. Frankly, I think Jason has the better song, and one that I could actually picture playing over the end credits to Close Encounters. On the other hand, the RiffTones sound like a 70’s pop song, and I freely admit I’m biased in favor of Mike and the Bots’ current incarnation. I honestly don’t know which I’m voting for.

  12. Garance Says:

    While I think both songs are good on their own merits, I also think both songs kinda missed the assignment. I can’t imagine either of these being the “hit song” written for a movie. Maybe I’m taking it too seriously.

    But I do think the Rifftones did a better job of creating a seventy-sounding song, so I voted for them. My ears don’t care if “guitars sound like a 90’s processor trying to sound like a 70’s amp”, I care if the melody and “feel” of the song sounded like something from the seventies. And I think the Rifftones song did. Lyrically, though, it seems more like something Ray Stevens would have done as a spoof, and not an actual movie “hit” theme song.

  13. Garance Says:

    I should also add that I don’t think that the lyrics to Jason’s song work as the hit song for “Close Encounters”. I could see it as a decent standalone top-40 song, but the lyrics seemed like an awkward fit for the movie.

    Mind you, I think “There’s Got to be a morning after” was a great movie “hit” song. It stands well on it’s own without the movie, and it really captures the crux of the movie (IMO). Jason’s song does work well without the movie, but from what I remember of “Close Encounters”, the song seems like a tangent to the main action of the movie.

  14. BucketHatBobby Says:

    I must disagree with you, Garance. I see the connection quite well. The man starts seeing stuff, people say he’s going crazy, “it’s all in his head”, and then “take me home with you” is obviously directed towards the aliens.
    The song made me chuckle while comparing the movie to the song.

    I LOVED Jason’s song this time around. Not feeling the rifftones, really.
    Jason Gets my vote.

  15. linda Says:

    I can definitly see the credits rolling when I listen to Take Me Home . Jason has my vote for sure.

  16. PHX Says:

    I think my problem is just that the Rifftones’s was too… wacky? It doesn’t fit the film, nor does it really match the example that well. It didn’t really specify that the song explicitly reference the film, so I don’t see that an issue for Jason’s.

    Jason’s manages to unironically assume that cheesy romantic feel of “The Morning After,” the difference being that I’d actually listen to his.

  17. Fonzy Says:

    Where’s the voting?!?!? It’s Thursday afternoon, October 23rd, and I cannot find any links to vote! I’ve tried IE7, and Firefox 3, and the IE Tab plugin for Firefox and no voting page shows up. What’s the issue? I wanna vote!

  18. wobbal Says:

    WHOA!

  19. moose29 Says:

    Yea! This is a blast! Where do I vote?!

  20. Quentin Says:

    I felt the Riftone’s track was…for lack of a better word..LAME. The music was good, (I liked the sax licks) but I don’t remember any one in the film actually love’n the shark, and I felt some of the lyrics were just abit snooty.
    I thought Jason’s song did a great job of capturing the essence of what the main character in “Close Encounters” felt before finally boarding the alien ship at the end of the movie. The lyrics were very thoughtful and the music was tastefully orchestrated.

  21. Kim Davies Says:

    Jason, excellent on all accounts. You have a talent, and definitely the techniques. Hands down winner on this one.

  22. linda Says:

    Whats up with the voting? Lots of people I know said they couldn’t find the link to vote. They saw the score, and couldn’t believe Jason wasn,t winning. The Riftones song is just silly and doesen’t sound anything like a theme from a movie. I thought that was the guide line. WHATS Up!!!

  23. Sterling Says:

    You have to be kidding me! the Riff tones song is just silly Jasons song is just is great, who’s adding the votes here, there must be a mistake

  24. Jason Says:

    I absolutely appreciate all the support, but lets try to keep things positive!
    It’s only a silly internet contest after all!

  25. Liss Says:

    Sorry Rifftones you just missed it entirely. Couldn’t even stand to listen to the whole thing…it was so
    “Turn (on?) Your Heart Light” remember that? Was that Sinatra? Neverending like a big wheel of government cheese. Honestly. Jason on the other hand nailed it. It stood well alone too. Can I vote again?

  26. The RiffTones enter the final round of Song Fu! « deep ape Says:

    [...] really, it’s quite unfair to pit Jason against three gods of geekdom. Still, you can vote here, and while you’re at it, you can download The Rifftones’ previous songs, [...]

  27. Jason Morris » Blog Archive » Chill out folks Says:

    [...] For the love of GOD, STOP posting negative stuff on the Song-FU message board! It is NOT helping me, and is in fact rather embarrassing. I feel like a kid at a [...]

  28. Wendy Says:

    Chin up Jason… as always I think your song’s great.

    :)

  29. Melman Says:

    I have to say Jason’s is a very well made song, but personally between goofy and serious, I can’t help but vote for the goofy. It is just my nature.

  30. Liss Says:

    Ok-Jason, I agree-no negativity. Rifftones, I so totally agree with you too- my God, you are, like, amazing, (I think you ROCK!) geeksome Gods! Perfect! Still, with this last challenge I am thinking that the humor MUST be present but (in my cheap and humble estimation) the cheese factor needs to be subtle and almost forgettable. It needs transcend day jobs, orthopedic shoes, our love of white bread and our inability to properly execute a traditional box step. We need to be able to sway in place and feel everything else dissappear as the credits roll. And it needs to still walk the line of funny. I’m sorry. That’s just how I see it. I don’t want overt cheese, I prefer the kind of cheese I can snidely make fun of later and still hope that there are more meanings than just one in the end…

  31. Garance Says:

    “(Turn on Your) Heartlight” was Neil Diamond, who would probably be quite surprised that he was confused with Frank Sinatra! I will guess that it might be the biggest hit he had in the mid-1980’s.

    Hopefully people can continue to have fun with this contest. Remember, you can’t spell “Fun” without “Fu”!

  32. sevinPackage Says:

    I expected more from the Rifftones. Oh well, maybe next competition. When is that going to be, anyway?

    Jason’s song wins. A bit too repetitive, but there’s hardly any comparison. Great job!

    I hope all top contenders come back to du the Fu again!

  33. Kevin Murphy Says:

    Help! My hair is on fire!
    Augh! Augh! Aaaaaaugh! (runs in circles, waving arms, slams into wall and passes out)

  34. Garance Says:

    See, wasn’t that fun? Nothing snooty there!

    (I assume it was Mike or Bill who set Kevin’s hair on fire. One too many puns in the latest rifftrax, no doubt)

  35. Ann Says:

    I thought Jason’s song was more interesting. It would make more sense in a movie……I did like the Rifftones other sonegs, but this one seemed too silly for me this time. I can’t find the link to vote though!!! This website needs a better system darnit! My vote goes to Jason, whenever I can cast it!

  36. Bill Corbett Says:

    Help! Kevin’s hair is on fire!! Help!!

    It’s going out, help!! I need more kindling!!!

  37. BucketHatBobby Says:

    Flame wars only ever end in horrible scalp deformities.

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