New Thing #84: 'The Presidents' by Jonathan Coulton

A couple of months ago there was a big flap on Twitter involving the TV show Glee and a guy named Jonathan Coulton. Coulton seemed to be a pretty big deal among some of the folks I follow on Twitter.

Apparently Glee used one of Coulton's songs (an arranged cover - is that what it's called? It was a cover, but he did it in his own style.), the way he had arranged it, but the show didn't give him any kind of credit.

Then I heard an interview with Coulton on the 'Bullseye' podcast.

He's a prolific, independent singer/songwriter with a large, large following.

So I looked into him a bit for this week's Music Monday.

One song in particular stood out to me, partly because it is closely connected to a big theme in my life right now - the presidents. (My students are researching the presidents, my daughter is very interested in them, and yesterday we saw the link to the doodle-drawings of the well as a tangible representation of my daughter's aforementioned interest.)

The song is called 'The Presidents', and it was originally released in 2005, but it appears Coulton does updated versions through Obama in his live performances. (It also appears the song is a bear to perform live, and his live performances often involve stops and starts because it's hard to remember the order. At the end of this post is a video of one such performance with minimal errors.)

It's fun, it's funny - except for some slightly strong language it would be fun to share with my class. And my daughter.

In the interview I heard with JoCo, as he appears to be known, he was working full-time in software and doing the music as a hobby before giving up his job to pursue what he loved all the time. His bio is here - I think his big claim to fame was releasing a song a week for a year on his web site. (That seems like an activity I can get behind.)

You can preview and purchase his music here ('The Presidents' is on the 'Thing A Week Three' collection) - and I'm pretty sure I knew nothing about him before I heard about this whole Glee thing in January.

But maybe you can help me out here: I'm sure Jonathan Coulton is a New Thing to me...but if that's the case then why does he seem so familiar?