Stephin Merritt exposes his creativity

The NPR show All Things Considered issued a challenge earlier this year: write and record a song—in two days. Stephin Merritt took them up on their challenge, enjoying the benefits of NPR’s beautiful recording studio (studio 4a) fully stocked for his creative purpose.

You can see a video of that two day creative sprint on the NPR website, and you can form your own opinions about whether the challenge or the result are for the ages or not. My question is more technical: how well did the studio itself perform? How well did the video capture the creative process at work? If you had access to all 48 hours of recorded materials (multitrack inputs, video cameras, computer monitor outputs, etc), what would you want? What would you cut?

As Stephin himself acknowledges, the song itself had only one section–most popular music has at least two and usually three–so perhaps two days was a bit short. What could have been done in three days? What about five? And what about an elegant corpse model of music composition–what if three artists had been given the image and the word that one had selected, they agree on the key, tempo, and major thematic device (in this case, 1-9-7-4), and one did the verse, one did the chorus, and one did the bridge? How exciting might that have been upon reveal?

If you have links to similar experiments, please share!

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