SoftWar

I sang and played percussion (the latter very badly) with the band Spiny Norman from 2000 to 2001. After adapting “Tenders of Affection” and “The Seed” to song form, and updating the lyrics for “Pride (Goes Before a Fall)”, I wanted to write a new song specifically for the band.  I drew on my experience as a software developer for a tech startup just as the dot-com boom turned to bust, and took late-nineties grunge as my influence.  “Write what you know” proved a useful maxim, and my detailed inside knowledge of the subject matter resulted in lyrics that were specific and elicited laughs.  As Sondheim pointed out, there’s a difference between clever and funny.


SoftWar  © 2000 music and lyrics by Eric Schrager

We’re fighting a softwar,
But our dedication is real hard-core.
We’re fighting a softwar,
Things won’t be the same anymore…

Well, I see you all a-tremblin’ but have no fear
‘Cause I’m a senior softwar engineer.
People skills might not be my thing
But I promise I can make your website sing.

Now you’ve got a killer app but don’t be a sap,
The whole market’s not just gonna fall in your lap.
You need world-class code when they click that mouse,
And that’s why you’re hiring me in-house…

We’re off to the softwar,
And there’s no predicting what’s in store.
We’re off to the softwar,
Things won’t be the same anymore…

They need a rollout date or this company’s dead,
Don’t worry, all the requirements are in my head.
I’d tell you six months, but that’d be a crime,
‘Cause that’s ten years in Internet time.

You tell me it’s secure, you better be sure,
I think maybe we should test it two weeks more.
We need a redesign, can’t use these links, *
But then who really cares what a techie thinks?

We’ve joined in the softwar,
We’re idea-rich but kinda cash poor.
We’ve joined in the softwar,
I’m not sure I can take anymore…

Yesterday the NASDAQ was high and comfy,
But now it’s coming down like Humpty Dumpty.
Suddenly the bloom is off the rose–
What happened to all those IPO’s?

Yesterday’s dot-coms are today’s dot-bombs
And investors are hearing their panic alarms.
All the money’s dried up, it’s just not fair,
They swore they’d make me a millionaire!

We must win the softwar,
This other site has features galore.
We must win the softwar,
I’m not sure I can take anymore…

Well, we’ve lost a lot of staff but I’m still here
And I’m a senior softwar engineer.
The turnover rate’s giving me a scare,
But right now I’m too tired to care.

We’re rolling out the code, can the server take the load?
I need some sleep soon or my brain will explode.
But this desk is where I’m gonna live
Until this company’s cash-flow positive!

We’re fighting a softwar,
But our dedication is real hard-core.
We’re fighting a softwar,
I’m not sure I can take anymore…

We’re fighting a softwar,
But our dedication is real hard-core. **
We’re fighting a softwar,
I’m not sure I can take anymore…

We’re fighting a softwar,
But our dedication is real hard-core.
We’re fighting a softwar,
I’m not sure I can take
I’m not sure I can take
I’m not sure I can take anymore.


* I later changed this line to “the UI stinks”, which makes more sense from a developer’s perspective, but I don’t know if we ever played it that way.

** I’ve considered changing this line for the repeat to “Sometimes they treat me like I’m just a whore”, but for historical accuracy, and my own employment prospects, I should clarify that I never actually sang the song that way before an audience.


Creative Commons License
SoftWar by Eric Schrager is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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