Friday, 30 March 2012

Phillip Alexander's Got A Ticket To Write

Welcome to another post where a real life working musician like you, explains how they're using Beatles inspired knowhow like the Tickets To Write to create their own songs. Next up is Phillip Alexander from Cincinnati band Plastic Inevitables.

First things first, I am a huge fan of Beatles Songwriting Academy. I've been reading it diligently for a while now, and I'm honored to be asked to write a guest post. Matt, thanks for doing BSA and especially for showing me The Summer Of Love (by George Martin) and Songwriting Secrets Of The Beatles. The latter (in addition to this blog!) has helped me immensely with songwriting, and made me appreciate the Beatles more than I thought possible, seeing that I already was in love with them.

Currently, as well as recording a new album, Plastic Inevitables are working on a YouTube project called “Short Song” - writing and recording a track less than two minutes long every month during 2012.

Naturally, every Short Song we write has to use ticket 2 (put your song on a diet) to the Nth degree. There's usually only room for one verse, two if we're lucky. Although that's partly due to our tendency to make them have more of a progressive structure than some of our other songs.

In our latest Short Song, Jekyll, we created an intro AND outro using different existing parts of the middle of the song (ticket 4). I also made sure that my vocal line never began on the first beat (ticket 39). In the end section, though it does lie on beat 1 of a measure, it doesn't come in until the second measure. Lastly, I wanted to see how much we could do with just two chords, so about 2/3 of the song is alternating between C and Am (ticket 25), though the average listener may not notice. This contrasts with the end, that uses a much more exotic chord progression and doesn't hit the tonic until the last chord.

Jekyll was partially inspired by From Me To You, although it doesn't have much in common with it besides the C to Am move. All of our Short Songs take some inspiration from the early Beatles catalogue as a whole, seeing as most of their early hits were right around the 2 minute mark. They had a way of packing everything you could possibly need in a pop song into 2 or 3 minutes. We try to be more experimental when writing Short Songs than if we were trying to write a single, but nevertheless those early Beatles hits had the perfect amount of innovation to be unfamiliar, but still go to #1 on the charts.

Phillip is lead vocalist and guitarist in Plastic Inevitables, who “sound like the White Stripes and the Beatles had a baby”. They're about to record a new album, tentatively titled Loon, which will be out by the end of the year. You can get their previous albums on Bandcamp, check out the Short Songs project on Youtube, or find them on Facebook or Twitter

Interested in contributing a guest post for Beatles Songwriting Academy? Been using the Tickets To Write to create your own songs? Drop me a line and let me know!


  1. I like the sound of this - songs that are less than two minutes long.

    I like the idea of finding things new things to play with musically as well like they are doing. If you listen to my song Bridges (was going to put a link but forgot that I had taken it off Soundcloud), then you can see that in the verse I was using a variation of ticket 25 by it just using the F#m and A major chords.

    1. oops, should read before I PUBLISH! :(