Tuesday, September 16, 2008
What should I do #10: Jonathan Coulton

I just got an e-mail asking the now-familiar question: "What am I supposed to do while I'm waiting for your second book to come out?!?"

So let me throw out a new answer: Check out Jonathan Coulton.

I'm guessing many of you already know about Coulton. He strides the world like a colossus. He mocks. He's funny. He has a pretty good beard....

Mostly though, Coulton does music. Smart, funny, wonderful music.

It's possible that you might know Coulton's work even if you don't know his name. If you've finished Portal, for example, you've heard his stuff. "Still Alive" the song that plays during the end credits is his.

And if you went to PAX this year, you got to see him onstage. Not that I'm bitter that I missed it because I was at Dragoncon that weekend. Not that I'm bitter that I missed the chance to hang out with Felicia Day of Dr. Horrible fame at PAX too. Not that I'm bitter that apparently Felicia got up and sang on stage with Coulton at the concert....

Yeah. Okay. I'm a little bitter.

For those of you out of the loop, a couple years back Jonathan Coulton started something he called thing a week. As the name suggests, he wrote a new song each week and released it for free on the internet.

As you might guess, some of the songs were a little forced. But what's far more important is how often he struck gold. A lot of his songs are pure, distilled brilliance.

How good are they? Well.... imagine if someone unspeakably hot person came to your house. Imagine whoever you like: Brad Pitt. Alyson Hannigan, Bea Arthur. Whatever turns your crank.

So. This person shows up at your house and gives you a really good backrub. Then they make you an ice cream sundae. Your favorite kind. Then, and this is the key part, they sex you up while you're eating the sundae....

Okay. Honestly, his songs aren't quite as awesome as that. But they're maybe.... seventy percent that awesome. Which you have to admit, is pretty amazing.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Here's a few Youtube samples from an acoustic show he did in LA a couple years back.

Here's one of his more popular ones called Code Monkey:

And another called: I Feel Fantastic.

One more, possibly my favorite song of his: I Crush Everything.



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posted by Pat at


Anonymous Tal said...

Fucking dolphins.

September 16, 2008 4:16 AM  
Blogger Mainjari said...

I've heard of Jonathan Coulton. He sung I Feel Fantastic? I didn't know that. I found a video on youtube using that song a while back, and now whenever I feel particularly fine, I find myself singing the chorus in my head.

Also, I want to thank you, Pat, for giving me a chance to imagine David Tennant in full Doctor Who attire sexing me up while I eat a sundae. You have no idea how much I needed that.

September 16, 2008 4:24 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

No problem. That's what I'm here for.

September 16, 2008 4:27 AM  
Blogger Malikelm said...

Coulton rocks.

I Feel Fantastic is may morning song, my shower song, and my post-sex song--ok sometimes during.

Pat, on your next post, could you put up a list of reads? You haven't done that in a while.

September 16, 2008 5:01 AM  
Blogger Michael Natale said...

The great part about Coulton is he's not a one trick pony. Not all of his songs are humorous.

Example: "When You Go". This song is about a breakup (according to Coulton's site) but every time I hear it I tear up thinking about people in my life who have passed.

Great stuff.

September 16, 2008 5:26 AM  

He's good but it's no VIKING SONG.


September 16, 2008 5:54 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Skullcrusher mountain ain't bad either. But if you HAVE beaten portal, and realize just how perfect that game is, Still Alive would be your fav. And the fact that that one come out on rock band update doesn't hurt...

September 16, 2008 6:11 AM  
Blogger Althalus said...

Pete: Skullcrusher AND Portal are in Rock Band!

Personally I prefer Skullcrusher.

September 16, 2008 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Adam said...

just had to de-lurk and say that Coulton's performance at PAX was amazing. One of the best live shows I've ever been too.

It tipped me from a casual listener to an enthusiast, so if you can see a show of his I highly recommend it.

Cause really, being rickrolled @ a live concert can't be beat.

September 16, 2008 11:34 AM  
Blogger Josh Ebben said...


If you want to kick up the nerd-factor a notch check out some of the spiffworld videos on youtube. Basically he makes music videos for Coulton songs using World of Warcraft. Code Monkey is great, as is Creepy Doll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTSkWnKs9rM

September 16, 2008 1:15 PM  
Blogger julz said...

I am bitter about not being able to attend PAX! Or Dragon-Con, for that matter.

I am a fan of Coulton. I also like me some nerdcore, such as MC Frontalot. Awesome stuff.

September 16, 2008 1:18 PM  
OpenID elizaw said...

Still Alive wins. :)

But you still should have included Re: Your Brains in your list of sample songs. That's always been my favorite.

September 16, 2008 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Dave said...

His "Code Monkey" is the theme song for the show Code Monkeys on G4.

September 16, 2008 4:03 PM  
Blogger Kelly Swails said...

I love "Tom Cruise Crazy" and his covers of "Baby Got Back" and "We are the Champions." Oh, and "The Presidents" is like 5th-grade-government awesomeness.

Jonathon Coulton rules.

September 16, 2008 4:05 PM  
Blogger Summer said...

... He had me at 'squid'.

September 16, 2008 11:26 PM  
Blogger Sedulo said...



Felicia Day will be appearing in an episode of 'House' on Monday, September 22.

Go Felicia!

September 17, 2008 10:45 AM  
OpenID Mike F. said...

Ever since I read Pat's interview at sfsite I knew he was a man of taste!

I saw Coulton at PAX in 07 and it turned me into a fanatic immediately. I also caught him at the World Cafe in Philly this year and again at PAX in August.

September 17, 2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the second verse of "Code Monkey" is the theme song to G4's "Code Monkeys" which is the only thing that channel has going for it after they destroyed X-Play and replaced The Screen Savers with Attack of the Show. Anyway, I'm rambling but Jonathan Coulton is good.

September 18, 2008 4:46 PM  

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