Church, Mosque, Church, Mosque, Church, Mosque, Mosque

I finished the first draft of the lyrics for a song called Church, Mosque, Church, Mosque, Church, Mosque, Mosque, which is about traveling in Istanbul. The title is meant to be descriptive of the cityscape, which, when viewed from any vantage point, is pretty much that: spires of churches and domes and minarets of mosques piled all over the hills. I just wanted this song to be a rapid fire catalog of impressions and images, like you might get from a whirlwind walk through the city.

What's the pinkish tinge you see all over?

What's the pinkish tinge you see all over?

So this song, in particular, at least in this draft, doesn't have any narrative direction. It's just a series of pictures. Is that fun to listen to? I mean, isn't that the musical equivalent of sitting around looking at someone's boring vacation photos? I want this song to convey my scattered impressions of the city, but I also want it to be clear to you what's happening and what I'm seeing. So I guess, yeah, this is a collection of vacation photos disguised as a song, hopefully without the boring part. Here is the lyric so far:

Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!
Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!

 We’re standing on the border of Europe and Asia.
We’re standing with the tall grass at our feet.
There’s a castle on the hill, come on I’ll race ya!
I want to float on my back in the black Black Sea.

Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!
Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!

 Hear the mewing of the stray cats under the tables.
Hear the moaning of the beggars in the alleyways.
Catch the calls from the stalls and the market stables.
Another prayer call crawls out over the bay.

 Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!
Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!

 See the multicolored glass dripping off of the ceiling
Onto the ladies saying prayers behind dark screens.
At the other end the men bend over the carpet.
Singing sweet supplications to the East.

 Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!
Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!

 Can you count all the ships slipping into the harbor?
What color crayon would you use to color the waves?
What’s the pinkish tinge you see all over?
Is this the spot where Trojan war once raged?

 Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!
Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!

 Here’s the room where the Sultan’s sons were strangled.
But not before they let them finish their tea.
From the palace where the walls sprawl at odd angles
You could almost throw a rock into the Marmara Sea.

 Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!
Church Mosque Church Mosque Church Mosque, Mosque, Döner place!

I want to float on my back in the black Black Sea.

I want to float on my back in the black Black Sea.

So, reading it over, I can see some things I'd definitely like to fix. The line about the Sultan's sons comes from a story about how in order to avoid fighting over the line of succession, the Sultan had all of his sons who weren't his direct heir strangled. The sons were used to it. It became the culture of the palace. One is even reported to have casually asked, "Can I finish my tea before I'm strangled?" Although that's a good story, it's something I learned later, and it doesn't quite fall in line with the more descriptive passages in the song. Neither does the Trojan war line. Basically, I should change anything that makes the listener go "Wait, what?" and have to look something up on Wikipedia. I should just stick to what I saw, and try to transmit it to you so you can see it, too. I made a little demo of the song as well:

I hear a bit of Mountain Goats in that demo. I wonder what it will sound like when the boys get ahold of it, assuming they even like it. We'll see!