“Alexandra Rhapsody”: Cheeky song targets industry heavyweight Patsavas
by Genevieve Star
A few years ago, when music supervisors were becoming the gatekeeper deities of the industry, independent musicians were keen on breaking into the lucrative market. One such musician, Joe Treewater, realized Alexandra Patsavas’ music supervision company Chop Shop (Twilight saga, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, and dozens of other TV shows and movies) was located in the same small town where he lived. “Not knowing I was writing to a demigod on a higher plane of reality,” Joe states, he emailed Patsavas about his music, mentioned he was local, and asked if they could meet for coffee sometime. Not surprisingly, he never received a reply…
The predictability of the slight didn’t mitigate the sting, and the incident festered for a few years before Treewater vented his discontent via a sardonic unrequited love song entitled “Alexandra Rhapsody,” which floated onto YouTube this summer. At face value, the song communicates a rejected suitor’s inability to connect with a woman; meanwhile, industry cognoscenti will appreciate the knowing winks to the art and business of music supervision: “Alexandra won’t have coffee with me, Hallelujah’s her cup of tea” he sings, referencing the ubiquitous, overly licensed Leonard Cohen song. But a closer listen reveals a subtext of deeper frustration, directed at a flailing industry that has rejected countless talented musicians in favor of mercurial flavors of the month. The song’s varying moods and suite of different styles (everything from pop to folk to grunge to reggae) will likely impair its potential for an actual soundtrack placement, making it almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, the sophisticated nature of the song certainly showcases Treewater’s musical flair (he plays and sings all the parts), and leads one to believe that “Alexandra Rhapsody” could fulfill another purpose.
Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show’s 1973 song “The Cover of the Rolling Stone,” a lament about not being successful enough to be featured in the trendsetting magazine, quickly caught on and landed them on the cover with the humorous caption “What’s-Their-Names Make the Cover.” More recently, musician Dave Carroll was touring with his band when United Airlines smashed his $3,500 guitar and later denied liability. Carroll channeled his angst into the song “United Breaks Guitars,” which received 13 million views on YouTube and became a top iTunes seller. It would seem that protest songs, even those dripping with snarky sarcasm, are still powerful and effective tools in today’s media.
Not much is known about Joe Treewater. His social media pages are plaited with an air of mystery and a Pythonesque bio that composites biographical information from the Gallup list of “The 20 Most Admired People of the 20th Century,” everyone from Gandhi to Billy Graham. His other musical material (an album released earlier this year called The Ice Cream Social) contains similar smartass and poignant observations (Treewater describes himself as “a disappointed reporter on the human condition”).
Is it possible his song can make a dent in an industry inflated by hype? Treewater sings that Patsavas “made it clear she don’t like me,” but it will be interesting to see if he elicits any more response from the music world.