EMPATH: THE LUCKIEST SMURF
"The Producers' Notes On The Making Of 'Ray Of Sunshine'"
Written by Vic George
INTRODUCTION by EMPATH:
At the time when Handy first came out with the crystal disk player that could play music with crystal-clear sound, this smurf suggested to Smurfette that she should create an album that would feature her excellent singing voice. Smurfette already had some song ideas in mind, but she had no idea how to put these ideas to music, so this smurf hired the help of Orbit Smurf from Smurfs Without Hats to compose music with this smurf and Smurfette. After composing the first several songs of this album, this smurf invited the help of the Smurflings (who were already famous with their “Smurfbop” song) as well as Sloppy Smurf from Azrael Rocks and Harmony Smurf (who normally doesn’t play very good on any instrument, but here surprised us to no end) to play the instruments we needed for the songs, with Spinner Smurf doing the recording, mixing, and editing part. During the recording session, Smurfette came up with some more song ideas which were then composed and recorded by the musical team on hand. By the end of the week, we had our Smurfette album finished, sounding just the way we wanted it. Spinner suggested that the title of the album should be “Ray Of Sunshine”, and with Vanity’s photo-smurfer on hand and Tailor modeling a prototype dress made for Smurfette in the Imaginarium, we gave the album its cover. Judging from the initial success of the album’s release, this smurf would have to say it’s one of the best pieces of work this smurf had the honor of creating with Smurfette, and the other Smurfs who were part of the recording sessions had the same feeling also.
All songs (listed in track order) were written by Smurfette and Empath, with additional collaboration from Orbit. Smurfette wrote the lyrics, while Empath and Orbit wrote the music.
|Personnel (from left to right):
Sassette, Orbit, Slouchy, Snappy, Nat, Sloppy, Smurfette, Empath, Harmony
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Empath (acoustic guitar), Snappy (drums), Sloppy (caterwauling guitar), Sassette (BVs)
SMURFETTE: Originally, this was to be titled "Drowned Smurf", since this was about a Smurf who felt drowned in the public spotlight that he or she was smurfed and couldn't escape from. It relates well to both me and Empath, since we both felt very uncomfortable being smurfed into roles that we didn't want to be smurfed in in the first place. Empath thought the song would be better smurfing more about me than about him, so he helped me rewrite it into how it currently smurfs. We couldn't figure out how to fit "no substitute for being a Smurf" into the chorus, so we just shortened it down to "no substitute for Smurf".
EMPATH: Smurfette's song about the fruitless search for love from another Smurf while ignoring the love for herself was very brilliant. It was recorded with part acoustical arrangements and part smurfesizer melodies.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Snappy (drums), Sassette (BVs), Sloppy (caterwauling guitar)
SMURFETTE: This was inspired by Empath showing me how the Imaginarium works when we smurfed that Summer Solstice celebration in it. Inside the Imaginarium, I felt like I could escape from everything that was expected of me and just simply be myself.
EMPATH: Sloppy shines on this song with his caterwauling guitar riffs. This smurf can only admire his skill, but would not ever try to emulate it because this smurf somehow prefers a more "clean sound" as a personal playing style. The water sounds at the beginning and the end were recorded by Spinner, who later mixed it in after the recording of this song was finished.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Empath (acoustic guitar), Sloppy (caterwauling guitar), Nat (dulcimer), Snappy (drums)
SMURFETTE: This song was written first by both me and Empath, since he suggested that an entire music collection must have a central theme smurfing through it. I decided to make that theme be all about my transmurfation -- first from being a creation of Gargamel to being a real Smurf, then later from being indecisive about having one Smurf to think about smurfing a future with to smurfing all my thoughts about Empath. Not that I never appreciated anything the other Smurfs smurfed for me, because if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have cared much for the one Smurf that I may want to smurf my entire life with. We were finished with the lyrics when we presented it to Orbit upon Empath's suggestion, and he smurfed up such a weird spacey rhythm for it that somehow I couldn't resist smurfing this song to.
EMPATH: The lyrics encapsulate Smurfette's life up to this point, being used a pawn for an evil human wizard, then being a real Smurf, then being the object of every Smurf's affection, then wanting only one Smurf to have as her true love, then learning that she could do more with her life than just living as an object of every Smurf's affection, then learning that the blue clay she came from was actually a group of living beings known as Morphs, then losing that portion of herself when Baby Smurf transformed her again into a real Smurf. The refrain "smurfing like a ray of sunshine" was appropriate for giving the song its title since it best describes what Smurfette is -- a ray of sunshine that came to brighten up a Smurf's life through his darkest days. This smurf likes the acoustical intro this smurf had given playing the guitar before it launches into Orbit's spacey dance melody. Nat and Snappy had no problems playing along with it. (Additional note: Spinner also did a few different remixes of this song that are contained on the “Ray Of Sunshine” single. And on a somewhat sad and final note, the original version of the song ended up being a bit too long, so Spinner did the honors of reducing its running time of 7 minutes and 33 seconds down to 5 minutes and 23 seconds. Sloppy's guitar solo near the end of the original version ended up being on one of the remixes of the song.)
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Empath (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Snappy (drums), Slouchy (turntable), Sassette (BVs), Sloppy (caterwauling guitar)
SMURFETTE: Greedy and his smurfberry candy was my inspiration for this song. I can't forget that day when he smurfed up his annual batch of smurfberry candy for every Smurf. It was so delicious it was hard for me not to smurf more than one drop, even though it was supposed to last a whole year since no Smurf was given more than 365 drops of smurfberry candy. (I could only guess what Greedy smurfs for leap years!) I felt bad when I smurfed up all my candy too soon and I felt like I wanted more.
EMPATH: Orbit suggested this song should be done as a duet after he developed the melody for it, and this smurf knew which parts he wanted this smurf to sing. Though it was originally intended for Smurfette to sing alone, this smurf obliged and sang those parts on cue. To help Smurfette sing her parts along with the melody, this smurf invited Greedy into the studio with the promise of a smurfberry sundae. Sloppy wasn't "smurfing like a rose" when he played his caterwauling guitar riffs for this song, so this smurf basically shielded every Smurf present with this smurf's third eye from his stench. After it was finished, Smurfette playfully warned this smurf to stop teasing the animals in the Smurf Village...and this smurf knows she meant the other male Smurfs!
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Nat (dulcimer), Snappy (drums), Sassette (BVs)
SMURFETTE: Empath told me of that day when he first visited the Smurf Village when was about 70, and how he felt so embarrassed when he smurfed on Smurf clothes for the first time. I realize that it was the Psyches that smurfed this ridiculous fear of his own body into his head, especially when years later I had to help Empath see that he shouldn't be so ashamed of himself. This song was written about that fear and embarrassment.
EMPATH: This song isn't much on lyrics, but this smurf knows that Smurfette is physically attracted to most of the adult male Smurfs in the village, not including Papa Smurf, but definitely including this smurf. Orbit gave this song a pulse-pounding beat meant for dancing to, and immediately Smurfette, Harmony, and the Smurflings just took to performing along with it like they knew this song by heart. This smurf could sense somehow that the temperature in Orbit's studio had risen to a fever level. By the time we were finished recording, even this smurf felt all hot and sweaty. This smurf believes it was the power of Smurfette's voice singing out the lyrics that most likely caused this temperature change.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Snappy (drums), Sassette (BVs)
SMURFETTE: This song is basically a continuation of "Ray Of Sunshine". There isn't a whole lot more that I can comment on.
EMPATH: Another upbeat song that underscores Smurfette's determination to make something more of herself than just being beautiful for nothing, which she once told this smurf. The music composed for this song matches the mood of its lyrics. It was finished in one single take.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Snappy (drums)
SMURFETTE: My time with the feminist imp named Materialle, who I only admire for her style of dress if not how she and her fellow Feminis used the male imps among her kind, smurfed something in me that forever changed how I smurfed myself as far as appearances smurf. Ever since I smurfed on those pair of jeans she and I smurfed up in Tailor's shop, I felt more comfortable wearing those than that silly small flower dress. Not that I don't enjoy smurfing off my legs every now and then.
EMPATH: Smurfette amused this smurf with the lyrics of this song. She intended it to be a fun commentary about Tailor's, Cobbler's, and Barber's lack of style and fashion, not an all-out attack. Of course, Tailor thought otherwise, feeling that he always thought Smurfette looked more beautiful in his dresses than in anything else. Cobbler and Barber refused to comment, though this smurf can sense that they also are affected by its lyrical content. Vanity, who actually liked Smurfette's new appearances better than those three Smurfs mentioned, was very supportive and encouraged her to keep the lyrics as they are.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Sassette (tambourine, BVs)
SMURFETTE: One of my favorite books from the Smurf house of archives was about a princess in a distant kingdom who was smurfing for inner peace within herself, when a wise man who had traveled from afar came to tell the princess that she could smurf no further than where she is to find it. The lyrics to this song came from this story.
EMPATH: This smurf is uncertain about this particular song and where it came from, but this smurf and Orbit came up with a suitable melody that goes well with it. Orbit's musical influences continue to astound this smurf to the point of wondering. Sassette enjoyed performing on this song with a tambourine.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Harmony (violins), Snappy (drums), Sassette (BVs)
SMURFETTE: A song originally written for the Smurfstock festival under the title "Frozen", which I performed very well even though it was when Vladimir Smurfula had smurfed out of his coffin to smurf his advances toward me, making me believe I was his long-lost Elismurfetta.
EMPATH: This smurf helped Smurfette rewrite the song from what it was originally composed as, and helped Orbit compose the hauntingly beautiful orchestration to it. Brainy couldn't believe that Orbit didn't have the entire Village Smurphony Orchestra in his studio when it was recorded -- not that every member of it could even play in the studio, instruments and all, because of its small space. Nevertheless, we were pleased with its results.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Empath (acoustic guitar), Snappy (drums)
SMURFETTE: The time when I found out that the blue clay I was smurfed from was actually a race of beings called the Morphs, being linked with them and then being trapped among them until Baby Smurf smurfed me back into a real Smurf for good, was what I was thinking of when I smurfed the lyrics to this song.
EMPATH: Another ballad that made Brainy think Orbit had the entire Village Smurphony Orchestra in his studio. Orbit and this smurf composed the music to make it sound heavenly and spiritual, as if Smurfette herself was ready to sprout angel's wings. Sassette nearly broke into tears after we finished recording it.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Empath (acoustic guitar), Nat (bass), Snappy (tambourine), Sassette (BVs)
SMURFETTE: I think back to those days when every Smurf had showered me with so much attention, I wished that I could smurf them off with a stick. I appreciated the fact that they all wanted to marry me, but I smurfed them that I was too young to think about marrying and that I couldn't love one Smurf more than another. But even as the years smurfed by, I still keep thinking about the one Smurf I would want to marry someday, and somehow none of the Smurfs that smurfed into my mind seem like the perfect match. Watching the marriage of Laconia the flower sprite to Woody the panpiper made this question really smurf out.
EMPATH: Orbit liked the music he and this smurf composed for this song, but this time he felt left out because it was intended to be mostly acoustical. This smurf played the guitar, Nat played the bass cello that we borrowed from Harmony, Snappy to his chagrin had to switch over to a tambourine, and Sassette did backing vocals, including the tag line "not any Smurf will do" and a very strange background chant that sounds like something written in Papa Smurf's spellbooks…though in actuality it’s just something the Smurflings made up for the fun of it.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Nat (nature sounds), Snappy (drums)
SMURFETTE: I had to smurf a song for Baby Smurf because I was the one who wrote that letter to whoever smurfed Baby Smurf to the village and now wanted him back, smurfing that it was unfair to smurf a child away from a loving family who would smurf care of him. Little did I know until later that Baby Smurf actually came from that Smurfling Island where the Smurflings themselves smurfed from. The title of the song came from that one night where Dreamy smurfed the moon actually did turn blue.
EMPATH: Composing music for a ballad like this mixing fast beats with floaty melodies was a challenge, and yet Orbit and this smurf came up with the right combination that matched the quality of Smurfette's angelic vocals.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Nat (nature sounds)
SMURFETTE: I don't know why I called this "Mermaid Smurf", since the song has nothing to do with mermaids. It's probably because I remember the time Marina the mermaid, whom Handy had smurfed in love with, smurfed her way up the River Smurf to find the cure for her ailing father King Aquarius in the pool of Avalon. Or maybe it was the time when I was accidentally smurfed into a mermaid. Anyway, this song is more about realizing my own mortality and even though Smurfs will live long lives, they won't live forever, as Empath had smurfed me when he had those visions of what fate had in smurf for the Smurf Village centuries from now.
EMPATH: It's very beautifully written. This smurf knows Smurfette has a fear of mortality, as does this smurf. Orbit found the right mellow melody for this song which sounds like it could have been used for "A Good Day To Swim", but it was more like a storm was coming.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Empath (acoustic guitar), Snappy (banging gongs, bass drum)
SMURFETTE: Another song written along the same lines of "Who Shall I Have To Hold", not exactly the smurfiest song on this album. It's about asking the powers-that-smurf what my intended purpose in the world is. "No Substitute For Being A Smurf" is the answer to this song's question.
EMPATH: It sounded like a very spiritual song that Smurfette doesn't give herself much credit for, because despite its simple lyrics, this smurf can relate very well to its subject material. Orbit seems to agree to that and thought musically it should be linked to "Smurfi Ashtangi". The banging gongs in its introduction are an excellent touch that even Smurfette likes hearing.
Musicians: Smurfette (vocals), Orbit (smurfesizer), Empath (acoustic guitar), Nat (bass), Snappy (drums), Slouchy (BVs), Sassette (BVs), Harmony (flute), Sloppy (caterwauling guitar)
SMURFETTE: This song was written exclusively for Empath. I can't smurf too much about it because the lyrics pretty much smurf everything that I have to smurf.
EMPATH: Orbit created the music for it when Slouchy gave him a drawing he did of Smurfette as a secret agent named Felicity Smurfwell -- "Smurfwell by name, smurfs very well by reputation". Apparently, Slouchy has an amorous infatuation with Smurfette, as does Nat and Snappy, but this artistic creation was more than what this smurf had expected from an infinitely patient young Smurf. Orbit decided to use this image to create a melody that was more like that for "Smurfberry Candy Girl", but more spirited. (Additional note: "Why It Has To Be" and "Luckiest Male Smurf" almost didn't make it into the album. Spinner thought that the first thirteen songs were pretty much enough for Smurfette's first album, but Smurfette lobbied for their inclusion, and this smurf and Orbit agreed along with the rest of the musicians. Spinner later did a club remix version of "Luckiest Male Smurf" that's featured in the single.)
EMPATH: After all the recording was done for those 15 songs and Spinner mixed them all into this album, Orbit, Sloppy, and the Smurflings were itching to record at least one more song, though it wouldn't be used for anything except maybe another crystal disk album. Smurfette conceded, and thus we went ahead and performed Orbit's original song "I Was Made For Smurfing You", which Smurfette liked and sang to with such passion and energy it felt like such a shame this effort wouldn't be recognized. Fortunately, Spinner mixed this track after it was finished and released it on the "Luckiest Male Smurf" single.