Chemistry Class (Look My Way!)

Transfer Point – Chemistry Class (Look My Way!) | download mp3

This song is the first track on our new EP, Right On Time. Head over to the album page to learn more. You can also stream and purchase the EP on our BandCamp page.

Words and music by Transfer Point

When I look your way I can see the future calling
I can see it today:
You’re standing by my side, holding my hand
Won’t you look my way?
Just a glance in my direction
Can I catch your eye?

We are like two chemicals — we’re stronger when combined
I can’t reach my fullest force without your hand in mine.

Every subject, every lecture
No matter what I do
This class is not about general chemistry
It’s about me and you
Just a glance in my direction
Can I catch your eye?

We are like two chemicals — we’re stronger when combined
I can’t reach my fullest force without your hand in mine.

Will you share your electrons with me?
We’ll form a stable compound, you see.

I’ve got that energy of activation
If only I could reach your heart
We could move into transition state
Let this reaction start
Just a glance in my direction
Will you look my way?

We are like two chemicals — we’re stronger when combined
I can’t reach my fullest force without your hand in mine.

Tom Sanderson: vocals, keyboards, drums, recording
Alan Sanderson: vocals, guitars, xylophone, recording, editing, mixing, mastering

Tom’s Notes

In spring, 2021 I managed to come up with a few song fragments, a couple of which developed into full recorded songs. The bit of funky music that became the chorus segment and also the solo/bridge in this song was one of those. In August after we had cleared our pool of collaborations, Alan asked me what we were going to do next. I gave him most of the decent demos I had and he listened to them one weekend. This one sparked the most ideas for him at the time.

It was Alan who suggested a merger between his song fragment which was originally titled “Tautomer Eyes” and my unfinished piece. I totally agreed and could see the two fragments combined but there was a bit of style difference. After one not-so-splendid attempt to make a basic track, I finally put down something that would be a suitable scaffolding. As is sometimes the case, the temporary “framework” (in this case a temporary piano track) became fused to the arrangement and it sounded a bit empty without it until the song and recording developed.

Lyrically, we roughly followed Alan’s initial concept (see his notes) since my fragment didn’t have a melody and I didn’t have a plan for the words. I suggested to Alan a “lazy baritone” melody for his verses and went through a few variations of three-part harmony vocals for the choruses. I did submit words for these parts as a satellite to Alan’s verse lyrics.

There were a few weeks were I think both of us hit creative snags on this project. We could both tell it was a great idea but it was hard to get the polish out to make the end product shine. Again, great credit is due to Alan’s know-how in editing to copy and paste segments and shift them around until the sound fits – digital jigsaw puzzle solving.

Alan’s Notes

In my second semester at the University of Utah I noticed the same good looking girl in my chemistry, biology, and trigonometry classes. These were all in large amphitheater classrooms with 100-200 students, and I found my eyes continually drawn to her. Eventually she noticed me too, and the rest is history (as discussed on this blog before).

An early draft of this song tried to fold in an analogy from all of the classes I had with her, but it seemed to work best to focus on chemistry. (I did manage to spin off a trigonometry love song that we will hopefully share here someday. Stay tuned!)

The guitar part for the verse is an old riff that dates from my college days. Here is a sketch I recorded in about 2005:

Alan Sanderson – Tautomer Eyes (2005 sketch)

This old sketch had a working title of “Tautomer Eyes,” which is a nerdy chemistry pun. Linus Pauling was working on the structure of DNA back in the 1950’s, but he couldn’t figure out how to make the base pairs match up because he had the wrong tautomeric forms of the bases. Watson and Crick had the correct tautomeric forms, and with Rosalind Franklin’s x-ray crystallography results they were able to deduce the correct structure of the double helix with the base pairs in the center. So my idea was to make a song with the line, “How can I hydrogen bond with your tautomer eyes?”

The final result was maybe not quite as geeky as that, but there are some references to transition state chemistry in the 3rd verse. The general chemistry class in which I met my wife was held in a building named for Henry Eyring, one of the founders of transition state theory. (And another bit of trivia: I started the Wikipedia article for Henry Eyring in January 2003 while sitting in a chemistry lab in the Henry Eyring Building.)

Henry Eyring Building on University of Utah campus, Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Alan Sanderson (2016).

I really love Tom’s contributions to this recording. The chorus has an infectious groove and the polyphonic voices in the last chorus repeats are really satisfying. Tom always seems to know just what a song needs to round out its sound. I’m glad we were able to merge these pieces and find a home for my old guitar riff within his funky tune.

Info and Stats

Alan Sanderson

writing: https://medicineandfaith.com music: https://sanderson.band

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