SONG: Small


“Small” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on Science News, 4 Feb 2021, “A new chameleon species may be the world’s tiniest reptile”, as used in the post “Just discovered: world’s tiniest reptile”.

I managed to write and record this entirely in one day, which pleases me. I was doing other things, too. I knew earlier that I’d do a song about the tiny chameleon, and I knew I’d write the song to be short, as befits the reptile’s size. But I didn’t really know how I’d structure it until I thought: Polonium and haiku are both small things that can be powerful. What rhymes with haiku? I suppose the bits and pieces that fell into place around that owe something structurally to “Smile,” one of my favorite Stephin Merritt songs, but the idea that the very cute, very small reptile is really a lethal hunter came straight from polonium and haiku.

But it’s true – the tiny chameleons are predators. They hunt for a living. And if they’re like other chameleons, Brookesia nana have camouflage, too. Deadly little assassins.

So, the words came first, then some small-sounding drums (mostly from a SoundFont orchestral drum set labeled “sound effects” – I think there’s a heartbeat or footstep in there, and a portion of a laugh), then a ukulele part, another pitched-high ukulele part, some backing vocals based on the little guy’s scientific name because, “nana” – who can resist that? Got the old toy piano out of the living room. Then a double bass to round out the low end, some tweaking with panning and filters and whatnot, and here. A tiny song about a tiny killer.

I’m happy with it.


From small nose to curling tail
Chameleon camo scales
A hunter who never fails
The small prevails.

Small (nana)
What could a small thing do? (nana)
Like polonium or haiku (nana)
As long as one’s aim is true (nana)
The target falls. (nana – Brookesia nana)
So small. (nana – Brookesia nana)

So small.