Thermodynamics of love (a demo)

As I was composing a few lyrics to a song about thermodynamics (mp3 is further down the page), it quickly occurred to me how the first three laws could easily describe various elements of love.

You've got the first law, a testament to bookkeeping, where explicit in equations like dU=dQ-dW is the idea that what you'll get out (a relationship) is directly determined by what you put in (to a relationship).

Then, of course, there is the second law - a statement on the notion of entropy, often laymanized (is that a word?) as a reflection of "disorder." (I don't think anyone would argue about the disorderly nature of love).

Finally, you have the third law, which addresses the thermodynamic principle of absolute zero - a place where everything stops, and presumably a bad place to be in a relationship.

Anyway, a bit of a stretch I'll admit, but song lyrics are great outlets for metaphorically attuned stretches, right?

So here below, I present lyrics and a demo recording of the song I wrote with regard to this previous post. Maybe a little later I'll try to fill the recording out a bit with a layer of fuzz, a tinkly piano bit, and some subtle drumming if the feedback is positive. Better yet, if you are a member of They Might Be Giants and you want to cover this, then that would be awesome (hey, a geneticist can dream can't he?):


demo mp3


First you have one
It says a ton
Basically saying that something can't come from nothing

Gives you the sum, of things to and from, making it all - total up - all working out

I should have you all figured
With a law like this in mind
Listen to my reasoning
You should know by now

The thermodynamics of love.

Then you have two
Messing with you
Telling you life is a journey full of disorder
Giving off heat, ordinary feat, and telling you work a bit harder - figure it out.


ITS very simple
very rational
really excerptional
just universal

absolute zero
not moving on
stuck in a standstill
we're not responsible

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Nice. I think it sounds pretty good as is - guitar fuzz doesn't seem like the best way to go. Could be a little longer though.

By Ingridgeek (not verified) on 14 Apr 2009 #permalink

Wow - that's really good. Are you thinking of doing more?

Not bad at all - kind of like a non nasal Sondre Lerche.

However, I must protest - shouldn't the music also reflect the laws as well? In other words, shouldn't there be copious amounts of distortion around the second verse on entropy. Shouldn't the last lilting refrain (the shift in tempo and chord progression is nice by the way) be something that just feels like absolute zero - maybe spacey or atmospheric?

Just my two cents, but will check back for more when you have another song, or another call for topic requests.

Another scientist writing music? WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TO?

No fuzz. Song is too soft for a transition to it.

If you used a click track and can give me a bpm, then you're welcome to send it to me at ToasterDOTSunshineATgmailDOTcom (currently only able to do anything with Audacity files, no ProTools please) and I'll drop an incongruous beat in behind it. If you want, I can even add bass guitar and cello.

Some of the science music I have composed is up at

Hey Toaster,

Thanks for the kind words and the offer. Unfortunately, it sounds like music jargon is as intense as science jargon. Not sure what Audacity or Protools are, and I'm guessing the BPM was the clicking note in the background (which I kind of ignored since I was wearing headphones when I banged this out). Next time, I'll try and coordinate the bpm stuff, and we'll go from there.

Bad Religion has a similarly themed song about the Second Law, called Entropy: Don't speak to me of anarchy or peace or calm revolt,
man, we're in a play of slow decay orchestrated by Boltzmann