February 17, 2010 7:42 PM

I'm starting in on the final recordings for the album in a month, and I've started with this big epic third track. Still needs work but it's a good start.

I've been putting off getting seriously down to work, and today didn't start off great for turning that around but I'm starting to feel like it'll be possible to get at least close to what I wanted to accomplish this month.

I've got a whole bunch of detail about what's right and wrong with this, as well as the original scratch demo for comparison, over on my blog.

posted by cortex (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite


When's the last time
You took a shower
When's the last time
You washed your clothes
When's the last time that you bothered
With anything at all

When's the last time
You felt like eating
When's the last time
You could even taste your food
When's the last time
You remember feeling good

You're pathetic
Just a sad sack
Just an empty fucking shell
Living in your little hell

When's the last time
She said she loved you
When's the last time
You held her in your arms
What're all the things
You never thought you'd
Have to live without

You regret it
Wish you could edit out
The awful things you said
When you both were seeing red

Now it's over
And your trapped with
All your anger and self-doubt
And you just can't shut it out

posted by cortex at 7:46 PM on February 17, 2010

I'm no expert on music, how to make music, or what's good, right or whatnot, so consider that...but here's my thought(s).

First off, I like this track. I especially like the lyrics. The problem with it for me is that it all sounds too hopeful. I want your voice to sound more resigned. Broken. Less even, more highs and lows. Cracking and almost careless at the edges maybe. I don't know how one would do it. Maybe you need to wake up at 3:00 am and just do it, tired and irritated. I don't know. You know.

What do you think?
posted by iamkimiam at 11:08 PM on February 17, 2010

I agree with iamkimiam. You do sound almost too happy for a song with lyrics like these.

I could hear you doing this as a spoken word song, in a sullen, depressed sort of tone. That would work really well, I think.

Otherwise, this is great!
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:07 AM on February 18, 2010

Heh, interesting response; I hadn't really thought to worry that it'd be insufficiently down-seeming. I can experiment with deadening the affect a bit I guess, we'll see.

Hopefully some of the job will be done just by contrast, with the final product; this'll be the third track on the album right after a second track that's much more uptempo and which is explicitly in the tone of FUCK YEAH IT'S AWESOME THAT I'M SINGLE NOW, so the drop (made explicit in a lyrical tag moving from one to the other) should set up this to be a mood-swing downer by comparison.

But that's just the theory, I guess I'll see what happens in practice.

Spent the evening thinking about the length of the thing. I think I may need to cut about half of the early guitar solo for length; no reason to go on that long over the verse vamp when there's so much of it anyway. Also, the long intro won't be so long on the album—I'm going to cross-fade from the outro of the previous song, so I recorded more than I probably need.
posted by cortex at 6:29 AM on February 18, 2010

I disagree. I don't think that the vocals are too happy. Part of why the tone works for me, I think, is that the song is in the second person. So even if the singer is just one voice within the pathetic character--him talking to himself--it's the part of him that realizes what a mess he is. So it's the part of him that is crawling towards some sort of critical distance on the extended post-relationship hangover/crash.

That said, it's really frickin' vulnerable. Which is the point, I guess. If I were to try to do this tune, I know that my impulse would be to lower the vocals in the mix, changing the focus of the mix so that the wash of guitar fuzzback and keyboard chords would be the self-hate that he's drowning in. But then again, I might feel cowardly while I did it. You do heart-on-sleeve a lot better than I do.

But really, if this is part of a record made in a month, this is an epic, ambitious, fully formed song. I really like it. Move on! Go go go go. We should only have this conversation if you had two weeks to tweak and twiddle.
posted by umbĂș at 9:10 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I also disagree. This is pretty heavy and harsh. The end-fade hammers it down too, like a muted exclamation point.
posted by snsranch at 5:12 PM on February 19, 2010

Oh, btw, I meant heavy and harsh EMOTIONALLY!
posted by snsranch at 3:05 PM on February 20, 2010

I ended up making some small changes to this for the album—I retracked the vocals to tweak a couple of little bits near the end (and I threw some filtering on the stuff during the break, the left and right harmonies) and replaced that guitar solo—but it's not such a big change that I feel like I should make another post out of it. You can check the finished version out over on yonder.
posted by cortex at 7:40 AM on March 3, 2010

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