Humbler than Thou (studio version rough)

March 19, 2017 3:50 AM

This song originally came together accidentally while I was setting up my VR drum kit for my son for Christmas, as I posted about here at the time. Yesterday I decided to try to do a studio version and this is how it's coming out so far. It's pretty far along but I expect to add some horns before it's all said and done.

It blows my mind a little this is what I was working on when Chuck Berry died because his song "Johnny B Goode" was part of what first gave me the idea to try to earn money from making music as a kid, starting out playing gigs on drums at fifteen, and this is one of the first tunes I've played drums on in many years.

If peeling onions makes you cry
You'd better stay out
Of the kitchens where I dine
Peeling off one layer at a time
I see you naked
And you pretend not to mind

I say, whoa, everybody knows
I've been
Down and out for so long
That I can't sin!

It hits me right between the eyes
The more I want something
The more I'll be denied
In a perverse display of pride
I ride my high horse upside down
Into the sky

I say, whoa, everybody knows
I've been
Down and out for so long
That I can't sin!

posted by saulgoodman (5 comments total)


I feel like the levels on the backing vocals relative to the drum track could use a bit of tweaking; I like the backing vocals a lot, and the way that they're filling the role of most of the instrumentation, but the drums kinda drown them out. (Especially like the pitch-shifted one late in the song in the right channel.)
posted by kaibutsu at 9:25 PM on March 19, 2017

Thanks for the note!
posted by saulgoodman at 6:39 AM on March 20, 2017

The (very active) drums are forward, but I only think to comment on that since you mentioned them in your blurb. The bass is what jumped out at me first and holds it together. Had to listen a couple of times to get a sense of what the song was about (meaning it was more about the music than the lyrics for my ears).
posted by comealongpole at 3:18 PM on March 25, 2017

I'm a little torn about possibly mixing out the backing vocals that sort of mimic the main bass line. On one hand, they seem to add an interesting texture and I think with a little more attention to the mix, I could find a better place for them to sit without muddying the mix too much the way I think they do now. On the other hand, I only recorded them that way originally because I had the idea and wanted to get it down before I could borrow a bass to lay down a real bass line with...
posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 PM on March 27, 2017

I'd say play with the dynamics, the rise and fall of the intensity of the drums, and at the same time take out the bass and use the vocals-only version. This song is good but it needs time to stretch out and breathe and introduce the bits of itself before going full-throttle. Not that it doesn't sound good full throttle, but it has no rise and fall of action.

I think Horns could help, but not everywhere. It is funky but a little too funky, if you get what i am saying. Like how Fozzie Bear tells jokes: Right? Huh? Yeah! The guys in the balcony get what I'm sayin' right?
posted by not_on_display at 11:09 PM on April 13, 2017

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