I'm going to do a short post tonight for the sake of time and dramatic effect.
These songs are "Dangling Off The Ledge." Why? Because they're so close to inclusion but ultimately they probably won't make the jump.
20. Three Fingers
This song is based on a true story that I heard at work. The events described in the song actually occurred at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts. No lie. In short the story is that this no-legged, one-armed cripple with three fingers was sitting on the ground, probably watching the parade go by, when someone stepped on his fingers. I mean, what are the odds, given how few he had? Fortunately this moment of irony has now been forever preserved in Three Fingers. Musically I'd say it's quite a departure from most Moon Is No More Songs. Originally recorded on accoustic and this seems like the type of song that should stay that way, what with it's gentle plucking and all. Lyrically, I always felt the rhymes and flow of the words, though simplistic, worked well. A sampling from the chorus-y part of the song: "he didn't look appealing / looked like he was kneeling / seemed like he was feeling / sad for what he's missing." The nice thing about this song is that it doesn't take itself too seriously, yet it stops short of being goofy. Originally we had an incorrect line: "he didn't have arms / didn't do much harm / missing a finger and a thumb / just a cripple though not dumb." I believe it was Bam! Bam! Emily Brown that pointed out the fact that he would obviously be missing a finger and thumb if he had no arms. The line was easily changed to "he had just one arm."
19. Pitying Bowls Of Saucy Lovelessness
Wow! I never thought I would live to see the day that this song would rank so high on a Moon Is No More list. Unfortunately, there was no denying the energy that this song brought to the table when we played it live at the final Moon Is No More show at the Zeitgeist Gallery. The guitar hook and driving drums were unstoppable. Because of the style of the song my lack of vocal talents are minimized. I'm basically talking really fast with a slight funny accent. The lyrics come from a short story I had written and I'll reprint them in their entirety here since they're so short. The song consists of me speaking these lyrics at varying speeds three times. "you've reached equality and that can't be good for your head to be giant apples of wisdom does harm like rational mosquitoes that comment on your sweet refined blood your pitying bowls of saucy lovelessness." Yo! Yao! Far out!
18. A Good Conscience Is One You Have Yet To Find
A happy little song about compulsive dishonesty. The bottom line is we play this song very well. We always have. It's a short, easy to like grungey pop song that features gourds. How can you not like that? And I even get to play the gourds, marking one of my very few moments on an instrument (if you can call it that). I sing it decent, in a raging, rasping kind of way. We developed a great way to record it: the song starts with acoustic guitars and no bass and then all of a sudden jumps into electric and bass and drums and then finishes back where it started. It's just solid, not much more to say. Plus, how many songs do you know have the phrase "ad naseum?" I almost titled this A Good Conscience Is One You've Yet To Find and then realized that I hate to have contractions in my song titles so I went with A Good Conscience Is One You Have Yet To Find. And that little story is a explanation enough why song titles should be short. And that's the ideal segue to talk about...
I could easily be convinved to move this song higher, if only because I think the 12 Brothers EP is solid every which way around. This is one of the weaker ones of the bunch, though so here we have it at 17. As Joshua tended to do with 12 Brothers, he nailed the music. The anti-chorus slowdown is a perfect fit for Investment. A lot of research went into the lyrics for this song to ensure that the investment terminology was just right. When we talk about cattle options and whether we're selling or buying it has to be accurate. I mean, I work at an investment company. If I can't get that right I'd be in big trouble. Fortunately, Consultant Maikowski provided some insights into the world of option trading. It's actually a very interesting methodology but you have to really get it down before jumping in and I'd say it requires a bit more time than normal stock trading, though you can hedge your bets and decrease your risk quite a bit. But I'm getting off topic. Of course, this song is about brother number 12 getting back into the business world in the Southwest, after sneaking back over the border from Mexico. He gets an entry level position at an investment bank. "here's your cube and welcome to our firm / you can make it here if you can just grin and bear it / though the ladder climbing's slow here / so your shoes had better wear." That's a great verse in my opinion, not for emotional impact, but for pure flow and word usage. It's actually one of my all-time favorites. Of course, #12 has some bright ideas and he's willing to share. "senor this offer's window's getting narrow / so you need to sign up quick / if you dream of spending millions / then i suggest you listen to my picks / and i'll be right here to help you understand the risks" Another great verse. Joshua may have tampered with the ending to this one for the better so he deserves some credit. Then we get to the chorus. "cattle options / expire in seven years / you can sell them / in two thousand eleven." What can I say? It was 2004 when I wrote it so the numbers worked. Seven was the key figure we had to go with (for obviously reasons if you know the story) so our timeline got set in stone. Then we break into a little more Spanish just to prove we're in the Southwest (but I think it works). "mijo you've made some wise decisions / and now we'll be sure to make it through this famine / you've earned your new promotion / more money and more power in the balance / more money and more power in the balance." First, this verse is easily the weakest in this song but it's not terrible. It just needs a little polishing. Mainly this is what drags the song down to this spot on the list, it's incompleteness. I do like how we use the word "balance," which is the title of a later track. It adds to the symmetry. Then we go two more rounds with the chorus and altered chorus. "cattle options /expire in seven years / you can sell them / in two thousand eleven / cattle options / expired this year / if you ignored the warning / you'll go hungry i fear." Again, the altered chorus needs more polishing. OK, I've offically written far too much about this song.
16. Room 203, Part I
A simple easy-listening song. This was the fourth Moon Is No More song written and it holds up well. The last recording we ever did of this song came out very well with a full band. The story is about William Donovan Junior being taken to the hospital after the incident at Leonard Gardner's house. He sits in his hospital bed and pesters and nags Jeffrey L. Allen for sympathy by recounting various stories. This song has it all. Hospital references written before Pedro The Lion's Priests and Paramedics. References to suicide. The use of Biblical "times." A great "saved a boy from the wash" line. Probably best of all: Angie "plays" the pillow while I sing "you're so shallow / filled with sorrow / i'm a pillow / i'm a pillow." Any song featuring a pillow as an instrument gets an automatic bye into my top 20.
Next up we'll be discussing "The Fuzzy Edge" songs, 15-11.