The 53 Best Moon Is No More Songs - The "Living On A Prayer" Songs - 40-31

*** UPDATED ***
One song has appeared and one has disappeared. I'll let you figure out which.

Time for the second edition of the 53 Best Moon Is No More Songs, in honor of Joshua's planned TMINM super-album. This batch of songs, from 40-31, have almost no shot at making this super-album. We still have a few that don't have music as well as some pretty poor work, but also a surprising song or two that Joshua may disagree with. We'll see how it all shakes out.

One thing to note is that this batch contains at least one representation from each of the "releases" that we had crafted. Even Jeffrey L. Allen gets into the mix in here towards the end.

40. A Thick, Wet Snow On A Cold January Morning - This was to be the second to last song of the three original albums. I like snow and this is the only song that includes snow in it, so maybe it gets an artificial boost. In my mind the lyrics were never really finished; they had never been refined. Maybe it gets another boost because I feel the refinements would have made this a really solid song. It's more coherent then most of the songs that I was writing at this point. It's also to be noted for being the second "cold morning" song (more on the first later). I must have had a thing for cold mornings.

39. Last Resort, Part IV - I think Joshua had told me that this song was really good and that I just needed to give it another listen to. Well, I found my CD of Moon Is No More MP3s and I could not for the life of me find a recording of this song. That just confirms my suspicions that it was bogus all along. Therefore this makes a move right down the list.

38. Monday, Part I - Here is the introductory song to the Schoolyard. It really has nothing to do with the characters of the story, but it sets our schoolyard theme of literally being in a schoolyard. It tells the tale of heading back to school on a Monday. In fact, that's the best part and the only reason it ranks this high. The chorus had such a good ring: "summer ends on / a sunday / and school begins on / a monday." Angie later informed me that real school children start school on Tuesdays. That really ruined things for me. Tuesday just doesn't work.

37. Accident - Still no music, though the melody is still floating around in my head, a slow dirge. The lyrics are actually pretty good, but they get extremely clumsy in the final verse. This is a setup song, in a way, to give reason for the protagonists' initial anti-gun stance. Sad, sad stuff.

36. Memorial - This song, intended to be the final song on the Schoolyard, provides a nice wrap-up to the EP. It recounts a memorial service held for the victims of the Schoolyard incident narrated by the deceased protagonist. Walking through some of the lyrics here are some highlights: 1) A Cleary lyric sighting within the first verse. This was more like a tribute than a rip-off (but that's what I always tell myself). "as i watch the sun rise / through another person's eyes." 2) Maybe it gets a little too cutesy with the listing of student names: "billy, kim, and timothy," then later "dawn marie and little joe / jane and jim and chris." 3) A nice comment on infamy: "through all of this despite my fame / there was no mention of my name / apparently there was no bearing." 4) And just to remind us that he's actually dead, and perhaps to confuse us as to his level of remorsefulness, we sum it up with this comment: "it was the most beautiful service / but i am not conscious / of any of this." Still never put music to this.

35. Transfer - Another song with that never received music, though I have memories of trying to craft a Pedro the Lion-esque guitar riff for this with Joshua. In my mind this is a really great lyrical compliment to Popularity. It follows a similar pattern: it starts happy-go-lucky but then quickly turns more sinister. This case is marked by slightly darker shades towards the end as the transfer student gains more and more power amongst the school's elite until a friend informs our protagonist (if you can call him that) regarding his girlfriend: "i heard he drove her home / he's taking over her." All in all in does a decent job of avoiding the typical Schoolyard goofiness, it sets a clear tone and feeling, and it has a nice story arc unto itself. I always enjoyed the chorus, too: "fooling around with us / will make you better off / you'll be productive in / the non-school product."

34. A Root Of All Sorts Of Injurious Things - This song always grated my bleeding ears. The music was only ever so-so and phrase "money money money money money money money money" gets repeated far too often. It's only saving grace is "sister had her needs / so overdosed on speed / failed first with codeine / but the doctors were so mean."

33. A Common Path To A Common Problem - It was tough for me to rank this so low. It had such promise but even at its best it would never be more than a decent, faceless and emotionless pop rock song. There is nothing about it that ever stood out. Joshua came up with great guitar bit for this but it was never a perfect fit. This song has always stood flawed. Too many times we would find a really good guitar part for the first verse of a song, then just reuse it for all subsequent verses, regardless of whether the lyrics worked or not. Too often we were reluctant to change the lyrics of a song, though I'm not sure why. Maybe Joshua can shed some light on that. In any case, it's opening verse, "through the jetway / and onto the plane / daddy can't save / from beyond the grave," was a great setup for An Ambitious Attempt At Failure which was originally slated to come too songs later. It's downhill from there. This song also features a repeated "fail miserably / be happy" section towards the end, a phrase we reused far too much. Believe me, there are no two phrases that work poorer when put to music than those twins.

32. Sunsets - This was originally a Bad Larry song called Anti-Global Rotation (I think). The Moon Is No More stole it to serve as the atmospheric centerpiece for 12 Brothers. It's a jam song, which would have been a tough thing to record in real life. The original recording features some great guitar work by Joshua, some decent bass work by Carl, considering he had never played bass before, some strange ambient sounds by Angie, some truly horrid yet moving drums by myself. On top of all that was layered some half spoken word / half sung lyrics that were actually part of a short story I wrote during a convention break entitled "A Quite Inconsequential War-Time Tale." This just would have never worked on tape.

31. A Telephone Conversation On A Cold September Morning - Here is the first song from the 10 track Jeffrey L. Allen concept, the concept that Joshua and I have been kicking around what seems like half a decade now. Oh, wait, it has been half a decade! In any case, you can imagine how hard it is for me to put this song on here. It started as an undoubtedly acoustic affair and then somehow morphed into an electronic track a la The Postal Service or The Headphones. In actuality by doing so Joshua made this song into so much more than the sum of its parts. I was never built to sing this song, we could never find the necessary female vocalist to complete it, and it just gets too boring towards the end. However, it still remains interesting to this day and may just be a few tweaks away from being resurrected. That's why they say it's "living on a prayer." You just never know.

Join us next time for the middle batch of songs, the ones I've termed the "Sitting On The Fence" songs, 30-21.


Joshua Provost said...

I'm going to fight these posts on philosophical grounds to the death, understand me. To further my argument, consider that Brock and Gabe have little to no reference for these songs, making it difficult for them to participate in the discussion. Done properly, you would post each songs individually, include lyrics (and perhaps different stages of lyrics as it evolved), and a selection of MP3's of our recordings. Then we could actually debate.

I'll tell you what, we can complete this cycle of posts, but when we're done, we should go back and actually post the stuff, and open it to feedback.

39. Monday, Part I - From a indie-pop perspective, this may be one of our finer songs. It instantly is so memorable, and such a great and simple chorus. I know with Schoolyard, you were favoring simplicity and solid ryhme schemes over the flowing randomness of the traditional TMINM songs, and this song is the perfect example. This song makes me want to finish the Schoolyard EP.

35. A Root Of All Sorts Of Injurious Things - This song suffers some common problems of a lot of our songs, even the good ones, which is too many repetitions of choruses. It would bode well for this and Such Things to Such People to combine sets of versus to minimize the choruses. The other common flaw is a bassline that follows the guitar line. I believe this song would be wildly better if the bassline was kept, but the guitar did something else, something interesting. Solid song, and very salvagable.

34. A Common Path To A Common Problem - Yeh, we had something good going, but maybe it didn't fit. The lyrics are solid and good structure, maybe we need to relocate the music to another song and write something new?

33. Sunsets - I can tell already that you are going in a totally different direction than me. The jams as a whole are precious. It's the spontenaity that makes them great, and there's no reason we can't recreate that given that we have recordings. We can use the best improvised stuff and toss what doesn't work. It's perfect.

32. The Gradual Progression Of Loss, Part I - I totally get the Chan Style C. I play this song to myself all the time, and the GPOL2 varient as well, which is better. The problem is that the song is a poem with lines of wildly varying length, and nearly impossible to fit into a song structure. We did play this as a full band, and it was great, with drums that started as bongos and evolved to full drums by the end of the song, with a guitar jam at the end, kind of like Room 203, Part I.

31. A Telephone Conversation On A Cold September Morning - This was 1.07, not the first song, buddy. Quality Over Quantity was number 1. This song is just way too long for what it does. No melody. The best recording is with the first full band, with Angie on drums, and Graham on bass, if you can believe that. This is the absolute low point of the JLA album. I skip it every time.

Jeremy said...

Maybe I'm just too impatient to go through the whole process of posting lyrics and MP3s. Somewhere I have a CD that contains MP3s of just about every recording we ever did, but I'm not sure where I've placed it. Maybe as we get closer to the top of the list I'll expand it.

39. Monday, Part I - Originally I had this up at 36, above those other Schoolyard songs. Then I realized that the song is not as solid as a whole as its chorus. It was being artificially inflated by that chorus. The Schoolyard EP will never be completed.

35. A Root of All Sorts of Injurious Things - Yes, too repititious. However, I disagree with you that Such Things To Such People suffers from the same malady. But I suppose we'll get to that when we get to it.

33. Sunsets - I knew we would go in a different direction which is exactly why I thought this would be an interesting excercise. Don't lull yourself into trying to make an Interpose album. TMINM isn't that band. You need to stay true to your roots.

31. A Telephone Conversation On A Cold September Morning - Sorry, it wasn't clear what I meant: it's the first of the 10 track JLA songs to appear on the list, not the first song on the album. The reason the first recording is the best is because you were singing. That's something we need to address at some point. Does Micah mind singing for us?

Joshua Provost said...

In regard to Last Resort, Part IV, I had the wrong song. It was On Account of the Abuse that we had jammed on, and was good. I was off by one song.

I'm glad you dug up the CD, so you have a better reference.