I had asked Joshua to put together the previous post to allow him to fully express his vision for what might transpire next for the Moon Is No More. I didn't expect he would put it together so quickly. Good job! In any case, he did not fulfill his entire assignment. I asked him to rank every Moon Is No More song from number 53 down to number 1, as far as likelihood of being included on the super-album. He was also supposed to provide a brief commentary on each song. Since he failed to complete this task I decided to take it upon myself.
How do you rank songs? It's virtually an unexplainable process, at least for me. It's extremely arbitrary. I could break things down and rank each song in a number of categories such as Music, Lyrics, Melody, Popularity, etc. However, each category would in itself be arbitrary so I'm going to save myself and the reader the time involved in such a pursuit. Instead, I'm going to go with my gut. In fact, I haven't even listened to most of these songs in a long time. In some cases it's probably been years since I've heard the song. That's OK. This is all about feeling the flow. I reserve the right to change my mind at a later time. When I'm done I'll post a Google Spreadsheet that will serve as the living, breathing list if we decide to pursue this project.
So, with all that having been said, let's get to the songs.
The "No Chance" Songs - 53-41
These songs have a less than .01% chance, in my opinion, of being included on the super-album. There is not one song on this list for which proper music has been written. That's a good indicator that it's going to rank low on my list. Perhaps there are some good lyrics in this bunch, but more than likely not. For the most part these songs didn't have music written for them because the lyrics were so bad to begin with.
You might notice that there are exactly zero Jeffrey L. Allen/12 Brothers songs on this list. It's worth mentioning. Jeffrey L. Allen was the first album we wrote and while it was immature at times it was also the most straightforward as far as likeability and it probably exhausted most of my creative juices, where towards the end of the writing process of the original 39 I was spent mentally. 12 Brothers is just solid all around. Enough said.
In future posts I will rank songs on a one by one basis, as opposed to merely as a group. However, in this case, because these songs stand no chance it just didn't make sense to spend the time on that. So here they are in order of when they were written:
Room 203, Part II - I always enjoyed in the book how Jeffrey L. Allen ends up in the same hospital room that William Donovan Junior is in towards the beginning. This song is probably more about my enjoyment of that thought than about anything having to do with good music. The chorus, while it has a decent ring to it, is way too preachy: "make your life mean something / make a difference / accomplish something / of some importance."
Last Resort, Part III - This is tough, because technically without Part III how can you have a Part IV? The lyrics are poor at best, though it does have a standout line involving "retnal repitition." Thinking back, I feel a lot of the later songs that I wrote for This Is Normal hinged on a single phrase or line that I enjoyed. The rest of the burden of the song was simply hung up by that tiny nail. Most of these songs collapse from the weight.
Morality - The lyrics have no real structure. They are simply intended to comment on the moral of the whole story. The music was intended to be Radioheadesque, Kid A variety. The lyrics feature the classic "Who's to say?" line which was a real hit that summer and eventually morphed into "Who-Ta-Swane" and "Who-Ta-Sweeny." I think Skippy may have had something to do with the line "the imperfections of humanity are beautiful."
The Gradual Progression Of Loss, Part II - Actually, we may have come up with music for this, or maybe what I'm thinking of was just a variation for Part I. In any case, Part I doesn't rank to high on my list so a song with the exact same lyrics and no music can't rank higher. What arrogance to think that I could have two songs with the exact same lyrics and somehow make that fly.
The End, Part I - Worst. Song. Ever. This song feels more like a baseball game recap of the whole story than like a song in its own right. Terrible. Let's move on before I get depressed.
A Study Of Human Possibilities Through Household Decoration - Many a time we tried to start writing the music for this song and dumped out after the decent opening line: "oh angel eyes / make sense through signs." All discernable melody vanishes after that.
Moment And Moment II - Terrible lyrics. I remember one time I started feeling cocky and decided that I was going to write the guitar part for this song all by myself. There's probably even a recording of this, considering that we recorded everything. I was left greatly humbled and have scarcely touched a guitar since.
Driving Faster Than One Should On A Wet Road In A Thick Midnight Fog - What can I say? It has the longest song title of any song I've ever written. Really, that's all I can say.
Allowing Oneself Time For Reversible Reflection - At one time I thought this song had promise. It didn't and doesn't. I believe this may have started as a poem. I don't believe the poem was any better than the song.
Girlfriend - Now we get to the Schoolyard material. Looking back I realize that I overvalued most of the lyrics from this 9 song EP (is a 9 song EP even possible?). There were a few standouts, but more like this song. I was going for a Neutral Milk Hotel style fast, crunchy, pop song on this. I failed miserably. What exactly does it mean to "lick my lids?" I have no idea, but it sounded like a Neutrally bodily reference. And that's probably the high point of the song.
Protest - A nice anti-violence protest song. Too bad it's so goofy (which seemed to be a Schoolyard trait) and lacks any thing that could be called a melody.
Betrayal - I'm running out of self-depricating things to say at this point. This is a throw-in song to move the story along.
Monday, Part II - Starts goofy, then gets far too gruesome for my tastes. Much like all of these songs, this stands no chance of inclusion.
There you have it. Songs 53-41 that have no chance of appearing on the Moon Is No More super-album. Thank you for wasting 15 minutes with me. In our next article we'll discuss the "Living On a Prayer" songs, numbers 40-31.