Sorry about the delay in getting this post out there. I've been too busy with business propositions lately to finish this off. I'm sure my two readers were waiting with baited breath, Johnny Most style. Anyway, another short post before we get to the top 10. When we get there I'm thinking about doing those songs up proper, including full lyric posting and MP3 recordings.
These songs are on "The Fuzzy Edge." OK. I don't even know what that means. I knew I shouldn't have named the batches of songs. These songs aren't really "Dangling Off The Ledge," though, because starting with this batch of songs we have very strong contenders that have a good chance of making it all the way. I'm declaring now that when we get to the final 10 I'm going to stop naming the batches.
15. An Automobile's Mass Of Steel, Plastic, & Rubber
Unfortunately for Joshua's sensibilities, this is the highest that a Leonard Gardner song is going to make it on my list. At least he cracked the top 15. I really do enjoy this song. It's a slow little ditty. Unlike most of our slow ditties, however, the lyrics seemed to flow off the tongue. And that despite the fact that the lyrics are not written in traditional form. I've been trying to think of a band or song with which to compare the lyrical style. I'm struggling. It's a bit of a disassociated stream of consciousness about equality through the story of cars crashing. Another one based on a true story. One night I had witnessed the aftermath of a car crash. This one involved only a car and a deer. The deer was killed on impact. But the deer didn't have opposable thumbs so no one cared much. This is normal. Driving by we noticed in the middle of the intersection a large object with a car hovering nearby. People were standing over the object and here's what it was: a dead deer illuminated by the headlights of the care that had recently taken its life. Good for the headlights. We went inside the nearby movie theater and told someone to call whomever is supposed to be called in the event of a dead deer in the middle of an intersection with people standing over it and a car hovering nearby. When we finally went back out to the intersection we found the animal had been pulled over to the curb. A trail of thick red blood followed it and it seemed as though the car had been pulled right along with the deer: it was in the same hovering position, spotlight on death. I took a picture for fun. I said this to a friend as my eye peeped through the viewer and my small mass of flesh, bone, and muscle compressed the button: "We're an unusually rare breed."
Some of what I just wrote is true. Some of it may not be.
Memory can be like that. This is normal.
14. An Homo Sapien's Mass Of Flesh, Bone, & Muscle
This could be the song that has evolved the most over time. It started out as a funky acoustic punk song; turned into a raucous punk rock song; turned into a peppy and fuzzy Neutral Milk-ish song; turned into a dark, dank wasteland of post-modern, post-grunge, pure Pig, rock. And you know what? It stinks. But inside there somewhere it's still a great song. It appeals to the masses. Sure, the references to homo sapien make it ripe for being made fun of, but it's tough, it can handle it. Sure, it's short, and the lyrics don't vary much, but the message is good and in the right form it's undeniably entertaining. There's no doubt this song needs to go back to it's "fun" roots. There was a time when we were trying to make the albums be something that perhaps they were not. Jeffrey L. Allen had to be dark. How it could be any other way? But you know what, there is another way. The songs need to be the songs; they need to be who they are. No more and no less. To try to alter them to fit some grand vision just doesn't fly.
13. Pity Versus Sympathy
This is like the anti-Homo Sapien. It evolved, but for the better. When Joshua came out to Massachusetts to put the "finishing" touches on recording the lyrics for Jeffrey L. Allen I spent a lot of time preparing my vocals. This basically meant that to and from work each day I would sing along with the sing along CD that Joshua had made for me. One thing that struck me about this song is that it was lacking punch emotionally. What should be a desperate man just sounded blah. Just like that, while driving South on 495, it struck me. "I lost." That was the whole theme of this song, loss. We needed to accentuate that and drive it home, much as I was at the time driving to my home. The punchy part was going to get a makeover to add these chanted "I lost" statements. There were also some new lyrics: "i think i / can accept this / can accept this / except i cannot." I give Joshua credit for hearing me out and allowing the changes. I thought for sure he would fight them. We ended up recording the vocals the way I wanted, though I think it took about 4 hours to record vocals for this one song. Joshua was big on getting the entire performance in one take instead of having to piece together the best bits from various takes. You can only imagine. Again to Joshua's credit, this song probably suffers the least from the electronic drums that became the norm on Jeffrey L. Allen. Joshua spent a lot of time getting the drums just right. The variations in the hard part are beautiful and interesting and allowed for another of my suggestions, which was to leave the first chorus devoid of lyrics. In a way this ends up making the song because it allows the emotion to build, rather than confronting you with it right near the start of the song. Then when it hits you in the second chorus, and you're not expecting it, you feel it deeper.
12. An Ambitious Attempt At Failure Before One's Birth
This is a tough song to talk about. I can say that it started as a poem called Walking Backwards. It features some beautiful lyrics such as "angie / is the most / beautiful girl / in the world." Seriously, I dare you to click on the Lyrics link. Also, there's nothing like unknowingly singing a song about suicide to someone to just lost a friend to suicide. Shoot me now.
11. Last Resort, Part I
Beautiful song about divorce. A great message nicely represented by the lyrics. One of the few songs where we lived up to our ambient noise pact. This features our young cousins in the background playing and fighting. A neat note on the lyrical development of this song: every chorus originally was "when all else fails / try avoidance / when all else fails / try avoidance." (Yes, you now know the origin of the blog name.) Of course, we were also using this chorus in Part II of this song and over time I grew tired of it. It was boring and quickly became my least favorite part of the song. Then I thought of a great alternate line to mix in there so we turned the first chorus into: "we've tried tried and tried again / but all this failure leaves us spent / when all else fails / try avoidance." The remaining two choruses were unchanged and still repetitive. But in time, after having played the song with the new alternate chorus many times I liked it so much that I knew I needed another. So chorus two became: "but time time and time again / we fought our best without a win / when all else fails / try avoidance." Great! But this posed a problem. Now the absolute climax of the song, the final chorus, was the least interesting of the lot. I knew we needed something but it took a long time to finally pin it down. When I did, it was perfect: "but once twice and three times now / we tried our best to keep our vow / when all else fails / try avoidance." That line sums up the whole song better than anything and hits the absolute height of emotion for me. It still gets to me when I listen back. Perhaps for that line alone this song reaches number 11. So that's the story of how the chorus went from being the worst part of the song to the best.
Up next is the top 10. One ... by ... one.