The Greatest Foe

Another trial in reviving something that hasn’t been played in a long time. I know when I first wrote it was meant be very Dylan-ish, though in rehashing it, I went for a little more of a Gordon Lightfoot tone.

Spoiler: The Greatest Foe is me. Or objectively, one’s self. Stop getting in your own way. And learn to take your own advice.

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In Need

Word play song! The writing process of this song sort became a rhyming exercise; each line has four rhyming words and ends with a word to rhyme with the second line of its verse!

Tight bind, can’t find, anywhere to go unwind there’s nothing left to put my mind as ease
Hard pressed, confessed, nothing else could make this mess and now it seems I’m too distressed to please

Fun, right?
Almost kind of regrettably, the feeling and meaning behind the lyrics is meant to be pretty strong, so I hope the rhyming acrobatics don’t cancel out the significance of the words.

To be blunt, the pressure to “succeed” in life is terrifying, isn’t it? I was fortunate enough growing up to have parents who, of course, wanted me to be well off, but always understood when a less than practical life choice involved putting happiness first.

But honestly, the social stigmas of scaring people into fighting in the rat race and uniting personal worth with bank accounts is out of control. So if you’re wondering what I’m “In Need” in this song, I’m in need of knowing that I have more options in life than a. being wealthy or b. being pointless.

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Heading Home

Just a little ditty I wrote, upon returning from a trip, and deciding I needed a vacation from vacation. It’s a homebody thing. This guys leans a little more toward country than usual. Pulling from The Eagles, Johnny Cash and some of Petty’s more country-ish stuff.

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I understand that the “video killed the radio star” shift in music media to the masses was revolutionary. And there’s a good chance I’m biased, living through one generation while only hearing second hand how the prior generations operated.
But I’m convinced our shift from radio/video star to the social media/youtube/performance game show star era is SIGNIFICANTLY weirder.

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The Book Was Closed

I’m a little disappointed in myself for missing a week while I was on vacation. I had recorded a video in advance with the intention of uploading it while I was away, but the beach just kept calling my name, so I’ll just have to live with knowing I took a by week.

“The Book Was Closed” is your typical relationship gone wrong song from several years ago. Tricky thing with songs like this, if you keep playing them people (and sometimes you yourself) wonder if you’re really past everything that went down.

But still playing this song some years later, I’m satisfied with it. I think a sign of progress from a falling out is being able to look back on things with an outside perspective, and see what you couldn’t see while you were in the thick of it. If a song is too caught up in the moment, it becomes relevant only to the time it was written. I feel like this ended up being insightful enough to age and still have proper meaning with everything now well behind me.

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Life’s too Short to Worry

So if you’re a regular viewer of these videos, you may notice they all start with a number in the top left corner. As you might have guessed, that number is a chronological order for when the song was written. It also plays into the goal of this little video project. I’m approaching having 100 songs written, and would hope to reach that goal before I run out of songs to make videos for.

This song is 1., though that’s not ENTIRELY true. I didn’t start making writing a regular practice until I was in college. Prior to that, in my high school years, I took a stab at writing a few songs before shirked away from the idea for a few years. When I went back to the drawing board, I reexamined the old work, and decided for the most part they didn’t make the cut. Of that first group of songs, this is the only one I saved. So while I don’t think it’s technically the first song I’ve ever written, it is the oldest song that I still had on hand when I started logging them. Sort of amalgamation of the Bob Dylan, Beatles and Tom Petty that I had started off playing.

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Patchwork Doll

So as a boy, who like most boys, grew up with a lot of toys. Army men, transformers, and plenty of ironically dubbed “action figures”. All that wonderful hard plastic, virtual immobile guys. Imagination was in no short supply, so the great battles that took places still had their grandeur, despite the stiffness of the participants. It’s a recurring theme among lots of those toys. The more “realistic” they’re supposed to look (I’m looking at you with those quotations, Barbie and Ken), the less mobile they seem.

Then there’s Raggedy Ann and Andy, laying limp until you do something to change that. But when you play with them, you have complete control of them. You’re bringing them to life, in every sense of the word. Go back and watch Toy Story again, and compare Buzz and Woody. Buzz’s appeal comes from all the lights and sounds and fancy things he brings to the table, but Woody’s significance comes from him being so real to Andy.

This post is spinning away from me a little bit. I like the idea of patchwork dolls. I find them a very apt human metaphor. Made up of all sorts random experiences, constant sufferers of wear and tear, and capable of just about as much as our imaginations will allow.

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Old Soul

It’s something I’ve been referred to as many times. I don’t argue it, and few who know will either, so that leaves what the song is about to be pretty self explanatory. But there’s a story about writing it.

It was actually some silly thing on Facebook (imagine: Facebook having something silly on it!), back when you had a random list of your friends generated on the side of your page. And there was this game going around where people filled out lists based on the visible list of friends (what animal would <first person on friend list> be? what kind of car would <second person on friend list> be? etc.). Then the idea was you tag the people mentioned, they make their own silly list, and it becomes world wide Facebook fun. Very clever.

ANYWAY, the point being is that one night I had been tagged in one of this lists, inquiring what kind of drink I would be. The friend referred to my old soul-ness, suggesting that I would be cognac. I enjoy the comparison. That night, around 3am, the image came back to me of the old soul metaphors, and so quietly strumming as to not wake my roommate, I went to work. Cognac became brandy in the song, as cognac is not a very musical word.

The irony is of course that 3am is way past an old soul’s bedtime, when the song was being written. Though I suppose restless nights could be considered a fitting trait.

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Live That Way

The best songs are always the ones that come naturally, and this song was no exception. I may not be sure how I’m planning on living the rest of my life, but I at least know how I don’t want to live it. So, yeah, process of elimination I guess.

The song definitely same with a Bruce Springsteen feel in mind. I felt like it was something he could have been caught singing about in his youth as well, though he probably would have put it more eloquently, with commentary about our country’s economy and misguided policies. The song was written well after the start of Strangers and Liars, so while I lives well as a solo tune, it was written with the band in mind and in fact, became the title track to our second album!

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Funny Business

“Funny Business” was written when the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement was still at large. While I agree (more so now than then) that the issue of poverty and wealth distribution in our country is in dire need of repair, I was not a fan of the ‘Occupy’ movement. While I commend those involved for taking action, I never saw hope of anything getting accomplished by their means. I think people’s ability to ignore other people (ESPECIALLY wealthy people’s ability) was greatly underestimated.

The song isn’t to decry what the movement was all about, or offer a better solution. Just my take on the situation.

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