It’s called “Bury the Bell,” and I wrote it last summer (the lyrics may or may not make that apparent). Some friends had organized a project within a Facebook group dedicated to a particular musician (Robyn Hitchcock) wherein a group of us would demo a song to be recorded by another person in the project. Participants ranged from people with half a dozen albums to their credit to rank amateurs (raises hand). I was assigned to write for a guy whose music I barely knew—which was actually freeing, in that although I obviously enjoy trying to write in particular styles, that works when I’m quite familiar with the style…and so instead of trying to write for the guy based solely on the one or two stray tracks I had (along with a CD which he graciously sent to me), I’d go for a lingua franca based on our mutual Hitchcock fandom. So of course, Hitchcock has worn his own influences like his trademark polka-dot shirts: everyone who knows his music knows that Dylan, Barrett, Bowie, and the Beatles are huge influences.
I went with the Beatles…as will be immediately obvious upon listening.
The demo has the bass and keyboards and much of the vocal arrangement (although different vocals). When I decided to flesh it out on my own through sheer impatience (as you’d imagine, the project—which is still live—is taking quite a lot of time!), I just went full-on late-’66/early-’67 Beatles: weird-noise coda, vocal harmonies, curious orchestral touches (how I got an orchestra in my Garageband I’ll never know).
One thing I’ve been spending more time on lately is working with EQ, levels, compression, and stereo placement to make my mixes sound more coherent and open. I think that’s starting to pay off: these and the last two recent new mixes of newish songs have sounded better and begun to solve the mysterious “this just doesn’t sound right” thing that sometimes plagued earlier recordings. (Aside from my usual complaints re my own technical and performance limitations, of course: blatant manipulation and fakery abound.)
The phrase popped into my head a while back (already used for one of my mixes), and then I had to figure out what it meant. I bypassed interpretations that would lead me to Zappaworld (ahem)—and landed where I landed. Plus which, quotes and allusions to Radiohead, Jonestown, Isaac Newton, Repo Man, Sparks, and…well, I wrote it last summer.
Bury the bell— What if it's ringing? No alarms, and no surprises… Lead in the well— What's that you're drinking? Raise a toast to your half-lives. Because…if I go further than others, it's from kicking the balls of those giants, so they fall by the side of the roadway. They think that their brains run so much smoother and then quote some asshole named "Dunning Kruger." Bury the bell— (sink sink sink sink sink sink…) What if it's ringing? (oh well) No alarms, and no surprises… Lead in the well— (drink drink drink drink drink drink…) What's that you're drinking? (so kool) Raise a toast to your half-lives. My GPS says turn right here Beautiful evening… and drive off the cliff you can almost see the stars These pants ain't big enough for the both of us, so I'm wearing them—cover your assets. Forward! Full-speed, torpedoes and angels scattering, rushin' in fear from those snowflakes melting down. Everyone knows news is fake.