Bottles of Pills

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since you and I last spoke? Well come sit with me around the fireside while I tell you how I came to record a song in the country and western idiom. Usual drill: music, then lyrics, then post-facto justification for what I hath wrought. 

Lyrics

Bottles of pills
Won’t heal my ills
And sunshine and love
Ain’t always enough

You got what you wanted – let me go home
I’m tired of chasing bright lights
That don’t seem so bright at all
When you get close

All my plans turn to dreams
I’ve come apart at the seams
And the antics of clowns
Keep on bringing me down

You got what you wanted – can I go home?
I’m tired of playing bit parts
On somebody else’s stage
Please let me go

If you want me to go
Well, I’ll go
If you want me to leave…
I love you more than you love me
I love you more than you love me
I love you more than you love me

Post-Match Discussion

OK. I love this song. Always have. I’ve got a grainy CD recording made with the band in about 2005 and it featured fairly often in our set right up till our break-up. It was an odd one to chuck into the sturm und drang of most of our set, but you know; people’s ears need a rest from time to time I guess.

The genesis of the song at this remove is hard to guess, in all honesty. For many of my songs I can instantly remember how and why they arose, but this is a bit obscure to me. If I had to guess, I’d say it was during a brief period of obsession I had with the soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou? As you will have gathered, Constant Reader, from your close interrogation of my musical meanderings, I am drawn hither and yon by whatever sort of music I’m listening to at the time, so this seems as good an explanation as any.

For the most part, it is a fairly standard 12-bar (I think) in D, with a lovely dragging guitar figure that gives the song its gentle swing. With a proper drummer rather the computerised idiot I have to work with, the drag on the riff would be much more pronounced, I think, but I’m happy enough with the way the bass and guitar work together to give it enough of that feeling.

My favourite part is definitely where I hit that stupid high falsetto note. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I’ll work it out one day. If you forced me at knifepoint to guess, I’d put it at the D above high C, which is pretty fucking high up there, and I’ll admit that I’m fairly pleased that I can hit that note with any power. In fact, I’m not sure it’s a true falsetto, as it’s very throaty when I sing it… but then again the idea that I can hit a high D in my chest register is borderline insane. I dunno. Maybe you can work it out and tell me sometime? Address your carrier pigeons to the usual address.

The other neat bit I like are the clarity of the vocals, which was achieved by the classic studio trick of holding a Shure SM58 in front of my big dumb face without so much as a pop baffle and basically singing as neatly as I could. Weird that that worked so well this times, where in other instances I sound like I’m singing from a wardrobe at the bottom of a pond. I guess I also really like the harmonies. I’m sure there’s one note that a quarter tone flat, but fuck it – nobody pays me to do this stuff.

Lyrics? Well they’re… uncertain? But not in a bad way. I think they correctly capture a mood of a certain kind of confused sadness when someone (probably me) doesn’t know whether to stay or go, or whether someone wants them to leave or not. And when that sort of mood hits really nothing works to shift it: not drugs, and not drink, and certainly not people trying to wheedle you into happiness. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the emotion is authentically felt.

I sense I’m rambling, and that’s because I’m very tired. In fact, I think I’ll take a nap right here. See you on the flipside.

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