Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Hope is a Fire (Come Home Redux)
And we're still working our way through the songs on Look Alive...
As a side note, 2012 is off to a fantastic start. We're currently climbing through the details of signing a recording contract with an indie label out of Madison, WI. I'll spare you the nitty gritty but suffice to say we're excited by the prospects of having a bigger team out there pushing our next release (which will be finished in the next few months). In addition, there is interest from a large publisher of Classics-related literature in distributing The Odyssey with more substantial and representative packaging (including all lyrics). Which would be amazing. Still some things to figure out here as well but I'm very happy with the direction it's going.
So... as long as the Mayans were as shitty with their eschatology as they were with their views on human sacrifice, 2012 is looking up.
On to Come Home, the 5th song on Look Alive.
I've written before about the competing sets of songs that comprise Look Alive, and this song is the demarcation of the two: In my notebook I see that on a certain day in July of 2006 I wrote the following:
Why I Had to Fall
Travesty in Blue
Oh My Vagrant Heart
+4 to 6 More!
(Ode to Billy Martin) >->
No idea what that last thing is, but it amuses me.
Anyway, I'm thinking this was like the day after Jay and I recorded those demoes in my living room, and it was finally starting to dawn on me that I had a group of moving solo tunes with which to work.
But, as noted, I needed more.
So that very day in July of 2006, I started writing with a certain confidence and directness lacking in just about everything I'd written previously.
Not to say that my prior output was bad: a lot of it I still like very much.
It was just... something had changed. Whether it was already the benefits (or prospects) of working with Jay, working on my own... or the fact that I was completely fractured from my week-old separation from my first wife... something had changed.
It was Dylan that said "When you have nothing, you have nothing left to lose" and while that might be a bit dramatic (I still had my dog, for instance), that's what it felt like.
It felt like I had nothing to lose by dropping all the bullshit constructs and cleverness and just... saying what I meant.
So instead of writing with my typical allusive- and illusive-ness, I started writing exactly what I felt.
And the result was Come Home.
I don't think I need to explicate the lyrics. They say exactly what they mean, clear as day. Maybe the only subtlety is in the "chorus" at the end, with the variation of "I know that you're coming home/I know that you're coming home/I hope that you're coming home/Come home."
I'm really proud of that. It seems small and inconsequential but I think it so perfectly captures the incremental steps of doubt that creep in to loss... from "know" to "hope" to just... "come home."
When we went to record it, we actually started with a Radiohead tune as our guide. Whether or not that's obvious from the result, I don't know. But I love everything about the recording... the guitar tone, the hook, the background vocals, the mandolin, the two drum kits... I remember hearing this song come out of the speakers at mix and thinking "what the FUCK is that?"
And it might be my favorite song to play live.
It feels like an open wound.
But one that is being confronted full on and, because of that, is ultimately allowed to heal.
It's been barely a week
Since you left me to fight alone
So I face down the night and then
Watch the sun again, again
And I sing myself sick
Lose my voice to the swollen sky
When the rain hits an open wound
The pain lets you know you're alive, alive
I know that you're coming home
I know that you're coming home
I hope that you're coming home