Let It Roll

Hello and welcome one and all to the first weekly mp3 blog post from your friends in Baby Teeth. Here’s a new song I’ve been messing with called “Let It Roll.”

It was initially inspired by Neil Young who, upon hearing George W. Bush’s post-9/11 call to arms, churned out a nationalistic piece of crap called “Let’s Roll”. From a Canadian, no less! Now, of course, Neil Young has refocused his energies on deriding the war effort, but at the time it really struck me funny, and it stuck in my craw. Lyrically, I’m envisioning some kind of pre-dawn militia assembly…. in this way the song is kind of a cousin to “Diaghalev Was Right” from “The Simp”. But the lyrics are also poking fun at my own uptight nature, which doesn’t often allow “letting it roll” as a viable option. “Who out there is gonna tell me to let it roll?” When I write lines like that, I think about singing them live. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that…. on the most recent Sloan album (which is awesome, by the way), there’s actually a line that goes, “Every one of you knows / What it’s like to surrender to me / Completely”. Talk about a line that would have an impact live! It could make you sound like a real ass, but they’re a great band, so they can pull it off.

Musically, I was having some fun recording the old spinet piano that I just acquired. I held a dictaphone up to it and then fed the results into my computer. If you listen close at about the 2:08 mark, you can hear the piano become much more intense and distorted. This was completely the whim of the dictaphone, but it ended up really making the arrangement. Crazy machines. I also blew the dust off of my old Dr. Rhythm drum machine, which I bought a few years back from Bobby Conn. I’m tapping out the drum pattern as the song goes on. Kinda cool, I think, to hear a drum machine going in and out of tempo. Counterintuitive…

And finally, the craftier listeners among you will recognize the origin of that little guitar riff that pops up throughout the song…. yes indeed, it’s from the intro to Tesla‘s “Love Song”, my favorite jam of the 1989-90 school year. Go back and check that tune out if you haven’t for a while… it’s still a pretty great power ballad.

OK, that’s that. Please let us know what you think! Comment or rate it or whatever. I hope this will be lots of fun for all.

18 Responses to “Let It Roll”
  1. Jessica Goldsmith says:

    I love the blog! This band is my favorite.

  2. Jon Boyd says:

    Congrats to you all on the launch. You’re gonna make us go positively dental!

  3. Mike Hayes says:

    Glorious! This is glorious!

    Both the song and blog are in reference.

  4. Cort says:

    Great initiative on the 52’s… This track is saucy. Keep ’em coming. I think a true fan of music understands what you’re doing here. I think it will set off a trend of people trying to hang in there week after week(testing their own salt). I’m way diggin’ it. I’ll see you guys tonight,

  5. Jon Boyd says:

    Finally been giving this the repeated listens that it deserves. And I’m gonna agree with you: this one will be great performed live. Another thought: one of the big questions is who those “filthy barons” are. I guess they probably differ for each of us, and I know in my case they change from year to year as life goes on…. Damn moving targets.

    Well, it’s a great “week #1”! More power to you.

  6. Abraham says:

    hey dudes,

    thanks for the early feedback… very heartening. I was pretty happy with the song. peter told me that the guitar riff (played by my own concrete hands) reminded him of the prince song “the cross”, from sign o’ the times. the “filthy barons” lyric was added at the very end. the syllables worked. open to suggestions on who they are.

    keep them comments coming, USA!!!!

    cheers and love,

  7. I’m listening to it for about the third time right now. It’s definitely time for an ironic let it roll. Let it f*cking role into the gutter, I say. Not the song dude! This whole society I mean. Jeez. 😉

    The Simp is definitely a great step up from an already good thing in The Baby Teeth Album. i got it for my birthday! I love the songs not released on MP3 such as The Birds, God Girlfriend, Prove It on the Stage and Intolerable [awesome!]. I’m ripping The Simp to my computer now.

    If you guys ever play Baltimore, I would recommend hooking up with these locals artists/groups on a bill: Jason Dove, Abby McGivney, Caleb Stine…esp. Jason Dove.

    What else…also you’re voice is sounding awesome on certain parts of the Simp. And I don’t saw awesome all the time like some.

  8. Abraham says:

    thanks carl!

    we will be in arlington on thursday night if you want to make the trek. thanks for saying all them nice things about “the simp”. I feel like we learned a lot from that last one and we’ll definitely be looking for something even more sprawling and all-american the next time round.


  9. Michael Saint-Aubin says:

    I’ve always found it fascinating when people actively look for inspiration. Especially when they want to be patriotic. Great song, keep it up. If you can.

  10. Abraham says:

    thank you michael. I shall try my mightiest.

  11. Judah says:

    I once came into a rehearsal, weary but enthusiastic, with a new arrangement of “It’s Allright with Me.” At the end of the rehearsal, you came up to me and said “man, if staying up all hours and not getting your work done means arrangements like this one, keep it up!”

    I appreciated the kind words from such as you (they obviously stayed with me), and I’ll return the compliment here: if putting yourself through what Jon Coulton called the “forced march” approach to writing songs yields results like “Let it Roll,” I look forward to the boxed set! The new record is a tough act to follow, and right away you go and release a song like this. Damn impressive. Reminds me in some ways of “Seconds of Pleasure.”

    By the way, I think “Let’s Roll” comes not from George W., but from something purportedly said by a guy who mobilized his fellow passengers on the plane that crashed in PA on 9/11. Alas, not that this does anything to redeem the song…

    Keep up the good work! And as carlfrombaltimore encourages, come visit us in beautiful Baltimore, land of a thousand…um, come to Baltimore!

  12. Abraham says:

    thanks judah….

    yes, so as not to seem overly clever, it was indeed my reading the nytimes profile of jon coulton that really got me thinking about this whole blog in the first place. it’s fun pretending you’re a 60s brill building songwriter, and that the boss man is demanding new product every week.

    thanks for the clarification on “let’s roll”…. that does sound familiar.

    and the comparison to “seconds of pleasure”? one of the great one’s greatest? well, that’s a big compliment. but it’s late at night, and I’ll take it.

    and yes, judah and carl…. we are indeed playing the iota club in arlington in a matter of hours. I know it’s no baltimore, but it’s the closest we’re coming on this particular swing, so I hope youze can make it.

  13. will says:

    hmmm. 52 songs…rapid-fire style…quite an undertaking. i suppose there are only a handful of songwriters on this rock who can keep up the quality…however, we are lucky in chicago to have a bunch of ’em—you and yer band members are no exception.
    so, being a fan of political banter as well as how the decisions made by our illustrious leaders relate to each of us philosophically, i was intrigued by the song idea. i love neil; but, i too found his take on “that” situation to be ill-timed and not paticularly well thought through. in the current u.s. social climate, it’s difficult to convey a real political message. the placated masses prefer, um, well, i have no idea what people are listening to these days; but, relevancy is relative right?
    as for yer song…we can make our own metaphors, though, i like the idea of having [a fresh supply of helmets to stand eye to eye] if there was one line to stay with me…it was that one. musically, i could have done without the guitar melody. it wasn’t awful; but, i’m always suspicious of electric guitars eating every other frequency/melody. also, the theme was expressed perfectly with the sort of plodding piano already. bye!

  14. Abraham says:

    thanks for your comments, will…. very thoughtful. I’m just learning how to play guitar, so expect plenty of self-indulgence, I’m afraid, in the “Rock Riffs” department.

  15. Judah says:

    Another thought vaguely in the same vein (absurd political-statement songs). Have you ever heard — no, actually listened to, as I did for the first time the other day, at least for the first 2 verses — to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change?” Damn, what an infuriating song. It’s like a perversion of the meaningful-message soul music of the 60s and 70s. It doesn’t even seem to succeed on its own lame-ass terms, as an anti-anthem for slackers. Don’t know if there’s a song in there for you. Perhaps someone should at least write a dissertation on the subject: “John Mayer’s ‘Waitin’ on the World to Change;’ On the Misappropriation of Rhythm & Blues Tropes and the Aesthetics of Sociopolitical Complacency.”

  16. Abraham says:

    yes, and as irony would have it, that “waiting on the world to change” was the most critically-acclaimed song on his last record. hey, recording for a mega-corporation and advocating complacency go hand in hand, right?

  17. Josh Kaplowitz says:

    This is a great idea– I’ll give these songs a listen after I take the bar exam next week. I’ve played The Simp for all of the music lovers I know… great record– your best yet.

    Sorry you couldn’t make it to Frazer’s wedding last summer. It was good times, although his new wife has, uh, tamed him a bit. I just moved to Philly three weeks ago– come play here soon!

  18. Abraham says:

    hey josh, great to hear from you. thanks so much for sharing “the simp”! I’m sure the wedding was awesome…. and oh boy do I wish I knew you lived in philly… we just played johnny brenda’s last week! ah well, that’s life. hope you’re well.

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