I Hope She Won’t Let Me

I Hope She Won’t Let Me” is my attempt to put my own twist on a classic form: the 6/8 laid-back soul number. The 6/8 time signature (for all you non-musicians, this means six quick beats per measure) has always been controversial within Baby Teeth, since Jim has consistently advocated against our performing anything in this meter. He believes, with some validity, that it’s hard to have a 6/8 hit in this day and age. Nevertheless, I’ve listened to this kind of soul music since I was a gawky teen in Louisville, and coming off of Saturday night’s Satellite Soul Review at the Hideout, I couldn’t resist posting my own addition to the genre.  Plus, Jim told me that he kinda liked this one.

Is this a love song? At first glance it may appear so, but I was trying to do something a little more complicated. To me, this song is about relationships in which you have all your defenses up, in which you place an extremely high value on self-protection… an attitude of, “If I’m always the one to end the relationship, then I’ll never be broken up with.” Or in Woody Allen’s words, “Better to be the leave-er than the leave-ee.” In this song, the narrator is saying, “I hope she won’t let me go”, which I  intend to mean, I hope she won’t let me do what comes so naturally: walking out of a relationship prematurely just to avoid getting hurt.

The main musical influence, of course, is all the great soul ballads: “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” by Otis Redding, “Drown in My Own Tears” by Ray Charles, “I Will Always Have Faith in You” by Carla Thomas, and so on.  Some of the vocal-harmony intervals are lifted from Rufus Wainwright, and there’s a particular part of the song (“longing for soooooul”) that’s a modified version of something in “Inside Me Wants Out” by Andy Pratt.

Finally, I should confess that this song is in fact a few months old, not technically a new song. I’m excusing myself (always a slippery slope) because Baby Teeth were on tour last week. This song is in fact already being covered (I’m told) by Johnny and the Limelights, a new Chicago band featuring my friends Brian Costello and Sara “Thunder” Bassick.

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Comments
28 Responses to “I Hope She Won’t Let Me”
  1. Eli says:

    love it… reminds me of good funkadelic…

  2. Abraham says:

    hey… thanks! yes, I love funkadelic’s slower tunes when they get really bizarre, like that one, “you’re a fish, I’m a water sign”.

  3. mark says:

    motor-booty. doesn’t really go with fresh and fruity or any other breakfast at IHOP before 11pm, but after 1am it all starts to make sense or at least we don’t put up such a fuss. stay in the water!

  4. Eli says:

    not to be a geek but your track blog is interesting enough to get a del.icio.us and rss link… i look forward to hearing what comes next…

  5. Abraham says:

    no, by all means, please do be a geek, since I don’t know much about that del.icio.us stuff and would probably never know otherwise. thanks for passing it along!

  6. Jim C. says:

    Well, I’ll take *some* validity over none at all.

    Seriously, can a white man write a song in 6/8 without it sounding remotely like a sea shanty?

    This one definitely comes close. Nice work, as always, Mr. Abraham.

  7. I believe the gauntlet has now been thrown. One of the 52 songs needs to be a sea shanty. Hell, the Decemberists can do it, why not Baby Teeth?

    I’ve always been a fan of the 6/8, the blues shuffle, and the cleveland steamer. That last one is just for fun, though. And she’s gotta be into it.

  8. Abraham says:

    well spoken, all around. I will gather up ye scurvy salty-dogs.

  9. Lara says:

    This song makes me want to wear sparkly, pink lipstick, press my cheek against my babe’s, and slow dance…underwater.

  10. Abraham says:

    I was wondering when we’d have our next female respondent. and it turns out it was worth the wait. more from the ladies!

  11. tony w says:

    Big fan of this song, Abe. Totally mellowtastic in a funkish groove way.

    Good luck along the way to 52. If you are short of ideas, I have always wanted to hear a 12-minute, five-part epic telling the story of the Karate Kid.

  12. Abraham says:

    thanks tony… I think this idea will be very productive for me. I’m currently working on part one, “wax on, wax off.”

  13. Andrew says:

    I just found this blog today and it got me real excited for the next 49 or so weeks.

    This song is my favorite so far. The sound quality and feel of the whole thing reminds me of Cody Chesnutt’s insane and wonderful album from a few years back (The Headphone Masterpiece), real lo-fi but still quite soulful. You should check that out if you haven’t heard it – he’s on a similar sort of groove except he’s got less self-control.

  14. Abraham says:

    wow. thanks andrew. yes I am indeed a big fan of cody chesnutt’s “headphone masterpiece” album, so that is a comparison I will get down with. also, your blog looks really great… check out post-rockist.com, friends!

  15. Nancy says:

    Holy moly, my friend! This is perfect for sitting on my rug drinking wine and marinating in self-pity! It’s just the thing!

  16. Abraham says:

    thanks nancy… self-pity is one of my most enduring artistic stimulants.

    top secret everyone: we are world-premiering this song at our show at schubas on saturday night. don’t tell…. shhhh

  17. Brilliant stuff ya got here, Sweets. Just remember to make each song playable in the little streaming widget. I am already reading yer posts in googlereader and it’s nice to play the songs as you read.

    Keep it up.

  18. Abraham says:

    hey stephen,

    thanks so much for writing and for the shout-out on your page. ok, so help me out with the tech stuff…. my head is spinning. what do I need to do to encode a song in a streaming widget? I’m here to help!

    thanks again for stopping by.

  19. I do love it when you get soulful. This one does sound like a slow dance at an undersea prom, but the scene is so seductive that I’m wishing I had a date for it. Somewhere I read a review that said you guys play “blue-eyed soul and 70’s pop,” a description that I’ve reused whilst trying to explain your sound to the uninitiated. This song slays me…. in the best possible way.

    About the 6/8 time signature, it is alive and well and hitting today, just not where you would think. I’ll lose my indie-cred (if I had any), but take A Perfect Circle or Tool, for example. Rock and heavy hardcore work well in 6/8, the swirling feel compliments Marshall-stack guitar crunch and lazy chord work.

    Enough rambling for now. Great work, Mister Sweets!

  20. Judah says:

    This and “Let it Roll” are my favorites so far…

    Some other relatively recent 6/8ers worth mentioning:
    Feist, “Let it Die”
    Lucinda Williams, “Still I Long for your Kiss”

  21. Judah says:

    Of course, maybe you could argue that those tunes are 12/8ers…

    also Elvis Costello’s “All the Rage.”

  22. Abraham says:

    hey, thanks guys.

    brian: thanks for coming to the show on saturday… twas great to see you. I for one believe that one’s indie-cred should be poured down the drain like yesterday’s vegetable oil (oh wait… that’s supposed to be poured into your hybrid), so thanks for broadening the discourse to include ol’ maynard.

    judah: good to know about your faves… those are the two so far that’ve been adopted into the live set (as of saturday on both counts). good picks for 6/8-ers. “let it die” is certainly an incredible tune. haven’t heard the lucinda one, and the elvis one is not coming back to me right now, although I might’ve heard it on the cassette version of “girls girls girls”.

  23. Judah says:

    “Let it Die” is pretty much a perfect little song… “All the Rage” is off of “Brutal Youth,” which I think is a seriously underrated record (it was also my first EC album; I worked my way backwards from there!).

  24. Amy says:

    New to this blog — fantastic stuff. I particularly love “I Hope She Won’t Let Me.” My favorite time signatures have always been 6/8 and 12/8. There’s nothing sexier than a great 12/8 blues song (Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” is a personal favorite). So I have to heartily disagree that compound triple time signatures aren’t “marketable”!

    Jim C.’s comment (“Seriously, can a white man write a song in 6/8 without it sounding remotely like a sea shanty?”) cracked me up. It’s the “Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” Syndrome! (In 3/4 vs. 6/8, but still pretty much the stiffist song I’d be most embarrassed to ever sing in public.) Actually, a perfect example of the postmodern “sea shanty” song is Modest Mouse’s “March Into The Sea.”

    Other great 6/8ers and 12/8ers:

    Greg Weeks “Unsettled (By The Sun)”
    Pantera “Hollow”
    Ween “The Mollusk”
    The Dead Milkmen “Badger Song”
    Grandaddy “A.M. 180”
    The Shins “Pressed In A Book”

    Can I buy or download “I Hope She Won’t Let Me” anywhere?

    Cheers,

    Amy

  25. Abraham says:

    hi amy —

    welcome to the blog! I checked out the art on your website and it is truly exquisite. thanks for stopping by. jim c. is indeed a witty guy. excellent list of six- and twelve-eighters as well. you should drop in more often!

    as for the downloading question… it’s not on an album yet… although it will most likely be on our next one. you can buy our other records though on emusic or itunes or amazon.

  26. carl says:

    i hope she won’t let me came on to my ipod a minute ago
    i hope you won’t forget to include a version on the next baby teeth disc!
    kinda reminds me of the version of fool for you you did which i loved

  27. carl says:

    this blog has turned into it’s own special work of art by the way. congrats! maybe publish it in book format with an accompanying cd or 2

  28. Abraham says:

    Thank you my man for both of these awesome comments. They mean a lot to me. Don’t worry… this song has already taken on a prominent place in our set lists… we will definitely make it a part of Baby Teeth III. As for publishing the blog in book form… sure! Know anyone at Hopkins University Press who would take on the project?

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