The Last One

No, come on now, don’t get upset. Just because I post a song called “The Last One” doesn’t mean I’m actually hanging up this whole blog thing. It’s just a song title, that’s all. I should say this, though: I’m hereby officially abandoning even the thought that there will be a freshly-created song each week. I mean, it’s definitely something cool to shoot for, but I’ve started feeling like a heel each week if I don’t have time to create a new song, like I’m letting society down or something. But then I remembered…. it’s the Bush administration that does that, not me. So, even if I’m the only one that needs to see this in print, here it is: from now on, let’s expect an old song from the vault, and be surprised if it’s a brand-new one, rather than the other way around. Because otherwise my inherent Jewish guilt gets nourished with Miracle-Gro, and plenty of fresh water.

Onward, then. This song is a Baby Teeth demo from about eight or nine months ago. We wrestled with it for a while and then kind of gave up the fight. Listening to it again though, it’s not without merit, and I think it’s actually one of the better-mixed songs out of my home recordings. Musically, I was trying to strike a balance between the Stones and the Velvets, with maybe some Replacements thrown in there too. Sort of offhandedly rocking, if you will.

The lyrics are about one of my recurring delusions… the notion that I’ve always been one great change, or one self-discovery, or one self-help book, away from becoming the perfect version of myself. “I’m the last one / I’m all done changing now.” As if life is not a journey of learning…. as if it’s something you can conquer! To me, it’s always been a distinctly American pathology, the idea that if you work hard enough, you can remake yourself into a creature that never feels doubt or pain. After all, “it’s a free country”… so go right ahead and perfect yourself! Come on, what’s stopping you? Surely not millions of years of human history demonstrating that it’s an impossible task…. after all, you’re an American… you’re exempt from history! (You get the idea.)

I must admit that I felt weird, having written that long post last week about Content-Based Males, to read in yesterday’s paper of the death of one of the genre’s all-time greats, Norman Mailer. May you rest easy, Stormy Normy. Your work, as well as your compelling-if-flawed version of masculinity, meant a lot to me when I was twenty years old, and still gives me a kick today, 75 years later.

12 Responses to “The Last One”
  1. The Bubble King says:

    Does this mean you’re 95 years old? What’s your secret?!

  2. Lara says:

    To quote Fiona Apple, “Here it comes, a better version of me.”

    Not only do I enjoy this song, but I enjoy your realism, your insight, and your old age.

  3. Eric B says:

    it sounds surprisingly loose for you guys. very replacements. a nice change-up from the tight bounce we know and love.

    feel no pressure to create ex-nihilo a new song a week. you need to clean out the vault anyways if you got tracks like this dusting up.

    btw, it was an excellent show you guys put on at the univ of wisconsin this week. (and if all the kids made you sensitive about being 95 years young, i completely understand. living in this city of children, i feel ready for aarp.)

    here’s how i described your show–

    Chicago’s Baby Teeth, a dance machine of three accomplished musicians, brought to the room much-needed electro-magnetism. Abraham Levitan’s booming vocals and funky keys, overtop the supertight rhythm from drummer Peter Andreadis and bassist Michael Lyon, flipped a switch early in the set, drawing the dispersed audience front and center into a dense, vibrating mass.

  4. Abraham says:

    b king: yes I am 95 and lovin’ it! the best secret to enjoying your old age is to find a hobby that you love… in my case, it’s grilling my own potato chips.

    lara: thank you kindly! yes, fiona does touch on that same point in that lyric, fer sure.

    eric: thank you my friend. and thanks for that great description. we were very happy with the dancers in madison. FYI, our bassist is jim cooper. otherwise, I dig that blurb! cheers.

  5. Eric B says:

    oh snap. egg on my face. reckon i should the abort the rock journalism endeavor now. and they say amphetamines are supposed to help. it’s not getting published, but if jim ever finds out, convey my shame.

    and i knew that, too. i love detholz! just a sloppy cut and paste. yeesh.

  6. Judah says:

    I especially like the concept, and the Who-ish piano + ending.

    So I wonder if this new guilt-free phase of the blog will feature an occasional cover…

  7. Abraham says:

    eric b: no biggie. egg on the face is good for the complexion anyway…. it should be applied at least weekly.

    judah: hey thanks! as for the cover idea… it is quite interesting, and I’ve been told that you can learn a lot from doing recordings of covers. actually I did one of the impressions’ “fool for you” that maybe I’ll post in the near future.

  8. I’m sorry – I got excited there for a minute, and I believe that may have come out as slightly pushy.

    Abraham, I believe that Toto would be a perfectly appropriate modus coverandi for you in the future. Please pursue and perfect at your leisure.

    I am currently in the final phases of perfecting the cover medley of “Poison” by Bel Biv Devoe and “This is How We Do It” by Montel Jordan that we began during your overnight here in Iowa City. I’d love to see what you guys could do with either of those tunes – the harmonies alone would kill me.

    On the topic of your weekly blog, I believe that few people will hate you for not putting out new material every week. I may be one of them. I will let you know when that happens. In the interim, feel free to publish when prepared.

    On the topic of this song, I actually really like it. For realsies.

  9. Abraham says:

    jonnie g: thank you for such a passionate response. did you know that baby teeth worked up a cover of toto’s “africa” a little while ago, for the wedding of our friend erik? it’s true. I sang the verses and peter sang the choruses.

  10. I know that, and that’s why I’m so damned offended that you won’t play it for ME.

  11. Abraham says:

    oops. guess I shouldn’t have brought it up again!

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