First off, many apologies for being upwards of 12 hours late on this week’s post. I was overwhelmed by a surge of tryptophan that sent me bedwards last night, even as I was struggling towards my beloved computer terminal, BW12-87. Good ol’ BW12-87, she waited for me all night and is still in a charitable mood right now. Onward, then.

There are old songs and then there are old songs. This week’s dust-bunny, “Zoe“, has been kicking around for almost ten years; I used to hum it to myself in my college days. I originally envisioned it as a piano ballad, like my earlier post “Hard to Find a Friend”, but when I finally got around to recording it in the summer of 2005, it became a product of the digital age, using excessive drum-machine reverb to summon up a feeling of isolation and uncertainty. It lurches drunkenly from section to section. Phrases like “methodical continuity” or “rational development” would not apply here. Nor does the string arrangement obey the laws of any known nation-state. But it’s a groovy late-autumn ride all the same.

Lyrically, it tells the story of two ex-lovers who meet after years apart (yawn). Unlike that other song about the elderly couple (“Kathleen”), these two are in that cruel phase of life known as the mid-twenties, during which worry and self-doubt come as naturally as refusing to bathe. The narrator has held stubbornly to his dream of being a musician, while his erstwhile paramour has chosen to enter a program of graduate study. The narrator uses this information to enjoy a fleeting moment of superiority (he has, after all, preserved his “authenticity”) before tumbling back down into the deep, dark prison of artistic freedom.

Happy holidays everyone!

14 Responses to “Zoë”
  1. Emilie says:

    This IS a groovy late-autumn ride. Nation-states be damned.

  2. Nice wall of pizz in there!

  3. The Bubble King says:

    Listened and approved.

    This 52 Teeth “album” has grown over 80 minutes!

  4. Abraham says:

    emilie: a warm welcome to you, and thank you for adding political content to this blog.

    pancake master: thank you for noticing…. pizz was liberally applied.

    bubble k: kind of you to point out that milestone. that’s the length of a CD-R, yes?

  5. The Bubble King says:

    Indeed… with just over half of the Teeth still to be posted, it appears that this project will be to massive to even see a double-CD release!

  6. The Bubble King says:

    And TOO massive as well!

  7. Jonny Mess says:

    I like this one. Dig the vocals at the fore.

    You know, I’m just going to throw this out there: I think the 52 Teeth listenership would not mind hearing a remix or redux or two. Just got me thinking that a lot of the stories-behind-the-songs discuss your intent warps and morphs into something else as you complete the song. Which is cool, it’s a nice window into the process. But makes me wonder what it would be like for you to then revisit the song, and jam it back into your original intent.

    I dare you.

  8. Jonny Mess says:

    That’s supposed to read “discuss HOW your intent warps…”

    It’s cool. I’m an editor.

  9. man, nice unsettling, encroaching feel. it’s creepy in a way.

    i really love the feeling and sounds of the last 15 seconds of wacky synth time! my ear didn’t realize it, but it wanted to hear those synths very badly. the 80’s fuzzy wobbly high register guys.

    and as always ham, great story telling. something i really love about your writing.

  10. Abraham says:

    jonny mess: I think you’re on to something, friend. and I think your fellow poster the bubble king would agree heartily with you. in other news, you reviewed like four different books in the new issue of time out chicago. lara and I were just shaking our heads… how does anyone do that, week in and week out? we were in awe.

    jon “steiny” steinmeier: hey thanks! those last 15 seconds cracked me up when I listened to it again for the first time in a couple years. I think it’s more the sudden cut-off that really confuses me. but, back to johnny mess’s comment(s), the whole act of revisiting something is always a stranger trip than you might expect it to be. thanks on the storytelling. I have a very melodramatic emotional universe.

  11. Jonny Mess says:

    Yeah, well, it’s called “poor organizational skills,” to be honest.

    But hell, some of us review books, some of us make songs. The awe is reciprocal.

  12. Abraham says:

    cheers, and congratulations are in order for you, sir!

  13. Lara says:

    Zoe is creepy! I love creepy.

  14. Abraham says:

    I love MAKING creepy!!! ha ha ha….. mmmmmm hyah hyah hyah!

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