Lie Detection

Anyone remember (from a few months back) my tale of writing two songs at once, one of them taking hours of blood, sweat, and melodrama, and the other being tossed off in fifteen minutes? Hey, is this thing on?  Well, just as a refresher: The first song (the one that took all that time) was passed over by Baby Teeth; the second one, “Taste the Wine”, became a staple of our live set (though we don’t play it much anymore) and was included on our last album.  Moral of the story: write ’em quick, don’t look back, dance through life with a swing in your step and a sprig in your soup.

Well, here’s the other song, “Lie Detection“.

I still really love it. I love the melodrama of the lyrics, and the way that brassy synth enters on the chorus, bringing with it chunks of “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin. I like that it doesn’t use many chords. I love the clumsiness of the mix, in which the background vocals somehow ended up louder than the lead.

Most of all, I love that this song contains some of the most overcooked lyrics I’ve ever composed:

TV’s on and I could watch it for days
Treacly songs of malleable malaise
A self-flagellator who pushed too far
Hitched himself to a shooting star …

When lyric-writing goes to that extreme, I think the spectrum just explodes, and the lyrics are reborn, all manly and Hemingway-esque, in some alternate universe.

Listening to this song again after a couple years off, it really is about something: a control freak who has a dalliance with a free-spirited lover. He loves her but fears that he doesn’t understand her. He’s so task-oriented that he dreams of doing (or giving) the thing that will satisfy her (“Give me the chance to live up to your demands”), but our heroine will have none of it. She has a Buddhist perspective: nothing is permanent, and all possessions are lost (“I don’t know what is left to slip through my hands”). The protagonist admires this attitude from afar but fears he will never truly understand it. The relationship having failed, this difference in perspective was apparently a wedge that drove them apart.

The protagonist requests that all donations and gifts be sent to his favorite charity, The Tony Robbins Foundation.

10 Responses to “Lie Detection”
  1. “Malleable Malaise” is some of the most hammy alliteration I’ve ever experienced, and I love every syllable of it!

    Thank you for this bro. Sometimes a song just means a lot to the right person at the right time. Thematically, lyrically, and musically, this bad boy is tops.

  2. Lara says:

    I really like this one. I love the lyric “Caroline sips soda in the parking lot/ don’t care if she’s cute or not.”
    The chorus is my favorite part. When I listened to it the second time, I thought it could really benefit from some female vocals…in the role of Caroline, perhaps…like that duet, I don’t know the title, it has the lyric “I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, that much is true.” Going back and forth between boy and girl might really nicely accentuate the tension in the relationship represented here.
    Nice work. Have you considered contacting Reggie Davies on possibly covering this song? His work on “Put Your Claw in my Paw” shows how complimentary he may be to this material.

  3. Abraham says:

    pc master: thanks a lot! happy to serve. that is the dream, to find the right song for the right person at the right time.

    lara: yes, I like the idea of making this one a role-play. as far as reggie davies is concerned, I met his agent two years ago at south by southwest, and I even got his business card, but then I spilled a beck’s beer on it, and the next morning it was unreadable. do you have any contact info for him?

  4. Liz says:

    I like the word “Treacly.” I didn’t know what ‘treacle’ was until I read Harry Potter. That boy sure does love a treacle tart. I am waiting for your song about a bear and a smoooooth chocolate cake. BTW – This is Lara’s friend. The one with the babies… Um, the COOL one with the babies.

    (I happened here because I was looking up your last name on myspace for my Christmas card mailing list)

  5. Judah says:

    This one is a holiday gift! I lack the time for further discussion at the moment, but simply put, I just really like it.

  6. The Bubble King says:

    I was wondering if we’d ever get to hear this one.

    I really like Taste the Wine, but had I been a member of Baby Teeth, when you got home from that trip and played these two songs, my response would’ve been “let’s play both.” BOOM SHAKA LAKA.

    And as for Liz… I think I found myself making up little children songs about “smooth chocolate cake” in the months since that delightful evening.

  7. Abraham says:

    liz: hey there, great of you to chime in! I still don’t know what a treacle is…. I’ve been meaning to get into harry potter, and I might be behind the curve enough now to make it an invigorating experience. looking forward to that christmas card!

    judah: thanks my friend! yes, there is something costello-ish about the melody here, I think.

    bb king: thanks for your support, m’main. bring on the smooth chocolate cakes, one and all!

  8. Mark Z says:

    what’s up abe. i don’t know how to better get in touch with you so i’ll post here. i was thinking i could set you up with a ‘sweeter’ wordpress blog (gratis, of course). there are some limitations with the version you’re using, and i think with the emphasis you put on media, you could do more with a real wordpress blog. it’s a fairly easy and quick process. just thought i’d offer that out in return for the free tunes.

  9. Liz says:

    Treacle is a sort of sugary, syrupy confection drizzled on a tart crust. Almost like honey. It’s usually sold as “golden syrup” which pretty much describes it. Ask Lara about the time she barfed up smooth chocolate cake at school. It was pretty awesome, considering she hid it so well.

    Nadja has an even better story, check it out:

    Okay, I won’t take up your comments space with idle chit chat, but to you & The Bubble King – a delightful evening is always an hours drive away. Happy non Denominational Season of Consumerist Orgy, one and all!

  10. Abraham says:

    mark: thanks a ton! I would probably benefit from that, and I think the community would back me up on that one. I’ll get in touch with you.

    liz: I liked the nadja conversation very much. I’m definitely gonna ask lara about that chocolate cake.

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