I Tried to Look Away

I’ve gotta say that I laughed more while working on “I Tried to Look Away” than I have for any other song in 52 Teeth history.  It totally turned on me!  No matter what I tried to add, it just kept getting worse and worse.  It must be some kind of titular curse, because the only other song in the history of this blog that carried an equivalent amount of frustration was “I Tried to Figure You Out.”  Guess I learned my lesson: don’t admit defeat (or even effort) in the title of a song.

Way back at about 10 am, when I was feeling optimistic about this number, I was envisioning a 70’s boogie guitar freakdown, in the grand tradition of Thin Lizzy, as well as that of modern torch-carriers like Ted Leo, Brendan Benson, and most recently, our friends Free Energy.  But the recording got sloppier and sloppier.  My guitar playing was done with my usual concrete fingers.  During the recording of the bass and drums, I was distracted by the Academy Awards and never bothered to find out where the rhythmic pocket was.  I also hit a lot of extra percussion keys by accident.  By this point, I was laughing while laying down the tracks, which never bodes well for rhythmic accuracy.

I’m reminded of the tale of the Big Star song, “Downs,” an outtake from the great Third/Sister Lovers record.  As legend has it, Alex Chilton was told by some record executive that “Downs” would make a terrific single for the upcoming promotional campaign.  After two brilliant but unsuccessful records, he was so disillusioned with the music business that he promptly did everything he could to sabotage the recording.  The result was a lovable mess that would never be anyone’s single, at least on this planet.  I’m a fan of absurdities like this, and I suppose that, in that spirit, I can still wrap my arms around this baby.

9 Responses to “I Tried to Look Away”
  1. HCarl says:

    I like this! The sloppiness you ridicule I find charming. It sounds to me like molasses in the summer.

  2. Meryl Pacana says:

    I’m loving the blog, please keep it up! This is my favorite song of the year so far. Have been a fan since your Pearly Sweets days.

  3. As a purveyor of my own brand of sloppy I am always plenty happy to hear something as disheveled as this from anyone, let alone someone whose talents are usually lent to a more polished sound (such as your own). It indeed contains a pretty smooth groove regardless of anything else and sounds like good “cleanin’ up the garage in the summer” music, ya know?

  4. Abraham says:

    HCarl, MP, P M S: Hey, thanks you guys. You know, listening to this song again this morning, I like it a lot more. I think I was trying to make it something it wasn’t, but the thing it actually is, is like a cool little brother with a baseball cap with a propeller on it. And the fact that it inspired TWO references to summer (one involving molasses and one involving a garage) can’t be a bad thing.

    Special thanks to Meryl for checking in…. always good to have more female perspective in the world of 52 Teeth!

  5. B. Berkowitz says:

    It sounds like your grogger was still sitting on the table post-Purim, and you elected to use it liberally in this one!

  6. Will says:

    O.k., I was commenting religiously during the first half of the first 52 teeth blog. Stopped/stalled by what can only be rumored to be brokenhearted drug abuse. I’m back, though no less brokenhearted or sober. May I play the devils advocate here? This recording is, well, um… . Anyway, the spirit of this blog is not to find perfection, but rather, develop ideas…right? I was an early champion of the single “Hustle Beach”, and we all know how that turned out…DO NOT GIVE UP ON THIS SONG!!! (Emphasis intended) This has a fantastic upside and with the help of Jim and Peter, could REALLY SHINE! I’m hearing it, yo! The chorus is infectious, while the verses eschew a sentiment that we can ALL relate to. Mr. Chilton and 1974/5 send their regards; though this is pure Baby Teeth(:

  7. Abraham says:

    BB: Thanks for making me laugh for 10 solid minutes with this comment.

    Will: GREAT to have you back! A hearty welcome to you, sir. I do respect your devil’s-advocate perspective. As usual with songs that I profess to “hate,” there’s something in them that’s affecting me in a weird way. So, I’m curious to hear how the boys weigh in on this one.

  8. Lara says:

    This song is like Rufus Wainwright in the Youtube video you posted last entry, about the McGarrigle sisters: awkward, pubescent, earnest, and weird, but unknowingly (or maybe knowingly) bursting with potential musical brilliance. Cheers, I Tried to Look Away! When you grow up you’ll be hot and gay.

  9. Abraham says:

    Knowing the arranging tendencies of the Baby Teeths…. I’d say that’s an accurate prediction!

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