Sunday, October 4, 2015

Building nothing out of something - songs 75 to 71

There are 75 songs left and I love every one of them. These songs alone would combine to make five albums of great music. If I listened to nothing else, I would still be pretty happy. I think music is important enough to invest in and I've owned one system that set me back around $5,000 in the past. If I ever upgrade again, it will be to 24-bit audio, but that will only happen if the entire Modest Mouse back catalogue is ever made available as a high resolution option.

Let's move on to the next song on the countdown:

75. Satellite Skin (No One's First and You're Next)

If you break these moth wing feelings
Powdery dust on your fingers
Well no we're not praying we're kneeling

Hard enough just to say you believe them
Well how the heck did you think you could beat them,
At the same time that you're trying to be them?

Hard enough just to say you don't need it
When they serve it up well you will still eat it!
Satellite, satellite skin

Just to knock just to say you don't visit
Well everybody's willing to listen
Oh Satellite, satellite skin

You can say what you want you're forgiven
Well happy fuckin' congratulations
Well everyone, everyone wins

Just like being my own solar system
Doing good things but then totally eclipse them
Oh what the use, oh what the hell

(You're lost in the added cause, added cause)

If you break these moth wing feelings
Butterfly knifes in the ceiling
Well everyone, everyone's willing

Detachment gets praised and completed
You can say what you want and not mean it
Well no one really seems to be waiting
If you sweep up this mess I've created
Nothing's left to show I existed
Satellite, satellite skin

Asking for a question
Was it easier said, than was actually done?
Do you even believe that
Do you even believe, that there's a race to be won?

If you break these moth wing feelings
I have seen it all become satellite skin
Orbiting innocent eyes
A knack to notice all their opinions
Get stacked in all those usual avoided spots
Just to tell you I could not have seen
Through to the gist of those unhappy, happy accidents

I have to say that I'm unsure what the lyrics in Satellite Skin actually mean. Some could be applied to relationships, the way we treat other people, and the actions in our lives. It could also be questioning the validity of religious beliefs? While, I am curious, I don't need to know the answer. The appeal of this song is in the delivery. The structure is more conventional than that found in most Modest Mouse songs, so perhaps the casual listener would get into it easier than some of the more complex songs?

74. Ohio (This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About)

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio

Took a bus straight to Baltimore
On the way he took a nap
Dropped off a note that said, "I'm giving this note back"
P.S. There's a lot going on underneath
There's roots, there's pipes, and there's drainage leaks
You're on, you're wrong

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio

Truly sorry, I see clearly
Calmly crashing, I pace faster than anyone
Hinges rusting, they swing louder than anything
Truly lonely, this place is flatter than it seems

I'm upset and I leave the door open wide
Our hearts are used up, cracked and dry
Pulled the scabs off of regrets
We haven't learned to read our conscience yet

Truly sorry, I see clearly
Hardy hoping, I spend it all on game machines
Calmly crashing, I pace and I figure it out again
One hand clapping, awake but napping

Rows of lights to illuminate lines
Why don't they turn them off and let us see night
Drove crazed, grooming my lies
You can't look in on one way eyes

Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio

This song brings up a lot of thoughts. It's another one that made my Driving playlist. The first thing I think about is Neil Young because he wrote a song with the same title. Although those lyrics are totally different, the plodding structure would not be out of place on a Neil Young and Crazy Horse album. There are obvious differences of course, with the patented Modest Mouse guitar present throughout the song. The intelligence that I have mentioned is evident in the lyrics. It paints quite a picture. Dropped off a note that said, "I'm giving this note back" reminds me of comedian Stephen Wright as well as Modest Mouse's album titles. I love the contradictions. There is indeed a lot going on underneath. That could be the band's slogan. The more you listen to these songs, the more you discover. My favorite lyric in a song packed with them is "Pulled the scabs off of regrets." What a brilliant line. It's rounded off by a final minute with the band jamming. My already massive appreciation for This Is a Long Drive is still growing.

73. People as Places as People (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank)

To answer the questions it'll probably take more
If you're already there, well you probably don't know
Well we were the people that we wanted to know
And we're the places that we wanted to go

It's hard to get hold of and hard to let go
Always something we'd looked for from the day we were born
Instead we're the people that we wanted to know
And we're the places that we wanted to go

And we're the places that we wanted to go
And we're the places that we wanted to go

Always askin' a question and I don't want to know
Like the wind across strings that had finally let go
And the people you loved but you didn't quite know
And they're the places that you wanted to go

Bark at the neighbors and then bark at the door
A snifflin' and wimperin' for someone to know
But we were the people that we wanted to know
And we're the places that we wanted to go
Yeah we're the places that we wanted to go
Yeah we're the places that we wanted to go

It was not the intention but we let it all go
Well it messed up the function and it fucked up the flow
I hardly have people that I needed to know
'Cuz you're the people that I wanted to know

All this scrambling 'round huntin' high and then low
Lookin' for a face, love or somewhere to go
I hardly have places that I needed to go
'Cuz you're the places that I wanted to go
Yeah you're the places that we wanted to go
Yeah, you're the places that we wanted to go

You shouldn't have to ask
You shouldn't have to ask
'Cuz we are your ripcord

There are definitely people that I like hanging out with. I'm not sure I am that 'place' for many people, but I hope for at least one or two. This song is quite simple musically and it's hard to listen to without expecting to hear Invisible straight after it. The delivery of the lyrics about barking always makes me grin.

72. The Waydown (The Fruit That Ate Itself)

On the way down, they saw a lot they don't remember
And if you asked them how, they couldn't say how they got there
And if you want them out, you could just pull on their lever and say
I'm hung up on gravity

You move your mouth and you start to talk
You close your eyes and then lose the thought
What's mine is mine and what's yours, you probably got
And we all fall

On the way down, they saw a lot they don't remember
And if you asked them how, they'd say that gravity's how they got there
And if you want them out, you could just pull on their lever and say
I'm hung up on this decade

They bounced themselves off schools and halls
They created pagers to collect all their calls
What's mine is mine and what's yours and we always fall
And we fall...

The Fruit That Ate Itself is an EP that has grown on me enormously over the past year. At least four of the songs have been my favorite from the release at some point, but The Waydown currently holds that title. It flows smoothly, but sounds like the Modest Mouse that I know and love. Each component comes together beautifully, and then goes quiet when Brock delivers the lyrics. I'll always love that drum sound.

71. Guilty Cocker Spaniels (No One's First and You're Next)

Well I took off running at the greatest speed
I didn't bother looking to either side of me
Well I didn't see, I just didn't see
What was really going on

The trees had stopped and the skyline rose
Exchanging comfort for more fashionable clothes
I'd left the hills at this point in time
To run on treadmills in a perfect line

Salad days add up to daily shit
Sparkin' imagination until the sparks just quit
And if this is fun, why am I so bored with it?
Well I'll probably never know

Guilty Cocker Spaniels eating table scraps
When we rolled over, how our masters clapped
It felt so good we wanted more than that
But when the program failed they defensively laughed
Sayin': We did things just how you asked
Don't try taking us to task
You didn't buy a face, nope just a mask
So Happy Halloween

I drew a blank, we put it in a frame
Wait, what? You're winning? You didn't say this was a game
Well I guess I'll just have to play and play
Until I'm out of cash

Before I could spit it out
I guess the words had burnt my mouth, what can I say?
Worst of all, I laid it down
So you could take it out of context either way

We said all along we deserve every bit
And mostly we knew that the supply would quit
But we got going, going just away with it
Til' everybody lost their mind

Directly behind me and ahead of the time
But don't you worry you'll fall right in line
Yep, everything just might fly by
No one's getting blamed this time

Blameless oh blameless
Can we find a way to blame our way out?

Well I postdated the eulogy
For every blameless body, nah nah

We are blamelessly teething
On much more than we need, nah nah nah

Blamelessly teething...

Well we're all getting blamed
cause everyone, everyone knew!

Everybody knew

We Just sat there, ramblin'
Everybody knew

Oh everybody knew
Oh everybody knew

Here's another song that unveils hidden layers the more that you listen to it. Brock's vocals remind me of Captain Beefheart; animated, and borderline crazy in a gleeful way. It sounds like a commentary on the band's situation at the time? I'm really not sure. I like it because of the multiple shifts in style and the sheer urgency of the delivery. There's so much going on that it's easy to miss on one listen.

Thanks for reading. I'll aim to publish the next installment in a couple of days.

Here's the story so far:

100. Birds Vs Worms
99. Fire It Up
98. We've Got Everything
97. Dukes Up
96. Out of Gas
95. Strangers to Ourselves
94. Of Course We Know
93. Space Travel Is Boring
92. Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice, Alright
91. Dance Hall
90. She Ionizes & Atomizes
89. Other People's Lives
88. Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In (Positive Negative)
87. One Chance
86. Polar Opposites
85. Might
84. Pups to Dust
83. Sunspots in the House of the Late Scapegoat
82. All Night Diner 
81. March Into the Sea
80. Coyotes
79. Blame It On the Tetons
78. The Good Times Are Killing Me
77. Perfect Disguise
76. A Life of Arctic Sounds
75. Satellite Skin
74. Ohio
73. People as Places as People
72. The Waydown

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