Completion and Incompletion

by Nick Smith in


I wrote a song last week.   Kinda.  I wrote the words.  Then I sat down with the guitar and wrote some music.  And I could sing it and it sounded great.  Then later Kurt came over and I was playing it for him, except I had completely lost the song.  I still had the lyrics.  I still had the chords written out.  I just completely lost the rest of the song.  The vocal melodies and the strumming rhythms, which I do not have the time or skill to notate in any appreciable manner, are lost in the jungle of my mind.  I have been kicking myself for not recording it when I wrote it.  I'm gonna have to spend some serious time this week with a guitar in my hands seeing if I can dig it up.  I'll post the lyrics for you.  It's called Stroll.  It just seemed like a good title.  I'm not the best at titles.

I lock the front door behind me As I leave my safe place I take the fire in my hands And hold it up to my face
Like the thing sticking out of my mouth I am getting burnt I dove into a raging river Now I'm fighting the current And as I walk by the storefronts with the lights turned out I wish that I could just do the same Hardened puddles all splattered on the sidewalk Are almost as slippery as the blame
I start walking on down Union All the way across town When I made it to the playground It hit me so hard I fell down
I crawled across the cedar chips I tried to find a place to hide I sat down and thought about you Motionless at the top of the slide And when your face makes a spark in my mind I'm soaked in gasoline and I'm consumed by flame Spinning my wheels, I just can't find the friction It's almost as slippery as the blame
And I took off, made a beeline for the river Like the sheriff had his posse on my tail It was too far for me and as I reached the bank I started stumbling as my legs began to fail.
I weakly dove in the water Sank with the weight of my clothes Deciding to go up and get some air Was the moment that my mind froze
I hauled my body up out of the stream And lay exhausted on the shore Then the memory caught up to me It hit me harder than before This cycle is fated to repeat itself for years Unless I take steps to break the frame A bundle of nerves, my sweaty palms just can't hang on And I'm almost as slippery as the blame.

If you're familiar with Get Lonely it is obvious how heavily I was listening to the album when I wrote these words.  It's just the kind of song I felt like writing.  I really like the words, but I need to get the song back out of the depths or I won't be able to play it without it sounding like crap.  Although the lyrics are very Get Lonely, the song has more of an All Hail West Texas sound.  And before you say it, I hate feeling like I am copying stuff, but that's just the way it shook out.  The words came pretty quickly.  I picked up my guitar and the part started flowing pretty quickly, and the song flowed out.  If I can get it back, I think it will be a pretty strong song.

Anyways, PAX East is coming up, and I am SUPER-PUMPED.  The whole gang from college is getting back together to celebrate our nerdery by going to a convention full of nerds!  I have been lagging in my nerditude as of late.  I've been getting all into sports and shit.  This will be a nice retreat into a part of me I haven't embraced in quite some time.

Speaking of sports, it's March.  This past weekend has been spent obsessing over the tournament.  Go 'Cuse.  This has been a wild one, which was DESPERATELY needed after last year's snoozefest.  Thursday was an incredibly wild day.  And yesterday when Kansas lost I was out to dinner with my parents getting updates on my phone and I snuck out to the bar to catch the last minute.  My bracket went down the tubes days ago and I don't care.  I'm excited to see what happens next week.  The Orangemen looked strong today in their trouncing of Gonzaga.  And yes, I will say Orangemen.  Some people say they're called the Orange now.  That never happened.  I think people who spend too much time in tanning booths deserved to be stigmatized by a sports team name.

Back to music, I think I've sucked most of the meat off the bones of Get Lonely.  The run of songs between "Moon Over Goldsboro" and "Woke Up New" is just breathtakingly good.  I haven't quite digested "New Monster Avenue" yet.  I am reluctant to write it off as less great than the rest of the album.  I'll probably stick with the album for the rest of the week.  Oh, yeah, "In Corolla" is probably the song on the album that eluded me the longest before it hit home with me.  But it's been hitting hard.  Now that I've wrapped my head around it, I love it.  "In The Hidden Places" and "Song For Lonely Giants" are twin marvels.  I find myself often looking to the dark hillsides in the hidden places, as well as practicing my solitary scales 'til they grow heavy.  Overall, probably not as strong as Tallahassee or All Hail West Texas, but I definitely had to think about it before typing that.

Up next is The Sunset Tree.  More Mountain Goats.  I've been cheating and listening to it a bit already.  In fact I'm listening to it right now.  The opening stretch is unfairly good.  "You Or Your Memory" and "Broom People" are already proving to be gems.  "This Year" is the hit that I'm already quite fond of, although I think it's probably the one Mountain Goats song that people who don't really listen to the Mountain Goats know.  But it's still really good.  "Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod?" is a song I don't really get 100% yet, although some sparks flew today, but it's one a lot of people seem to like, so I'm sure I'll find it soon.  "Love Love Love" is the song that was playing in the back of my mind that I didn't realize when I wrote "Money Can't Buy Love."  I didn't realize it was there at the time, but it definitely was.  But anyone who looks at both songs will realize I broke "Love Love Love" out of its shell and turned it into something completely different.  I hate defending myself.  Finding one's voice is a difficult process.

In yet more music news, Phish released their summer tour dates!  Go to their website if you want the full script.  So far, the plan is that Kurt and I are doing a 4 show run from Hartford > SPAC June 17-20.  And I am contemplating either a midwest run with 4 nights between Deer Creek near Indianapolis and Alpine Valley in Wisconsin August 12-15.  It might be difficult to afford, however.  If I can't swing that, I may instead do a more East Coast based run in June, maybe doing Mansfield > Camden > Maryland?  Not that that will cost a ton less.  I'm not sure.  I need to look at my money situation.  But I have a week of vacation and maybe an extra day set aside for Phish.  I intend to use it.

Yours in the bonds of Holy Moley, Nick

And boom goes the dynamite.