Tag Archives: MySpace

LYRICS // Games (2007)

Reading Eric Schlosser’s ‘Fast Food Nation‘ a number of years ago, I was quite struck to find out that many of the smells of American fast food are actually manufactured in large plants off the New Jersey Turnpike and then added to the food during processing. As I was going through a difficult relationship at the time, I occurred to me that that which might smell sweet wasn’t actually all it appeared to be. The first line of this song came from that and hung around in a notepad, awaiting a song to fill it out.

Shortly before I left Britain for Japan, I once again became distracted by a dalliance with someone that I misconstrued to have greater meaning. I was dropped cryptic notes with quotes from Montesquieu and Anais Nin, that set my heart a-racing for a moment. Luckily, I managed to see it for the game that it was after a while and set on my merry way, bound for Tokyo, but not before I put my feelings to verse. The Turnpike Rose seemed to fit for this situation too.

When it came to writing a set of new songs for the Shelf Life album, as usual I trawled back through my archive of lyrical scraps to see if there was anything salvageable there. There seemed to be some useable lines and couplets here, so I took them as the bones and fleshed it out with a little more new stuff. The lines about the chameleon referred to my state at the time in Tokyo of having a variety of different personas that I used for different situations (teacher, rock singer, charity founder, Brit, etc) and that when one displays a variety of different guises, others often don’t know (or can’t tell) who the real person lurking underneath is.

The song was written to be a relatively simple one with an easy-to-follow chorus, and performed as a rather punky thrash. When it was recorded, a strong synthesiser element was added in the production, taking it away a little from its Pistols-inspired roots and making it quite poppy.

Lyrically, the song is about the games that boys and girls play in the early or pre-dating phase that can often end up to be just that – a game. The song can be heard on the band’s MySpace page and purchased from Shelf Life - Best Before End - Games.


Games

That scent, like a rose,
From the New Jersey Turnpike.
No-one else knows,
The smile on her face that she looked like.

Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.
Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.

My guises like clothes,
Changed for the moment or season.
No-one else knows,
What truths are in the chameleon.

Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.
Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.

Montesquieu and Anais Nin,
Knocked my door and came right in.
They asked first if I was able,
And left messages on my table.

We dallied a while and spent some time,
It helped us get through the summer.
No distant rainbows broke,
She moved on to play with another.

Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.
Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.

Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.
Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.

That scent, like a rose,
From the New Jersey Turnpike.
No-one else knows,
The smile on her face that she looked like.

My guises like clothes,
Changed for the moment or season.
No-one else knows,
What truths are in the chameleon.

Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.
Maybe, I didn’t want to name names,
Maybe, we stopped playing games.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 2007, Lyrics, Shelf Life

LYRICS // Vonnegut’s Blues (2006)

An early attempt at a political song with Shelf Life and our first original song written together.

‘Vonnegut’s Blues’ was written as a (loosely disguised) diatribe about the Bush administration, inspired by a piece written by the late American author Kurt Vonnegut, who was still alive when the song was written. The original article that prompted the song was discovered on Common Dreams, where the writer bemoaned the state of his country under Bush Junior. What got him through such times was music – always having good tunes to take away the pain – and that was the one thing that couldn’t be taken away from him. A sentiment I couldn’t help but agree with.


…’No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful.’…

The opening lines check Rumsfeld, ‘him at the top’ would be Junior himself and ‘Number Two’ bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain Mr Cheney. The chorus takes on the idea of peak oil and implores the audience to speak out about the parlous state of the future. The song was an attempt to write something quite simple and direct, lyrically speaking, instead of cloaking the message in elusive imagery.

I seemed to have had the opening lines knocking around my head for years and finally found a song that they’d fit. Long after it had been written and performed a number of times, I found myself one day singing along to an old Dylan tune. To my embarrassment, I found that I’d almost exactly lifted them straight from ‘A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall‘ (‘…the executioner’s face is always well hidden…’)!

Should Dylan and Vonnegut therefore be listed as co-writers (pretty cool names to share your writing credits with at least)? Let’s just say that they provided some useful ‘inspiration’ for the song!


The song itself can be heard on our MySpace page, and purchased from Shelf Life - Best Before End - Vonnegut's Blues. Vonnegut’s book ‘A Man Without A Country‘ is also a fine read.


Vonnegut’s Blues

The executioner’s kept hidden
He cuts from the bottom and the middle

No matter how bad it gets
We’ll have music

No matter where they take us
We’ll still have our songs

We’re on a flatout week
Until the oil supply peaks
The future’s looking bleak
So it’s your turn to speak

Him at the top is an accident
Dad and friends put him there for revenge

No matter how bad it gets
We’ll have music

No matter where they take us
We’ll still have our songs

We’re on a flatout week
Until the oil supply peaks
The future’s looking bleak
So it’s your turn to speak

Number Two is watching me and you
There’s not a great deal he’ll let us do

No matter how bad it get
We’ll have music

No matter where they take us
We’ll still have our songs

We’re on a flatout week
Until the oil supply peaks
The future’s looking bleak
So it’s your turn to speak

Leave a comment

Filed under 2006, Lyrics, Shelf Life