(Written Monday, Sept 20)
It’s one of those days in the Northwest where if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. Recording is on hold for one day; fatigued ears need some time off. I am presently working on the louder, faster songs. They are more challenging to play, and tonally there’s more distortion and jagged edges. More complex+more abrasive tonality=lots of time spent making it right and tired ears even when recording at a relatively low decibel level.
It has been a good reminder, however, in how varied this upcoming compilation is.
It’s not a huge departure from Mirror Darkly. True, most of it falls in the 100-140bpm industrial pop/rock vein. I suppose it’s more of an evolution, with wider bookends. The mellow stuff is more chill; the harder stuff is more intense. Example. The song that’s blown out my ears is over 200 bpm when you take into account the double time drum signature. It’s based around a fast, chuggy guitar riff and a relentless beat. The topic of the song is betrayal, usury, and revenge. It’s brutal all the way around. On the other side is an atmospheric, largely electronica tune clocking in at 91bpm. The song initially started as a personal challenge to write about a topic that’s often a rock and roll cliché. When I sent it to Tanya for her comment, it was couched with “Does this sound too much like a Christian worship song?” She laughed and assured me I was in no such danger. But even the topic – alright, fine, it’s a love song – is a bit of a departure from the more angsty, aggressive lyrics our songs usually have.
And in the middle? More. More guitars. More keyboards. More drums. More harmonies. More riffs. More space. More atmosphere. More turmoil. More defiance. More hope.
I can already hear industry professionals shaking their heads and telling us to focus. Do one thing really well. Paradox doesn’t sell. Neither does a compilation that goes from blast beats to synth drums; from hard-edged male vocals to delicate female performance.
They’re not wrong about this, you know. You won’t be hearing Lady Gaga doing jazz standards anytime soon. Even though I’m sure she can.
I also know that it wasn’t too long ago that Led Zeppelin could put “Stairway to Heaven”, “Going to California”, and “When the Levee Breaks” on the same album. 3 different songs, 3 different styles. All clearly one band. And they weren’t the only ones doing this kind of thing.
We’re not Led Zeppelin. But we are a band of a lot of contributors and a lot of emotions. Only makes sense that the music would reflect that in the aggregate.
It would surprise me if everyone liked every song on the compilation. But that’s okay. You can always skip over the songs you don’t like.
Besides. I would rather that you hate a tune or two than lose interest less than halfway through.