Here’s a big update for you. My guess is that there will be one more update after this, but it will be much less wordy than this one. That’s the one in which I’ll reveal the album title and cover art (probably). In this update, I’ll reveal the tracklist and everything else I can think of that I’ve done since I last checked in. Let’s do this.
I’m a big fan of “the album.” The feeling of listening to a bunch of new songs back to back is special. One of the reasons why I put out albums over singles is cost. It would be much more expensive for me to put out a single song every month for a year than it would to put out an album with 12 songs on it. That’s a small reason though. Even if it ended up costing the same, I would still put out albums. If for no other reason, these 10 songs sound like they belong together because of the whole acoustic theme.
At this point in time, these songs are at least 90% completely recorded and mixed. I’m notorious for making a million minor changes to all the songs before I send them off for mastering, so there will certainly be small changes made, but I’m happy with everything right now. That might change in the new few days, but whatever. Let’s go through all the songs, one by one. I’m pretty confident these will be the final song titles and even the order they’ll appear on the album, but that could change.
- “Keep Your Eyes Open” – The first song on the album, but it’s the last one I recorded. The more acoustic songs I produced, the more experimental I wanted to get with all the instrumentation. This one is a little less simplistic and a little more weird than most of the other songs. I wrestled with how I wanted the album to start. I love a good intro. There’s about 20 seconds of weirdness at the beginning of this song which also serves as an intro to the album. It’s around 3 minutes long, and I’d like to think it represents the album as a whole pretty well.
- “Dungarees” – I say these is track 2, but it’ll probably get moved down in the tracklist because it’s a little silly. Acoustic guitars drive the experience, but the chorus vocals currently are a tad too much on that gravelly/robotic side. So I think I’m going to re-record them. But the verse vocals are borderline good. I actually didn’t even use the best vocal takes because they sounded too good at times. The verses are very open and loose and…nice sounding. The verses are much more staccato and hard rockish. I like that about it. I don’t do that enough.
- “Secret Title” – I’m not saying the name of this song yet because it’s the name of the album. The vocals haven’t actually been recorded for this one yet, but I’ve got the lyrics written out, and I know how it’s going to sound. Unless something changes between now and recording, the lyrics are going to be somewhat deeper than I usually get. The metaphors and such will probably and hopefully go over everyone’s heads, but the lyrical content is something that has been go through my head over the last 6 months or so. The music is pretty exceptional too, if I say so myself.
- “222 Skyscraper Way” – It’s not the most obscure reference, but the title refers to something that is important and is a cool nod, I think. Anyway, it’s an upbeat little song with a southern slant. Most of the songs on this album follow kind of standard song structures, which I’m happy about, but this one does not. I realize the solution to that is to just structure the songs better, but my interim fix to it is to make the song shorter instead. I don’t know.
- “Do It, Screw It” – If you couldn’t tell by the title, this one isn’t super family friendly. Right now, I might say it’s my favorite song overall. It probably has the best balance of being an acoustic folksy song and whatever type of music I usually do. It’s pretty wordy, and I’m proud of the song structure. There’s multiple chorus sections, but the lyrics are different in each one. Here are some terms that appear in the song, to give an idea of the direction: wang, Les Claypool, labia minora, and buttchug
- “Ooh La La (Ooh La La La La La La)” – I think this is the first song I wrote for the album. I like it, but I’m probably most proud of the title. My first thought was too entitle it simply “Ooh La La,” but there are million other songs with the same name. “The Ooh La La Song” isn’t even unique. But unless I missed something, “Ooh La La (Ooh La La La La La La)” hasn’t been used by anyone. Not that song titles have to be unique or anything, but I want this one to be special. It’s a little long, obviously, but it’s awesome. Those are the lyrics to the chorus or whatever it is, by the way. One of my many flaws is that I rarely come up with memorable hooks, lyrics that people remember and want to sing along with. It’s seldom that I even have choruses. And maybe no one besides me will sing along with this chorus, but at least I tried.
- “Pretty Little Ditty (Acoustic)” – Here we start the trio of acoustic remakes of my “classic” songs. I knew I wanted to have a few of these on the album, and I often debated with myself over where they should appear. Should they be sprinkled throughout or stuck at the end? All in the beginning? I settled for them to be at the end, but track 10 sounds too much like a final song, so it follows these acoustic remakes. But anyway, I’m actually pretty excited about this song because the original “Pretty Little Ditty” that appeared on Punk Rebel Renegade is by far my most popular song on Spotify. It, at one time, had had more plays than all my other songs combined on the streaming service. I don’t know why, but I’m curious to see if this version performs as well. It’s essentially the same song with better production and without the weird last part.
- “Around the World (Acoustic)” – Remember this song in Rock Band? It first appeared there, before I even officially released my music. But yeah, it appeared on Boobs, Butts, and Feets and has a similar vibe to “Everyone I Know Is an Alcoholic.” I like this acoustic version, but it’s probably the only song that gave me much trouble learning how to play on guitar. Transcribing those synth parts to acoustic guitar was a pain. The chorus specifically was tough. It’s an awkward musical part to say the least.
- “Everyone I Know Is an Alcoholic (Acoustic)” – “Ooh La La” is the first original song I wrote for this album, but this is the first song I actually recorded. Unless something changes before mastering, it sounds kind of drastically different from all the other songs. I’m not entirely sure why. I did record 3 guitar tracks for it, and they’re all somewhat unique. I think it sounds cool, but since I didn’t use quite the same recording technique on any of the other songs, it stands out. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s effectively a re-recording, it would bother me. But I think it’s okay for this particular song to stand out. I imagine some people will only be interested in this song. It’s fine.
- “Tomorrow Is a New Day” – I whipped this one up shortly before “Keep Your Eyes Open,” the first song on this album. I don’t know how obvious it would be to anyone knowing that, but as I went along this recording process, I was starting to slip into my old ways of making weirdness. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’d put this track in the same category as “You’re Ruining Society!,” the hit final song from Modus Operandi. There’s some distorted synths buried in the mix and a lot of…samples. If you liked “You’re Ruining Society!,” you’ll probably like this. If you didn’t, you’ll probably hate this. I like it a lot, but even I won’t find myself listening to it repeatedly. It’s more of a song that I’ll listen to when I need something a little off-beat.
Ah. So that’s that. There’s a slight through-line that will hopefully come across with the lyrics. Someone once politely criticized the heavy handedness of the fire metaphors on Heat Stroke. I took that to heart and so the main ideas of this album are less pronounced.
I’m basically at the finish line, so I don’t know how much there is to talk about. I mean, there is the album title and the cover art to reveal. But I don’t know what else there is. I don’t know. Anyway, I’m excited to get a new album out. I think this is the longest I’ve released music. For years there, I would alternate putting out a new album and remixing and mastering an older album that I hadn’t officially released. But effectively all my old stuff is out in the wild now, so all that’s really left to get distributed is new stuff.
But anyway, there’s a big writeup on the album that you don’t know the name of yet. My guess is that I’ll do the big formal reveal in the next week or two, but we’ll see. Stay tuned.