FWIW or Allusive Titles Aren’t Allowed

original demo (working title of ‘tickle,’ the song changed quite a bit when I changed my live setup to utilize live loops)

live at Backspace, 020610 (includes the spacey jam at the end for fun and sustenance)

I wanted to call this song ‘Communication Letdown’ as an allusion to the Zeppelin song, but it was vetoed (once by Melissa and once by my better judgement). Most allusory titles are shot down around here, and with good reason. I thought it stood well for a little while. The song’s about logophobia on one hand–the fear of words. Or at least the fear of communicating. And not in a Toastmasters sort of way–it’s not public speaking but speaking in general. Whether being fearful because you know what you say will alienate you or being fearful that your language or accent will mark you as a foreigner. Does your word choice mark you as other or let you into the club? Can you communicate without this happening (answer: not really, unless you’re good at it)?

It’s the sort of line I’ve been gently skipping near with all of this writing, for instance. That line is whether to tell you what some of the songs are about or to let you as a listener bring your own ideas to the art. I think this happens no matter what, the bringing of yourself to the art, but sometimes it’s easier without a rubric. It’s not Ulysses and you don’t need a concordance, but then again no one’s ever going to ask about the lyrics, so why not tell you about them? Why does this all make me feel like I’m 14? There’s also the problem of a song having subtexts. For instance, there’s at least one subtext that runs throughout the album–the idea of immigration–and sometimes that’s not a subtext, but the main course. Anyway, I’ll leave the subtexts up to you.

Anyway, ‘FWIW’ is a better title since the song mentions the shortening of ‘for what it’s worth’ within the lyrics. It’s the sort of acronym you see online all the time… that I swear I’ve heard in real life. Like LOL, but even more wince inducing. It’s only a slight reference to the Buffalo Springfield song… actually it’s not a reference to that song at all. Or maybe it’s all subconscious subtext. Sorry to be confusing.

Words lead you astray
down mottled alleyways
where numbers stand smoking
against dumpsters full and buzzing
with flies combing aimlessly
a sound-layered futility.

He wrote ‘for what it’s worth’
as acronym, listserve.
outside reads its own way,
discussion cloaked and staid.

Words lead me astray
there must be a better way
maybe colors or clouds can
maybe indices or equations
but there must be a better way
because words lead me astray.


3 thoughts on “FWIW or Allusive Titles Aren’t Allowed

  1. Kind of fascinating to see the demo against the live performance; the constraints involved in pulling stuff off as a solo band-in-a-box thing really are both compelling and daunting to me. It was neat to be able to see you doing some of this stuff live.

    This show audio came out really well, too, all things considered. Whoever that guy was who miked it, give him a hug.

  2. Tim Kahn recorded it. He had a really nice setup and was super nice to record it.

    Yeah, the demo was all created with loops, of course. This was when I was doing stuff with a drum machine, the Boss sampler, and other stuff. When I switched to the live loops, a lot of songs got left behind (some of which I’m sure will end up here at some point). I don’t feel too bad, though, since I think the newer songs/versions are better.

    I think the key to live loops without software is just deciding on what is going to be the rhythm instrument. If the guitar sets the rhythm, then you have to fill in with the other stuff. I guess if I had software it would be 1,000 times easier, but I’m really bad at making things not easy for myself.

    Anyhoo, thanks Josh!

  3. Pingback: tickle by sleepy pete « Be A Star Online

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