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Written by Josh Millard
Year: 2010
Her mouth was a gun
"I'm leaving" the bullet
I reached out my hand
for the trigger and pulled it

My pride was the rafter
Her anger the noose
I stood on my soapbox
and kicked myself loose

My heart was the trestle
Her rage the train
My ear to the iron
Predicted the pain

Our love was a flower
Our life was manure
I thought this was clever
But now I'm not sure


The eleventh and final track of Inchoatery – and act of self-awareness and self-parody by the main character.

I woke up with the first stanza of this song bubbling around in my head. It was early in February, the first couple days of the month, and I didn’t really have a sense of direction for the album yet and so I was panicking a little about not knowing where to start. And so these went into a text file for further review.

And when I came back to them, I couldn’t really imagine singing them with a straight face. I’m all for vivid metaphor, but it read as a little too strident and serious for what the album was shaping up to be — I could see this coming out of some emo band, but that wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for with the project. And so I shelved them.

But the idea of incorporating knowingly-overwrought poetry into the album kept coming back to me. And eventually the idea fell together to have this be something that the main character himself might have written, some amateurish soul-searching during his depression and angst. And so there are references to the idea of poetry and readings, in both Drunk Again (“drunk again / writing shitty poetry / emo-kid inchoatery”) and Rewrite (“reading my own poetry / at this local open mic”), and this is the payoff on all that, and an excuse to air these lyrics somewhere despite my misgivings about using them with a straight face in the text of the album itself.

This recording has that sort of doing-it-by-talking-about-doing-it paralepsis in common with Get You Laid (in this case, an excuse for bad poetry; in that case, and excuse to play bar blues rock); it also has in common the faux-live setting. Again, as with that recording, I used field audio from to work venue-appropriate crowd noise into the recording.

One thing I would have done different if I’d had the time and energy for it would be to rerecord the vocals on this track through a PA set-up — there’s nothing quite like the sound of a vocal recital through a crappy mic into a crappy PA with bad EQ and a touch of feedback threatening to creep in over the top. As it is, mucking with the EQ on the recorded track at least suggests some of the notion of bad live sound, and that’ll have to do.

The harmonic structure of the jazzy backing track intentionally mirrors that of the album’s first track, I’m Done — the same verse and bridge structures are there, and the same sort of call-and-response thing with vocal segments vs. instrumental segments come into it, a small structural conceit that I like even if it doesn’t jump out to the casual listener.

The open-mic reference also makes this a nice callback to the At The Open Mic, the first track off my 2007 album Manifests. I have a lot of love for that sort of environment, and in a sense this last track is more about me than anything else on the album.

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