This all started with a song I wrote in April 2020, and then spent most of the rest of the year working on. I must have played it a thousand times by the end of the year. And for some reason, I did not write any others during most of that period.
Until early November, when suddenly things seemed so much easier for some reason.
Now, that first song, "When This Is Over", is obviously about the plague. I knew I was bound to write about what we are all going through, one way or another - and also that there will be a million crummy songs written about it, and a few good ones. So I vowed to keep it to the one song, and just say everything I wanted to say in that one piece. So I did. I knew what most of that was fairly rapidly, and just had to spend hundreds of hours figuring out and improving how to say it. And learning the music that seemed to go along with it.
As the year went by, I began to wonder how I would integrate this song with others (if and) when they eventually started arriving. There is something about this one that sets it apart. I'm not sure why, but there is.
I think if I was an actual entertainer, it simply would have been a standalone single, released midsummer while on a tour of the world's great arenas to great critical acclaim, and crossing over to wild and adventurous dance-floor-remixing by the world's greatest producers. But, no. None of that. I didn't have a double-A side to go with it anyway.
So the idea of it being a table of contents began bouncing around in my head. I didn't want to try to do it, but thought it was an amusing idea. Putting it first, as a sort of conceptual rather than musical overture, with everything that follows being in some way related to it, however vaguely.
Then I wrote "What You Got", and it certainly seemed like it could be connected to the idea of "party cream peaches", so the concept had some vague viability. I came up with "Bad Weekend" about a week later and the deal was sealed.
Since then each of the things I have written seems to have a fairly clear place where it fits (to me, at least), with some of them even sharing key words in their lyrics - which was not even intentional. So far, so good. Better than I had hoped for, really. Contrapuntally, I haven't had to - or wanted to - try to write anything to fit the conceptual framework. It is just sort of working. As I write these notes at the end of January, suddenly working on figuring out the rest of the bits of eleven fairly unique songs running almost forty minutes total, it wouldn't bother me at all to force the issue if I had to. Or even just to say "There, that's it. That's the album." In February I compelled "Private Plains Ape" into existence to fill an aching existential gap around the idea of what it was like as we all experimented with our spacecowboydivesuits to embark on the most basic errands, and now I have a roughly fifty-six minute album of thirteen songs to work on,
This also somewhat saved me the trouble of track ordering, of finding good segues - the running order is already defined. What I find myself doing is instead fine-tuning the arrangements, and to some degree production, of the songs so they "play well together".
At some point - perhaps here - I will make a facsimile of the lyrics of "When This Is Over" and mark it up the way I have done with a copy at the front of my notebook - with brief passages highlighted and the name of the song that connects to them written nearby.
It is left as an exercise for the reader, for the listener, to determine which of the songs is about the end of the world.