This is the track that nearly got away. Let me explain:
When I made my first rough demo of the song the result was so far from my usual writing style that I was convinced it had no value as a song. I tentatively played it to Mark and Cavan, warning them that it wasn't any good and that I would bin it and get on with something else. To my surprise they both looked at me in bewilderment, saying that it was probably the best song I'd ever written. Which just goes to show how much I know!
The song's theme is the power of language and the way that words can be used to justify the unjustifiable and to think the unthinkable. The lyrics came first and I nearly painted myself into a corner with the first verse's tight rhyming and alliterative structure. In the past I have often chickened out in a similar situation and used a simpler scheme for subsequent verses. But I was determined not to do that this time. I eventually came up with six verses (from which I chose the best four) which stretched the definition of "rhyme" almost to breaking point in places! Well, have you ever tried to find a rhyme for "epiphany"?
One of the things in the rough demo that Mark advised me to change was the drumbox rhythm track, and to use "real" drums instead. So I used one of the excellent Abbey Road virtual drum kits and edited every note in the song to give the impression of a young, indy drummer determined to bash his snare drum into extinction.
The final recording is a first for me in that it uses a vocoder (remember ELO's "Mr Blue Sky" and Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"?) and a heavily processed autotune effect as heard in Cher's "Believe". The pulsing synth in the chorus section owes a great deal to the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" (for the techies out there, it's a Korg Polysynth pad modulated with a LFO synced to the tempo of the song) and the piano solo wouldn't be what it is without Bruce Hornsby's influence (most noticeably in "The Way It Is").
I spent more man hours on the video than on any of my others including one marathon 13-hour session. I wanted a cartoon effect for the live performance part of the video and a simple pulsing stage lighting effect synced to the tempo of the song. I enjoyed making multiple copies of myself singing the "Woh ho ho" crowd chorus and I knew from the start that the end minute-or-so (influenced by the likes of Coldplay and Snow Patrol) would need some fireworks. Lots of them!
There, I've almost convinced myself that I like the song now!
Hope you do too!
Instrumentation: All instruments played or programmed by Brian Parks:
Line 6 Variax 6-string (simulating a Fender Stratocaster), Line 6 Variax bass guitar (simulating a 1963 Fender Precision bass), programmed Steinway piano, programmed Pianet electro piano, programmed Korg Polysynth (pulse modulated with LFO), programmed string orchestra, programmed egg shaker, programmed dubstep effects, programmed TR808 drums, programmed 2000s Pearl Reference drum kit recorded at Abbey Road Studios, lead vocals, backing and harmony vocals, vocoder vocals and programmed female backing vocals.
Who would ever think you could do that?
Did you really feel it was right?
It beggars all belief
You acted like a thief in the night
Could it be some evil possessed you?
What was going on in your mind?
Cos when you turned to go
You didn’t even throw me a line
You said there was no evil intention
You swore that you just needed some help
But let me make it clear
You’re fooling no-one here but yourself
You must have needed something badly
But I don’t even think you knew
Just what your plans would do
Woo hoo hoo. So that was your epiphany you call it.
Woo hoo hoo. You swallowed up a dictionary for it.
Woo hoo hoo. And even though initially I bought it
Woo hoo hoo. You used up all my sympathy before it
Did you think they all would be with you
Just the way they were in the past
But now it needs to end
You’re running out of friends pretty fast
You must have planned it all precisely
But baby I don’t think you know
Just where those plans will go
Woh ho ho. So that was your epiphany you call it.
Woh ho ho. You swallowed up a dictionary for it.
Woh ho ho. And even though initially I bought it
Woh ho ho. You used up all my sympathy before it