King's Cross pt3 (repost)
So there's not too much more to the story except for the last part of the song, the section where Isabelle's singing on her own to begin with: Take my hand etc. This was actually the very first part of the song that we had written, back in December. It begins with the big fade away which was to signify the explosion and then the quiet that would follow. Another scene shift and even more dramatics - one day maybe I'll get Steven Spielberg to direct teh music video! Too much Queen in my diet as a young boy I fear.
Apologies to those of you that can't stomach such theatrical concepts, but here I was seeing the aftermath of the explosion in the tunnels: the dust and debris, the Tube carriage blown apart, the darkness and confusion: well, you get the idea. At this point, when Isabelle starts singing, "Take my hand I'm leaving" I was kind of envisioning an angel pulling the dead from their bodies. While her line, "Take my hand I'm bleeding" was to represent the voices of the injured calling for help. Lovely image isn't it? Somehow it just made so much sense when I wrote it I couldn't question it! So the dead are departing and the wounded are crying for help. It's a bit unlikely content for a pop song I admit, but like I said, it just fit the music and the entire concept was undeniable (to me at least). The song builds to a crescendo musically as my vocal line grows from a subtle counterpoint and then through repetition into the harmonized line:
"Don't give away or take away the innocence, the innocent"
Pretty straight forward really. Just a plaintive cry for everyone around the world to stop sticking their heads so far up their own asses in their fundamentalist beliefs, and take in the world as a whole. Stop killing each other in the name of your version of god, stop justifying the deaths of innocent people because you have some righteous fury in your belly that can't be swayed. Basically, my way of saying, "why can't we all just get along," set to a beat!
The outro, where I reprise the opening piano line with the pizz strings just seemed appropriate for the fade out. A bit like, is this kind of shit ever going to stop or are we just going to keep putting the same record on and on, and keep doing it all over again? The full meaning behind the words is a bit heavy but that's why I like them. And of course if you don't know what we're singing about it can mean a lot of other things to the unsuspecting listener.
That's about it I guess, for the lyrical content at least. There were a few great moments in Mushroom studio where I overdubbed real piano onto the track along side the sampled version - I kept the first sequenced ideas as they were right and who cares if they were samples or not? However I will admit that there is something to playing parallel octaves over and over on a real piano that becomes almost like techno. You can't do THAT with samples! Try it one day, you'll see what I mean.
I feel obligated to give my thanks to Mr. Jesse Smith for his fabulous performance on the drums too. His beat is so tribal and African, I love how "world" it sounds without being too "folkfest." Possibly his best drumming, though I still reckon For the Glory is pretty amazing.
When it came time to mix I spent a lot of time trying to adjust the levels of the parts, pan them apart from one another to create the sense of drama, The "explosion" transition is still one of my favorite moments on the album so Thank You once again to Mr. Barry Flynn for his excellent ideas. I will admit that while I as mixing this song I proudly compared it to Bohemian Rhapsody, so that shows you how happy I was with its final result! If only we had a section where we could sing a few scalabooches, it would be certifiably amazing!y
Hopefully one day a few people will read this and realize why I sang like such a dodgy old geezer in the opening stanzas and I won't have to hear "Well the first singer kinda sucks" comments forever! But hey, if not, at least somebody was listening right?
Thanks for reading, take care, this was fun.
Post Script: We just were notified today that King's Cross was put through to round two on garageband.com. Kinda cool, maybe it means somebody important will listen to it one day and Combine the Victorious willl get wider distribution! Or not, but at least 34 new people have listened to our song now, and most of them thought it was pretty good!