07 October 2006
top five things i shouldn't really be thinking about when i should be writing songs for our next album.
current listening: bonnie prince billy – the letting go
so for the past month or two we’ve been writing songs for the next album. and we’ll be writing songs for the next couple of months as well. we already had quite a few songs written for the album before now. songs that we’ve written over the last couple of years. so i’m tidying them up and writing new lyrics for new songs too. it hasn’t been easy, but i guess it wasn’t easy to write the first album. i think i just keep forgetting how hard it was to write the first album because it seems so long ago that we recorded it.
writing for me involves a lot of sitting on the floor and staring into space. and a lot of watching tv and reading books and going back over books i’ve read and films i like. although that doesn’t always help, sometimes that doesn’t do anything at all. i guess inspiration or whatever it is usually comes from somewhere unexpected, either that or it doesn’t come at all. i don’t completely know what this next record is going to be about, but then i didn’t know what the first record was about until i read all the reviews of it. it’s probably better if i don’t try and make it about something. we didn’t try and make the best party ever about anything in particular, it just happened that when we came to put all the songs together there seemed to be a theme and a vague narrative arc to it. i think i know what the next album will be called. it’s had the same title for a year or so now, but it might still change. things are always open to change right up until the last minute. and sometimes even after the last minute. pete knows me well enough to expect me to come in the day after we’ve recorded a vocal and tell him i’ve changed the words in the second chorus and that we’ll have to record the vocals all over again. i did that with at least half of the songs on the last album. i’m going to try not to do it this time though because it annoys me as much as it does him to have to rerecord a vocal take.
sometimes though i just sit staring at my notepad and i have absolutely nothing in my head at all. it’s at times like this that i often worry that i have some sort of brain disease that makes me forget words and thoughts, or that i used all the words i know in the first album and that i haven’t got any left for the second one. sometimes though i don’t worry about it, and i just do something else instead. and so it is today that i’m just sitting here wanting to write something but knowing that it’s just one of those days when i’ve got nothing, and instead of worrying that it might be because of a brain disease i decided to make a list of my top five buffy the vampire slayer episodes. and then maybe when i’ve done that i’ll be ready to write something for the next album that really needs to be finished soon. if pete reads this he’ll probably say something sarcastic like “good to see you haven’t been just wasting your time when you should have been working on the words for the next album.” but pete never reads my weblogs so he’ll never know.
my notepad by the way is green for this album. it’s the same sort of notepad that i always use. a europa a5 notemaker, feint ruled, 60 leaves microperfed for easy removal. i don’t think that ‘microperfed’ is actually a real word, but that’s what it says on the front of the pad. i had a yellow one and a red one for the last album. and all the b sides were written in a blue one. fascinating.
so here it is. top five buffy the vampire slayer episodes. in no particular order. and for no particular reason.
i was made to love you. i like robots. i like the idea of them. not sexbots though. i don’t like sexbots. i just like robots. this is the episode with april the robot in. warren made her to be his perfect girlfriend and then when he leaves her she comes to sunnydale to find him. and when he tells her he doesn’t love her anymore she doesn’t understand what she did wrong, because she’d always tried to be the perfect girlfriend. i think this is one of the saddest episodes, especially the bit at the end when april the robot’s batteries are running down and she says “when things are sad... you just have to be patient. because... because every... cloud has a silver lining. and... when life... gives you lemons... make... lemonade.” i always wanted to sample that bit of dialogue for the best party ever, to go between two of the songs, but i guess i just never got round to sorting it out. and then the episode ends with buffy coming home and finding her mum lying dead on the couch. all a bit too sad really.
becoming part two. i think this episode is probably just as sad as ‘i was made to love you’. it’s the episode that ends season two where angel as angelus has reawakened acathla and opened a vortex to hell. and willow attempts a re-ensoulment curse from the hospital while buffy and angelus fight. willow's curse works but it’s too late and acathla has already been reawakened and the only way to close the vortex is to kill angel. so as soon as his soul is returned to him, buffy has to drive a sword through angel’s heart, and send him to hell to close the vortex. phew. it’s all too much. very sad. and at the end the christophe beck song that plays is really beautiful.
superstar. jonathan levinson is my favourite buffy character. i think if i had to pick a character that i was most like it would be him. and so this is one of my favourite episodes because it’s the one where jonathan casts a spell changing sunnydale so that he is a superhero, who did all of the things that buffy had done in the previous three seasons, and also writes best selling books, coached the US women’s football team to world cup victory, has his own swimwear calendar and starred in the matrix. but when jonathan casts the spell he also conjures up a demon that starts attacking the town. and in the end he gets found out and everything gets returned to normal. i really like the scene with adam in his cave in this episode where he realises that something is wrong and says “i'm aware. i know every molecule of myself and everything around me. no one. no human, no demon has ever been as awake and alive as i am. you are all just shadows.” because it reminds me of the character from hell by henri barbusse, who cuts a hole in the wall and watches life literally pass him by in the room next door. and i particularly love the bit at the end when jonathan’s talking to buffy and she says “jonathan, you get why everyone is angry, though, right? it's not just the monster. people didn't like being the little actors in your sock puppet theater.” and he says “you weren't! you weren't socks! we were friends.” i think it’s important to make that distinction. because sometimes sock puppets can be friends.
hush. i guess a lot of people have this episode as one of their favourites. it’s the one with the gentlemen in where everyone in sunnydale loses their voice and the town gets quarantined and the gentlemen go around cutting out people’s hearts. my favourite scene is the one with giles and the overhead projector, and i like the scene at the end after everyone has got their voices back and buffy and riley just sit in silence until the closing credits come up.
the zeppo. the last episode was a really difficult one to choose because there were still so many that i liked. i was going to choose ‘earshot’ but i decided that i already had an episode with jonathan as one of the main characters in in my top five so i didn’t choose that, and i was going to choose ‘the witch’ but then i thought that not much happens in that episode really. and i thought about ‘graduation day part two’ but then i figured i already had a season finale in my list with ‘the becoming part two’ so i decided against that one. and i thought about ‘the yoko factor’ just because of the bit where angel tells buffy he doesn’t like her new boyfriend. and i thought about choosing ‘the freshman’ just because i remember feeling like buffy does in that episode all the time when i was at college, and i really like the monet versus klimt poster competition that the vampires have. but in the end i decided to go for ‘the zeppo’. just because i often find myself feeling the way xander feels in this episode. and i like the way that the usual main storyline of saving the world from vampires is the secondary storyline, almost in the background in this episode, while the episode mainly focuses on what would usually be a secondary character development storyline. it makes it a weird episode. there’s a bit at the beginning that i like when xander is talking to cordelia and she says to him “it must be really hard when all your friends have superpowers. slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires, and you're, like, this little nothing. you must feel like jimmy olsen... you're the useless part of the group. you're the zeppo.” and i like the moment at the end when xander is faced with possible death and admits that actually he likes “the quiet”. i guess i like the quiet too. and i guess there’s nothing wrong with just being a hapless sidekick. nothing wrong with being the zeppo sometimes.