From the CD: Hearts For Bullets
Music programming, lyrics & vocals: Jennifer Parkin
Production, mixing, mastering: Sebastian Komor
Somehow it feels I’m getting more frustrated
With every tongue tied, wild eyed, overrated
Narcissistic self absorbed spawn of a generation bored
Want to see you vulnerable
I am not your equal
Ruling with an iron fist
And you are on my bad list
A routine casualty
Razor sharp beauty queens
Bridges built are bridges burned
You will get what you deserve.
And now I think I’m done caring
Too many mindless self obsessed overbearing
Misogynistic, plastic hearts. Can’t wait to see you torn apart.
What did they do?
Made you so awful
Why do you say?
The stupid things you do
The ones you’ve hurt
I hope they hurt you too
The things you’ve done
Will eat away at you
You’ve made this list
You won’t be missed
You’ll have to learn
Some things you don’t deserve
I was actually surprised when I went back through all of the working files for this song to realize that it took exactly one year from it’s beginning to it’s glorious finish. That may seem like a long time to finish one track that comes in at just under 4 minutes but during this period, I was working full time, trying to work on music in the evenings and any spared moment I could find, and also went on 3 different tours that took me to faraway places such as the U.S.A. and Europe! When working on music, I tend to work on lots of songs simultaneously meaning the full “Hearts For Bullets” was all being worked on in various stages, all taking about 2 years to complete every detail. I use a draft approach where songs will go through various lyrics and structure tweaks until I’m happy with them. I can’t create a song in one day. I need to step back, sleep on things, listen again, re-work and re-peat the cycle.
“Bad List” is one of my favourite songs from this CD and that’s why it’s placed as track #1 on “Hearts For Bullets”. There is a science to ordering songs on a CD. I guess this concept has become less important in this digital age as listeners don’t often hear a full CD in order anymore. Hearing single songs is more the norm now, which is fine, but I miss the days when you’d put a CD in and listen to it start to finish, anticipating each track. So, back to the science of old-school track ordering: track #1 should be a strong and immediate song that will instantly grab the listener and draw them in. I personally felt that this was THE one. Musically, It blends so many elements that I personally love including a strong gritty bass synth line, a big beat, loud crunchy snares and vocals somewhere between chanty but slick enough that you can hear them. I know it’s not one of my more complex songs lyrically, it’s fuelled by anger, frustration and a bit of good old fashioned passive aggressiveness but I thought the very straightforward lyrical approach was effective for this song to make it catchy.
Who is on your Bad List?
We all have a Bad List. Don’t’ lie I know you do! It’s a list of those jerks that have done you, or the world around you wrong. It’s those individuals that, if you could, you’d just like to smack and say “what’s wrong with you?”, or better yet, you’d love to sit back and watch their world come crashing down around them in a big mess and it would be totally what they deserve. Now, if you’ve met me personally, this all sounds very shocking coming from sweet little me! I’m not a mean or spiteful person, I swear! But I do like to express my darker self through music occasionally and this song simply allowed me to vent some frustrations using a simple concept of having a “Bad List” but to avoid getting myself into trouble, I’m not going to print names… 😉
Lyrics & Words (plus a bit of venting..):
“Generation Bored”: This was the original working title for this song which is from a lyric in the song “You’re all spawn of a Generation Bored”. This became my term for those negative individuals (usually hanging out online) participating in circular arguments, ripping each other apart, being rude and mean to each other, doing nothing seemingly positive or good with their time, etc. It occurred to me how bored our generation must be for this to be a regular acceptable way of life. The other title I now give this this song is “sound-check song!” It’s the song I always check levels with on tour because of the dynamics. I also have great tour memories associated with band members of The Cruxshadows singing along to this song , making up dances and even doing a surprise guest appearance with me on stage in Hannover and Hamburg, Germany in December, 2009.
“Misogynistic, self absorbed”: One of my pet peeves is to hear a comment like: “I hate female vocals in electronic/industrial/<insert hip genre classification of the moment here> music!” These people are on my bad list. It’s unclear what they hate exactly, is it ethereal vocals, gothy, rock style, contemporary pop styled, distorted or effected until it sounds like a man, cookie monster or killer alien robot from another planet? Or do they hate that it’s a woman singing at all? It’s a big category to hate, it’s sexist and it bugs me. Anywyas, to focus on the positive: the musicians, artists, awesome people I’ve worked with and met over the years have been such creative, talented, passionate, and open minded people. I respect them not because they are men, or women, that shouldn’t matter. They are on my “Awesome List” which is longer than my “Bad List” 😉
The rest of the lyrics, I think are pretty self explanatory but if you have questions about the meaning or motivation behind a specific lyric, please just comment here and I’ll reply to you!
I want to share how do my lyrical brainstorming. For every CD I work on, I buy a pretty little notebook (or two) that I use to jot my thoughts, ideas and eventually attempt structuring my final lyrics for a song. Yes, I’m old fashioned and I find actually writing with a pen and paper helps me stay outside of the lines! I found some ramblings that eventually became some of the lyrics to “Bad List”. I know it’s hard to read. My hand writing is terrible at best but I thought it was kind of neat to share this part of the process that never gets to see the light of day and (big surprise) there’s even stars in my brainstorming. So predictable.
The produced song used some of the the origianal synths and demo elements, but Seb of course used his studio magic to make things sound bigger and better. Here are clips of the two main incarnations of the demos along with a clip of the finished produced version:
This was my very first demo file of this song. It captured the main loop of the gritty synth that the rest of the song was based on:
This version was a bit more flushed out. I got my good friend and keyboardist Joe Byer from the band v01d to help me add some sweet moog synth and other sounds. The vibe was a bit more electro-y.
I wanted the song to be somewhere between the above 2. Here’s the final produced version that captured the perfect blend of stompy and electro. You can hear the chorus in here too. Seb worked on creating a layer of synth sounds for the chorus that would lift it up a notch and make it stand apart from the bass synth in the verse that runs through most of the song:
Ending Thought: “The things you’ve done, will eat away at you”
If you’ve enjoyed reading this, and want to contribute to my 2010 journey and mission, as a musician working towards finishing the new CD, please check out my shop (I personally ship & sign anything you want)
OR you can purchase the mp3 of “Bad List” from iTunes for a mere dollar here:
Next Friday I’ll post another song dissection but I’m not yet sure which song I’ll do. If you missed the first one, check out “1000 Transmissions” from last week!
So, what type of people or behaviours make your Bad List?