Song Dissection #4: Analog Trash

Analog Trash - Header

From the CD: Hearts For Bullets
Music, lyrics & vocals: Jennifer Parkin
Production, mixing, mastering: Sebastian Komor

Lyrics:

I’ve got a secret
I’ve been watching you
I know you’re damaged
But I still want you
You’re analog trash
When life is digital
But I prefer you
I think you’re beautiful

Pull back realign
We are flawed by design
Unplug just for fun
Stop before we hurt someone
Standard Uniform
Corporate life has gone too far
Excess Commodity
I want you just for me

This little secret
Gives me something to do
My new obsession
To be like you
You’re analog trash
When life is digital
But I prefer this
unreplicatable

Come On, It’s not what you think
Come On, Just come away with me
Come On, There’s so much more to this
Come On, That life you will not miss

The Dissection:
I will make a big statement in saying this is my favourite song off of the “Hearts For Bullets” CD. Although, choosing a favourite song is like choosing a favourite amongst your children I’d assume. I personally felt that this song achieved a light, sexy, fun feeling while still having some darker, grittier elements to it. It combined so many influences and elements of electro that I love, that it became my favourite, but again, that changes monthly depending on my mood. ;)

For me, the word analog makes me specifically think of analog synthesizers! Analog synths have qualities that can’t quite be replicated by digital, and lyrically, this song takes the traits of any analog device, and uses these traits to describe an individual, mainly in the line repeated in the verses: “you’re analog trash, when life is digital. But I prefer this, unreplicatable”.

Here’s a cute picture I found online of “Analog Trash”:
analog trash pic
photo credit: “Analog Retirement” form busted tees

I knew from the beginning I wanted to call this song “Analog Trash”. The biggest decision I had regarding this song was the spelling of the title! In Canada and the UK, it’s actually spelled “Analogue” but I thought the American spelling for “Analog” looked slicker so I, for a moment, abandoned my Canadian roots and went with the Americanization of the word! It’s funny because I was playing a show in Manchester, UK, in December 2009 where I found out that they named their regular club night after my song. The night is called “Analogue Trash” and it made me feel guilty seeing the spelling like that ;)

THE VOCALS: I was so very happy with the vocals of this song. The melodies were simple, sweet and fun. When I sing this song, it actually feels light and sexy to do so. I also felt the vocals had a sophistication and maturity that maybe I hadn’t experimented with in the past, especially how the chorus vocals seem to swell and drag from one phrasing to the next if that makes sense? I love diversity. It’s the key to who I am and what I do. I really hate writing the same song over and over, so I TRY my best not to. Let me tell you though, Its getting tougher after 3 releases.

THE LYRICS: I admit, it’s a bit of a mash of ideas and ends up being kind of abstract, especially in the chorus where each line is more of a statement and could stand on it’s own rather than tell a story. The verses are sung as a secret love song that comes off a bit stalker-esque “I’ve been watching you”. There are some lyrics relating back to the analog vs. digital concept. Being “flawed by design” is a trait of analog that I’ve related to individuals as well. My statement on how our corporate lives and craving for commodity hinders our relationships and life balance. Personally, I was feeling overworked at the time, things were out of whack, and I was trying to find balance while I was working on a career, doing music, and still trying to have a life somehow. I think having the life suffered the most. I wanted my world to “Unplug, just for fun” and I wanted to convince the world around me there had to be more to all this. Again, they are not all completely straightforward lyrics, but they seemed to all flow nicely together while capturing what I was feeling at the time: The bridge just lets loose with: “Come on, just come away with me, come on, there’s so much more to this, Come on, that life you will not miss”.

Here’s another lyric brainstorming mess of purple! This was the messiest song brainstorming I think I’ve ever done so naturally, I wanted to share it! The funny thing is, if you follow the numbers, it’s how the first verse turned out (except for number one happening twice… Ah, beautiful creative chaos!) If you can follow this at all, you should get a prize:

Purple Mess of Lyrics for Analog Trash

Purple Mess of Lyrics for Analog Trash

THE MUSIC & PRODUCTION:
The music and melodies came to me fairly easily which is not always the case as you’ve seen in a few of the previous dissections where I’ve discussed how some songs need demo after demo, drafted 10 times until it feels right. This song started so simple with just two synth lines going through my analog pattern sequencers in Reason software, a lead and a bass, and what you may notice in this song, is that the bass melody actually never changes through the entire song, maybe not a great song structure trait on my part, but for this song, it really works. To change it up, other synth layers and different percussion come in so the verse and chorus sound different. I wanted the song to stay fairly sparsely programmed, acheiving an overall 80′s-electro feel to it. Here’s my first demo loop of the music that started with the lead and bass synth and introduced a few other layers this loop is the brainstorming so I could start writing and structuring the song from here.

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Ayria-Analog-Trash-Demo-Loop.mp3[/podcast]

My producer, Seb, said this was one of his favourites off the album (between this, and the title track “Hearts For Bullets”). I thought “Analog Trash” turned out so slick. All of the elements pop out at you since there’s not a lot of clutter with only a few layers of music going on at any one time. Also, this song sounds amazing on a dance floor! Pointing out my three favourite contributions by Seb to this song in production: the lead synth that comes in at the one minute mark sounds so gritty, draggy, and added so much to the song, this song also had some of the most amazingly clear vocal production I’ve heard on my voice (listen to it in head phones, the chorus is pure ear candy!), and lastly, the percussion, specifically, those beautiful snares! I’m a total snare freak!! Our biggest heated discussions during production on this whole CD were the snares. I love really loud snares that are short explosive bursts that just punch you in the face. If you listen to this entire CD, you might (NOW) notice how loud and clear the snares are on almost every song… or maybe it’s just me. I think I actually drove Seb crazy with how picky I was. No matter what volume he was going to put the snare, he did it a few DB louder to not have to hear me complain ;)

This clip is for you guys who wanted me to continue sharing the raw vocals, the first clip is the first verse and chorus. Notice there are 2 layers of vocals that come in for the chorus? Those are 2 different vocal recordings which, when layered together create a true “natural chorus” effect. It’s used in a lot of Ayria songs as it ends up sounding so sweet! You’re more likely to have imperfections when doing a chorus this way, when the vocals aren’t sung exactly the same, which they can’t possibly be, but I tend to like some of the little imperfections. It gives it character.. unreplicatable.

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Ayria-Analog-Trash-Raw-Vocals.mp3[/podcast]

This second clip is the same vocals in the final produced version of the song:

[podcast]http://www.ayria.com/wp-content/uploads/Ayria-Analog-Trash-Produced-Clip.mp3[/podcast]

I wanted to share two of my favourite videos of us playing this song live that I’ve come accross:

First it at The Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on October 13, 2008. The crowd was so energetic in true L.A. style! I was blown away at the crowd’s reaction in this clip because, I have to point out, Hearts for Bullets had JUST been released, out less than a month, but it seems like it’s an old crowd favourite! The sound quality, as for most of the live videos, isn’t the best, and I get kind of out of breath, but it’s still cool to see. The very end of this video, someone screams so loud and long. It’s ridiculous and I love when crowds are having this much fun (thanks to twistedgraven who posted this video!)

This is November 29, 2008 in the Outback Lodge in Charlottesville, VA. A small and intimate show with a fun crowd. I love it!

(Thanks CompTechMike for posting the video!)

If you don’t own this song, don’t let the guilt consume you! Spend that dollar on iTunes! Or visit my web shop where I personally sign and send you stuff:

I had to start numbering the dissections so that new readers know how far we’ve come and so I can keep track! I’m working on something special for the week of the the 6th dissection which will mean we are pretty much at the half way point in dissecting “Hearts For Bullets”. I also think next week’s dissection will be presented really differently! I found a gem in my archives to share that’s never been seen before, plus I want to shake things up. Some people have asked about possibly continuing on and dissecting a few songs from “Flicker” and “Debris” this is a possibility since I’m having a lot of fun working on these but I won’t promise anything at this point. I have a feeling the next few months are going to get pretty busy with the upcoming U.S. tour and I want to do some tour blogging from the road too!

Have a great weekend! I’ll be celebrating my Birthday this Sunday and I want to ask you for a present: I’d love for you to please share my music with some one who hasn’t yet heard it, or post a link to my web site, or facebook users, please click that little “share” button down on the bottom left corner of the Ayria page. That gift from you, helping to spread my music, would be so much appreciated by me! I promise to post pictures of my disgustingly pink fairytopia cake next week ;)
xoxo
Jenn

Previous Song Dissections:
1000 Transmissions
Bad List
Invisible

28 thoughts on “Song Dissection #4: Analog Trash

  1. This is one of my favourites from HFB too :)

    Aaand my birthday is on Monday! :) May birthdays ftw.

  2. Jenn:

    This song rocks. Lyrically spun together, with the 80′s electro feel this song just feels right. Probably because I am a child of the 80′s but thats beside the point! ;)

    I do love experiencing this song in person. All your performances are great, but this one is just a little bit awesomer! lol

    Early Merry Birthday wishes! I so want a piece of pink cake!!

    PS yay US tour!

    ~K

  3. It was great reading about the creation of this track! It too is my fav, particularly for the idea of a person being analog vs digital. To me I related it to the black and white vs gray; in preferences, politics, news, everyday life, etc. Coupled with the digital age now is digital thinking, we tend to bias far toward one way or another, with a severe media assist. Whether or not there is causality is a different discussion, but I personally relate to the song in finding an analog gem in a sea of digital people. Everyone is on or off, fast or stop, ones and zeros. But occasionally you can find someone that to you, has infinite potential; is not bounded by steps and settings, the polarity of yes and no.

  4. Excellent entry as ever! I remember listening to Analog Trash when it was released ahead of the album and enjoying it. Probably my favourite track on the album and I love it live.

    Enjoy the birthday weekend, don’t eat too much cake! ;)

  5. I thought this song stood out amongst other tracks on HfB as being the ‘different’ track and with it, there seems to a sexy classy feel to it. Thank you for another dissection!! :D

    I would love to see some other songs from Debris and Flicker on your dissections! When I read the special something for the 6th dissection, I had an instant hope for a possible video blog entry. I don’t think anyone would mind. ;)

  6. @ Jemma – Happy Early Birthday fellow Taurean!

    @ Klifford – I’m also a lover of 80′s music! I LOVE doing this song live too! Glad it comes accross!

    @ bllxdevil – Such great and interesting insights! Your write up is better than mine! I love it!! You are spot on with the “finding an analog gem in a sea of digital people”. I found this clipping and I can’t remember where from, but I’ve pasted it on the first page of my 2010 Lyric journal that says: “What you do with your life is limited only by the boundaries you allow your mind to impose on your actions. There are no limits. All things are possible” This motivates me every time I open that book!

    @ Fredrik – thank you so much! I’m not the only one then ;)

    @ MikeG – you know I WILL eat too much cake. I didn’t know this song was your number 1 favourite!

  7. @ Edith – You are welcome! And I AM working on a video blog for one of the songs! But I don’t want to reveal too many surprises ;)

  8. I wanted to point out to all you regular posters, if you WANT to have a picture appear on here instead of the greyed out head (HEED! Sorry, reference to my last blog ;) I believe you can set up your picture on Gravatar: http://en.gravatar.com/ If not, I may just disable the pictures. I’m easy either way and I of course, am still fairly new to this blogging system!

  9. gasp!! now all Ayria fans will be pondering and pondering which song is gonna be the big one that gets a video to go along with it.

    well, you can make us ponder all you want, I have my own surprise for you when I see you on tour. :D

  10. I think everyone of your songs is pure ear candy! Can’t wait for the disgustingly pink pictures!! :p

  11. Also, the Gravatar thing worked perfectly. Just sign up for an account, upload your pic and a few minutes later… You got see see my pink hair! (it was supposed to be red, but came out hot pink!) Not all accidents are bad ;)

  12. Front 242 must’ve felt the same way when they dug out all their old analog equipment for their live Moments CD 2 years ago :) That demo loop really crackles; not only are you an awesome vocalist, you’re a wonderful instrumentalist as well.

    If you can do dissections on songs from your previous albums, that would be cool. You’re one of the few artists whose albums I listen to from beginning to end.

    Have a fantastic birthday!

  13. Jen,
    I have such a strong connection to this song. I don’t really know why. Some songs just really resonate with me more than others. I have requested it @ the club & got him to play it one or twice. I’m trying to get him to play Blue Alice now. :) I had a few of the lyrics wrong & I’m so glad u posted them. It makes more sense now. LOL I hope I get to see u perform @ Mardi Gras. I still think it’s a small place for a band of your magnitude but TKK is playing there too so maybe it won’t be too bad.

    Happy birthday! I hope u have a wonderful day! And don’t worry about eating too much cake. As much as u move around on stage you’ll work off any extra pounds u put on. LOL

  14. Happy Birthday! I shared you with all my friends because you deserve it, I don’t think anyone works as hard as you to connect with us (the fans)!

  15. Oh I agree with Ken fully. I really like your voice and lyrics especially but oh my, its your instrumentations and sense of sonic drama that sell me on the songs. I consider “Analog Trash” and “1,000 Transmissions” as the extra sweet, wicked & delicious chocolate delight at the center of HfB’s Tootsie pop! Well, those and My Poison. That track is really sick. Bad-ass sounding and sexy with yet a bit of reserve, which as we all know, just makes something even sexier! Thanks for the blogs Jen. :)

    Oh and btw, when you mentioned having on clean vocal on a chorus and one otherwise, exactly what did you mean? Is the other vocal track phased or something?

  16. I’ve been talking up your music on my podcast. On ep 5 (this week’s show) I played My Revenge on the World and Invisible and also covered the song dissections.

    Thanks again for the blogs. They’re great!

  17. Jenn:

    Forgot to mention, thank you so much for the raw vocals! They are amazing :)

  18. Thank you for the great insights, raw vocals, raw purple handwritten lyrics, and … well, everything! I always try to imagine what’s behind your songs, and I figured this one was about you liking some guy who was into acoustic guitar or something, lol – way off! I didn’t give you enough credit, it’s more brilliant than I knew (other than the awesome sound of course, which I already appreciated), so thanks for the explanation. I guess I should’ve paid attention when you said “Come on, it’s not what you think.”!
    I like – well, all the lyrics – but especially “Standard Uniform / Corporate life has gone too far” (I’m thinking “selling rebellion…”).
    Oh and one thing that really annoys me about you, Ms. Parkin… it’s too hard to pick a favourite Ayria song! I keep thinking “it’s this one!” but really it’s whatever one I’m listening to, they’re all my favourite. How do you do that?!
    Amazing.

  19. Analog Trash is probably one of my favorite songs that you’ve done. When I first listen to a song I hear an overall sound of the vocals and synths and everything else working together, and this song really does flow well. I really like the chorus.

    Happy Birthday!
    My birthday is in the middle of the week, but somehow I’m managing to do two weekends of celebrating, Assemblage 23 and Angel Theory show this past Friday, then 16 Volt and Chemlab show in a week from today.

  20. Jen L,
    Where do u live that u are getting those 2 amazing shows?!? You’re SO Lucky!!!

  21. Eldh Lyn-I live in central Ohio. Assemblage 23′s show was in Columbus, but I’ll be driving to Cleveland for the 16 Volt and Chemlab show. I’ll drive to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati to go to shows as well, possibly even go as far as Chicago just because I love that place despite the traffic. Mid-westerners are crazy when it comes to concerts apparently, I think it’s because we think that the places that we live kind of suck and there just has to be something more entertaining out there somewhere. ha ha

  22. Jen L,
    We actually just got the 16 Volt/Chemlab show. It’s the end of the month. Assemblage 23 only did Tucson. :( Didn’t have the $ to drive down there. Hopefully they’ll come back & do Phx. :)

    Boy, u drive around pretty far to see shows! Do u follow Ayria from town to town too? ;)

  23. I was so happy to read this! This morning while getting ready for work, Analog Trash was totally stuck in my head (easy for that to happen!) and I started thinking a lot about it. I listened to it on the way to work and became very curious about the lyrics. Then when I got to work I thought, hey, maybe Jenn did a song dissecction for this in the past! Wooo hooo!!!!

    This is also my favorite song from the HFB CD. And I’m really psyched that you use Reason on your demos. I love Reason/Record! I’ve been using Reason since 1.0 in 2000. It sounds like you’re using the old school Subtractor device! Amirite? ;-)

  24. This song always makes me hope that I’ll meet a girl who feels this way about me one day, a fellow anachronism in a digital world. It also reminds me of my mix tapes. I must be the only one left in 2010 that still makes them. Of course I make them by recording from CD’s, but they still have a sort of magic to them that CD’s and MP3′s will never have. Plus, blank CD’s are never two hours long like audio tapes.

    I never stopped to think about how much goes into song writing until I started reading these dissections, thanks very much for writing them.

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