Driving Music

04. Aphasic Singalong

Driving Music – Aphasic Singalong by Driving Music

Stuck in a place I’d long to remember
Back in the day when we still knew how to be afraid
and we were so alive! Now this gentle heat has absorbed us
And sucked out the fuel that kept us going from place to place

Can we still fight for something
That’s gotten all wronged? They got it all wrong
We got lost in the moment
And now we’re starting it all over again

Questing for words that scream through the jail bars
and meanings that might be breathing under the debris
There is no melody we can still amuse and destroy for
All of the reasons we are fatally alone

Can we still work together
for all that’s gone wrong? We got it all wrong
We lost track of the moment
Now it’s gone… we’re starting it all over again

Ooh, mistakes could echo forever
Without ever getting back into place
Oh, can we still fight for anything
Without starting it all over again?

So we give up on ourselves again
and keep hanging loose on a broken string that was never strummed

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aphasia /ə-ˈfā-zh(ē-)ə/ noun
: loss or impairment of the power to use or comprehend words usually resulting from brain damage
— apha·sic noun or adjective

sing–along /ˈsɪŋəˌlɑ:ŋ/ noun
plural sing–alongs
[count] : an informal occasion or event at which people sing songs together

Much like “Orange Traffic Cones”, “Aphasic Singalong” was another song to come out of the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot remake idea I had but never really followed through. It was actually the first one I wrote after coming up with that idea, and its pair is obviously “War on War”. But while “War on War” is marked by sheer simplicity – of melody, lyrics, time, and arrangement – “Aphasic Singalong” is cluttered with layers and layers of junk, tumbling on broken time and singing about its own inability to sing something meaningful.

“Aphasic Singalong” is a song of disenchant and resentment. It’s a sad, desperate song about feeling utterly disconnected with your own time; about watching your peers sleeping under the scolding hot sun for days that turn into years. It’s basically a song about not feeling that young anymore, as if youth had fleeted while we were still stretching for the big race, and we’re left here, with this potency that expired before it was ever put to use – something that I feel is represented by the tired beat of the drums in the song, always half a step behind all the other instruments, obstinate in holding the song back.

There are loads of tracks going on at the same time, so I’ll spare you of technicalities this time (especially because it’ll be almost impossible for me to remember every single thing I put in there). But once again, there are plenty of vocals – the song says sing-along on its title, and I personally can’t stand titles that do the exact opposite of they should do, which is to properly present the song… so if it’s called “singalong”, it’d better be a fucking sing-along… and keep that irony out of my lawn, you big dummy – working different registers.

From the very start, this song has always been a battle between structure and chaos – which makes it an appropriate company to “Lavender Suit”. But while on “Lavender Suit” there’s a diptych structure, where the song is split in halves that defy each other, on “Aphasic Singalong” construction and deconstruction happen at the same time, making the song some sort of Sisyphean task. With that in mind, I changed the title from “Aphasic” to “Aphasic Singalong” – which I thought expressed the concomitant struggling forces that made the song.

So “Aphasic Singalong” was written and recorded with a lot of that in mind, but there was still one thing: I didn’t know how to end it. I recorded the whole song, track by track, playing each instrument for as long as I wanted to, planning to do a fade out in the end or find a solution further down the recording road (aka. mixing). One day I invited Melvin Ribeiro – a very close friend who happens to be one of the most frequent members of Driving Music – to come to my place and hear some previews of the new songs and he encouraged me to leave the song unended, with every instrument collapsing until there’s none left. It made perfect sense, so there you go.

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