to be out of place
lyskoi asked: How do you start and end albums? Sometimes I get the sense that you start things with the perfect ending song - "Tallahassee" for Tallahassee is a big one. Similarly I hear songs you place last as really strong starters that confuse (and elate) me as ending songs: "Transcendental Youth" I'm still turning over. Maybe I'm getting confused with how cleverly you build the-end-of-all-things-to-come into what you do, but: do you have a framework for starting / ending albums? musical, lyrical flow?
It depends entirely on the album, there’s no overarching strategy. I do try to save some of the best stuff for side two so that I can complain when nobody notices, because I am a child. (It’s perfectly natural that the first four or five songs are what people hear best & tend to respond to/write about.) Otherwise the question is: “These songs, the ones that seem to go together of the ones we recorded: what’s the best order for them?” I usually try to resist the sort of market-research solutions that the industry favors (“lead off with all the big hits, consign the slow songs to the back half”) ; I’m proud that “No Children” is the 7th song on Tallahassee. At the same time, if a person starts listening to an album by an unfamiliar artist, the album has four songs max to gain that listener’s trust: most listeners aren’t going to listen to something they’re not sure about three or four times to see what they think. “Start strong, end strong, try to tell an engrossing story along the way” is as close to an governing method as I have.
In the case of “Tallahassee” it seemed like a scene-setting song: it introduced the principal characters, established that there’s been a movement from the other side of the country to here, and took one last look in the rear view at the thing they once had that’s now in collapse. Last look through more than one door as Joan Didion would have it. Water under the bridge and dynamite it behind you.
I love this man, love his band, and love this answer.
The first cashmere sweater I owned was dusty sugar pink, and I wore it so a boy I liked would want to put his arms around me. I imagined us at the pub, his hand resting with ownership on my soft shoulder. I was 15 and had yet to understand boys or see “ownership” as a rather…
From the official JCrew blog, this piece on cashmere sweaters is better than it has any right to be.
Dioptase - Namibia
Elliott Smith’s “Figure 8” mural (Solutions Audio Video Repair)
Near Sunset Junction, Los Angeles, CA. September 2004
10 years past.