Updated: Sep 9
Leaning on my youth, and recalling how my heart was broken a few times, I decided to take those experiences, put a story behind it and write a good story song.
The second song on Bait & Switch is, "The Last 2 No". which was the 4th song I wrote for Bait & Switch. It took about a day to record and (again), the vocals needed the most work. I leaned heavily on Ken Tamplin's vocal training. I put it as the second song on the CD.
Since I'm dyslexic, I thought I'd have some fun misleading people about the word, "No" in the title. In grammar school, If we learned anything, it was "It's easy to misspell words in English because there are so many rules." What's weird is the word, "weird", doesn't follow the "i before e, except after c, or when sounding like A as in neighbor or sleigh" rule. In English, the only rule there is no exception for is there's an exception to every rule. So, I wanted to have some with the language.
It took some time to work the story out. So, here it goes. A guy sees tell-tale signs his relationship is over. As you listen, you begin to understand the word "No" is misspelled in the song title. It should be, "The last To Know".
To further add interest, the song opens at the end of the story (reference to Harry Potter and the resurrection stone). It opens with "I hear voices in my head, things I shoulda said, but I'm talking to the dead". He knows the relationship is over at the top of the song and he tells you so. He can smell her perfume in a crowd, but he's not 100% sure it's not someone else, but the clues he gives you support his conclusion. The first verse mixes past memories of sex through hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing. Abandonment is highlighted by touch and sight.
During the first refrain, you hear about broken promises, lying, and how a guy with money changes everything (the money's already been paid).
But in the middle of the song, we find out this isn't our hero's first rodeo. He says he knew all along she was going to bail. Just didn't know when. And then predicts the "We can still be friends" conversation coming. To which he thinks, "Sure, I'd still like to be friends, if you weren't so stupid."
The perfume becomes the trail where all the little white lies add up. Once he's got the scent, he knows how to follow the trial. She's secretly meeting her new guy and is getting ready to leave our hero stranded. Like a monkey, she want's to make sure the next branch is firm before she lets go of the old branch.
You can tell this happened to me in real life more than once, right? Well, I'll put it this way, I never let the truth get in the way of a good story. But, good stories are built on truth principles. Like when all of a sudden your girlfriend's toothbrush is missing from your sink. Or, if she ever asks you if you're a jealous guy. When something seemingly so small feels out of place and she thinks you won't notice, you're getting tested. And real life is the better teacher. To complete the song, I needed to find the lesson.
Knowing what's coming ahead of time, gives our hero strength. Our hero knows just how to position himself in the upcoming "We need to talk" conversation.
(I digress). I had to find a good story. Good stories start at the end, and work their way back to the beginning, coming full circle with the lesson. Beowulf's hero journey really starts with King Hrothgar's end. When Hrothgar dies, we learn Beowulf's real journey is one of an aging hero, who no longer has the strength of his youth or heart of courage. He might be king, but he can't rule without his strength. It is here where he kills the great dragon, and is mortally wounded. It is here where the hero learns his lesson: It is better to die young with virtue and heroism, than avoiding responsibilities. At the end, Beowulf rises to the occasion, and sacrifices himself for his people.
(I regress) With this song, the hero knows his fate and the fate of his girlfriend. She lost out on something that could've been better, but chose to chase money instead (an easy life avoiding her responsibilities and doing the right thing). And he knows he'll be the last guy to know about it. So, he lets her go down in flames. He doesn't want to be involved with someone so cowardly.
The song format is made from an old song writing style where a refrain was used rather than chorus. This style lends itself to story telling. Even though I put the story's ending up front, you can still feel the story evolving as time goes by. It harkens back to the 1950's country songs. Vocals border on Everly Brothers. The chord progression style was tends towards The Beatles with descending minors and Major and Dominant 7ths to add tension. All guitars.
Speaking over the guitar solo is also a throw back to the 1950's. My wife, Susan, told me to try it. And it worked! Hurray!
There you have it, Song 4 was, "The Last 2 No". And it was in the can. Some story telling, some borrowed musicality, mixed in with old school rock sounds and some misdirection with the title? Well, I'm very proud of this gem.
It also comes in with a beat of 120 beats per minute. Just enough umph. Not an anthem song, and not a hard rocker. But good enough for pop.
So, then, I wanted to see what other songs I had. I was getting jazzed about this C&D!