Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"It's Just the way that you are"

Then the morning comes. No, really, it's a great song. By Smashmouth.


I'm writing a song review on it. This replaces that 'interview' post I'd written. I think it's been on here long enough. It was meant as an update to the issues I talked about - last time I talked about a big fallout with friends, this time it was my current problems, and how I was dealing with them. Just a sort of retrospective on things.


The full thing, no edits or removals, is on a note in Facebook, but I am unsure whether you can view it as a non-member or not. I think you can, but I'm not sure. If anyone's interested they can give it a try I suppose. I doubt they are interested though, so I'll leave it at that.


One more thing before I start: I also wrote a post on potentially seeing my father's friends, almost like surrogate uncles to me, out west in Calgary. I'm actually not.
My mother is going because it's in nature a business meeting and there's more people going so I can't fit in. That's totally fine with me. I hadn't really gotten much hopes up about it at all other than seeing those two people (and really not liking the bad timing, otherwise I might have seen someone else).


Now here I go...


I heard this song when I was a kid, it came out in '99 so I was eight. It's a light-hearted but also slightly covert-sounding song. Well, the verses kind of sound sinister to me, but the chorus is very light-hearted.


It was one of the band's first few singles. Of course, at the time everyone was listening to and paying attention to 'Allstar,' and this song is kind of similar in that it seems to be talking about the life of someone famous. Or convincing them that there are certain things they need to adjust to in becoming famous, and adding that it's just the way that they are, when they ask 'why?'


The verses don't have much instrumentation in them, it's simple. Just a bass and drums, and a keyboard and xylophone played low. It makes me think of decrepit offices, with brown walls and shady characters dealing business in them. Like the office of maybe a loan shark or something, I don't really know. Or the office of a private detective, old-style. Lots of money is involved in whatever business goes on, and not necessarily clean money. That's the vision I get.


Then the chorus is much more bright and fun - gives me the image of old-fashioned kids in a New York suburb with tall brown walk-ups and flats, jumping rope and hop-scotching on the pavement in front of the row-housing, in the morning (like usual eh?). The keyboard and guitar give me that image.
The bass during the chorus is great to me. It goes really low a few times in the chorus, which is the big thing. You know how the lyrics start 'it's just the way that you are?' It's like the bass on that low note represents me and my reaction - shy acknowledgement. "Well, maybe," but I'm delighted to hear it and feel positive. It addresses the shy, quiet, but nice and mild-mannered side of me. That's what I love about it.
That, and the lyrics themselves are feel-good. Even if the song isn't about me, it's the message in general. People like your qualities, it's the way that you are, the way that you talk.


The ultimate thing I love about it though is the little sound bit at the end of the second chorus - there's the second chorus, then it goes brighter - then there's this sort of sound of which I don't know what produces it. Maybe some sort of string instruments.
It leads into the little keyboard/guitar solo (and continues, higher in sound, with it as well, in the background). It's about 2:07 seconds into the song.
"Tomorrow's gonna hurt," then that.


The first thing I saw was something I loved to see when I heard it. Back then, I used to watch this show called 'The New Addams Family.' Not the old versions, but a TV version that ran on YTV from 1998 to 1999 (corresponding to the time of Smashmouth's first hits and my childhood). I used to love watching it. 
When I heard this part of the song, I immediately envisioned Uncle Fester, stomping down a green, mundane basement hallway, looking annoyed and like he had something to sort out, particularly at his destination. Like he was on a mission. I think I expected him to be off to seeing the Grandmama character when I was young, but that's what I saw.
I found it hilarious and fun to see that as I heard the sound. There was a lot of dark green and grey. And a troubled TV character.


Nowadays I just see things that have to do with serious atmospheres/groups. A group of serious businessmen walking down a hallway together, a group of police officers walking closely together come to arrest a group of scammers or something, loan sharks, whatever, always a group dressed in serious business clothes or uniform, in a grey setting or landscape, a lot of gritty realistic mundane reality. Grey halls, grey wintry city street with the group entering the building with parked cars along the side of the grey road, yeah.


The sound also makes me think of myself as wondering about something annoying, and being slightly annoyed and 'whatever' of the outcome. I believe the sound is similar to the notes 'E-C-D...A.'
Then it goes higher during the guitar/keyboard part, and suddenly I see myself as both agitated and struggling to find out the answer to something, and being okay with it as I find it, if not happy about it.


Yes, that little part really makes me see the annoyed part of me doesn't it. In general the song sounds both shady and fun, like the music during the verses is the backdrop in the situation where one is covertly telling the other a scheme to get famous fast or something, then it all goes bright and positive and happy in the choruses. It's a good sound. The only thing I don't like is the repetitive radio-like voice that goes off in each verse, saying the same recorded sound.


The music video depicts the main singer having a bad dream in which every time he gets near a beautiful girl he likes, something embarrassing happens. But there's a good ending; after waking up several times in the dream, it turns out the last time was real, when he'd mistakenly worn pajama bottoms to a club and found the woman again. Why is that good? The woman had worn the same pajama bottoms...one of a kind in both of their embarrassment you see. He wakes up again...to find the woman in the red pajama bottoms in bed with him.


I've liked it since I was eight. I still like it now. I like all the band's earlier hits over their sudden burst of material after Shrek came out.





Music: B+
Lyrics B+


It's good...very feel-good, and also sinister at the same time.


Justin C.

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