despair

Release Date: 8/09

Album: GO WEST

Writer: ADAM MARSLAND

Audio:

Video:

 

Lyrics:

Just when I thought I could lift my head
To the earth and the sky and my daily bread
I reached out for joy and I touched instead
Despair

Round and around in my mind I go
Through the figure-8 worst case scenario
Into the floe, behold and be-lo
Despair

Alone in the room at the back of the moon
Light years from humanity
Into the black, closing the gap
between denial and insanity is
Despair

I saw an island of hope and an anchor tossed
Into a river of faith I can't swim across
Now I'm rowing a stone home to gather moss
Despair

I took two steps backward into a truck
On a cloverleaf exiting to bad luck
And that's a roundabout way to say
I'm sucking out the air....Despair

Just when I thought I could shake a hand
Without shaking like a leaf
Hiding my head and down on a knee
To good God and good grief

Musicians:

Evie Sands and Teresa Cowles - backing vocals
Kurt Medlin - percussion
Adam - vocals, all other instruments

Adam sez:

"Despair" was a good example of the way I found during GO WEST that I could radically speed up the songwriting process by integrating it with the recording process so it all got built up at the same time, and in the case of this song it worked particularly well. The idea for the song (basically the weird chord progression and the one-word hook) came to me as I was drunkenly setting up to do the demo that became the track for "Trains," and I then left it alone for several months while I went on tour. When I got back, I opened up the same song file, put in a click track and then did a keyboard track based on the demo idea. Then I went off for awhile and worked on the words and came home and did a scratch track, which had a cool enough vibe I wound up using it as the finished vocal, warts and all. The lyrics didn't quite fit the track so I just edited the parts out that didn't fit and tightened it up. At that point, I took the track to Steve Refling's studio and intuited out the bass and drum parts then and there. At that point, the track was basically together, it was just a matter of adding on the various overdubs. The three different guitar solos that punctuate each chorus is some of the best guitar playing I've ever done, definitely a result of all the sideman work in the last few years. Even though this is basically a solo track, the Chaos Band do make cameo appearances on background vocals (Evie and Teresa) and Kurt (percussion).

One of my goals with GO WEST was to make a double album with wall-to-wall great songs and with no two songs repeating the same idea. It may sound arrogant to say so but hell, I think I succeeded with that; however, the one problem is it makes it very difficult to pick a representative track. If someone asks me to play the best song from GO WEST, I have no idea where to start. If I had to pick one song that represents the album as a whole, though, "Despair" might be it. It has everything going for it -- the poppy melody, great production, dark but funny lyrics, an easily comprehensible message and an overall sound that's both edgy and accessible. It's not a particularly popular track, which baffles me a bit, but I'm very pleased with it.

I thought when I cut this track it was the most Ben Folds-sounding of anything on the album, but I recently played CRIME OF THE CENTURY for Teresa and realized to my shock how much this song sounds like Supertramp.

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