karmafrog

Release Date: 4/01, 3/08

Album: LUDLOW 6:18 and DAYLIGHT KISSING NIGHT

Writer: ADAM MARSLAND

Audio:

Video:

 

Lyrics:

Early morning rain

The street stinks of oil

I'm one with my city:

Dawn finds us both despoiled

Block out where I've been

Drive away in my waiting friend

One stubborn question though:

Why did I do that again?

 

I couldn't think of a good reason

Not even before the fact

No spontaneous combustion

Just a slouch around the sack

And now I mull the implications

Of the things I can't take back

 

This is what you had

This is what you did

This is what you'll get

 

She used to love me once

She used to love me still

Forever disappointed in the [w]hole I can't ful[l]-fill

She sees in me everything that I could be

And that's a bigger betrayal than the infidelity

 

And then it all becomes too real

This grand ideal that I have failed

Watching every grand resolution

Go swirling 'round the pail

And now I draw a little closer to the final gnash and wail

 

This is what you had

This is what you did

This is what you'll get

 

"Got away with it" --

Smug little words

The underlying concept now strikes me as absurd

 

From every hidden seed

Ugly flowers grow

Dig deep to uproot them for you will reap just what you mow

 

And maybe on the day you die you'll find a million blades of grass

And every careless thought or deed will kick you in the ass

While I choir of your ex-lovers sweetly sings to you en masse:

"This is what you had

This is what you did

This is what you'll get."

Musicians:

Adam - vocals, guitars
Robert Ramos - bass, vocals
Severo Jornacion - guitar, vocals
Kurt Medlin - drums

Adam sez:

"Karma Frog" is about the best song I've ever written. I think so, anyway. It's certainly the lyric I'm most proud of, which negotiates a tale of infidelity and karmic consequences. Or, if you like: "cheating on your girlfriend and going to hell." I liked the song so much I named my record company, and later my studio, after it.

So upon LUDLOW 6:18's release I was horrified to discover that, despite having spent months slaving over the artwork to the album and getting it just right, I'd unintentionally left what I thought were my best lyrics off the album! People would ask me why; was it for copyright reasons? Because of the record company name? No, the reason was much more prosaic: because I am a moron. It's like when I was 3 years old and I doodled a drawing of a man and was so obsessive about remembering to put buttons on his shirt that I forgot to give the guy any arms. And then my parents went and had the drawing made into an ashtray.

There's a somewhat abstract train of thought running through about how we understand our own motivations and their likely bad outcomes perfectly well, but we exist in a whistling-past-the-graveyard state of denial that manifests as black humor so that we can live with ourselves. In this case it's about compulsive sexual behavior but it could just as well be about, say, smoking. I was not sure that I was going to be able to get that concept down on paper, and when I did, I knew LUDLOW was going to be a killer record.

The melody to "Karma Frog" is stupid high and for a long time it was a bitch to sing. The reason is that the song was meant as a tribute to some of the twee/kindercore/SpinArt bands I loved, most specifically a Boston band called Jumprope. And besides the sweet/sour sound, obsession with jazz chords, jangly guitars and jumpy drum beats, what do all those bands have in common? They're all fronted by girls. Hence the high vocal.

But then, high singing over weird chords was always a Cockeyed Ghost trademark (sometimes unfortunately). Bands we knew would say they were going to cover one of our songs, and then they'd come back a month later and say "how the hell do you play and sing that stuff? It's impossible." It actually is possible but it does require ingestion of certain hormones and a lot of yoga.

LUDLOW 6:18 was an album where we were really conscious of getting the feel right, and on this one, we had practiced the vocals on this song to such a degree that they came out too pretty. We wound up rerecording all the background vocals, intentionally singing them slightly off key.

Rather like the lyric sheet omission, the words "Karma Frog" don't appear anywhere in the song. The song was obviously about karma and I originally I had thought of calling it "The Karma Song" but that sounded too kum-ba-ya for me. "Karma Frog" was a play on words with the Culture Club hit "Karma Chameleon" -- which I hate -- and I enjoyed destroying that song by playing it back in my head with the chorus going "karma karma karma karma karma...FROG." It relates to the song because the protagonist is the anti-prince who knows he is going to reap karmic retribution. Hence "Karma Frog." Over the years it has almost turned into a pseudonym, and I'm cool with that.

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