IN THE END by smallsins

This is one of those songs that I feel other people won’t enjoy nearly as much as I do. The lyrics don’t have a clear message and there’s no big hook. It’s not a flashy upbeat pop song, nor is it a meaningful ballad. Instead, it just kind of rolls in that mid-tempo groove: it moves along at that relaxing pace that some might call boring, but that I tend to get a real kick out of. It’s the kind of song you place at track nine on the album. Too much of this kind of song and you run the risk of a record that doesn’t really go anywhere. So I chose to keep it off of ‘Pot Calls Kettle Black‘ and use ‘My Dear‘ for that role instead.

But like all the songs I’ve been putting up here, I still feel like it needs to get out there one way or another, so here we are again. Steve and I recorded this one together using Roland V-drums for all the drum sounds. You can do a drum take like this in the time it takes to play through the song, and quantize all of the beats in three mouse clicks. Midi can give you that instant gratification, but is that really a good thing? This is obviously a demo of this song but there was a time when I was trying to get away with doing things the easy way for what I wanted to be the finished product. I think part of the mentality spawned from doing advertising spots, for which I just had to have something of TV quality to present within a few hours. Music shouldn’t be made with a deadline, though, and efficiency should be the last thing on my mind for my own material. Eventually I sent the V-drums back to the store in an effort to force myself not to use them ever again. The same reason recovering alcoholics don’t hang around bars.

This seems to be the general problem with people making music in their home studios. On one hand, everyone now has access to the tools that can take their music to the 90% quality level. This is great in that everyone now has a chance to record some kind of music. The more the merrier, I suppose, and it’s not like you don’t need talent anymore. You can take all the steroids in the world, and you still won’t be able to hit home runs like Mark McGwire. He may have been ‘cheating’, but he still had to work his whole life to hone his remarkable talents.

In music, I find the problem to be that artists these days often don’t think they need to achieve that extra 10% to make music that is truly great. They record things at home, and take them to an ‘acceptable’ level, not a truly great level. This makes it difficult for fans to wade through the mediocrity as the market becomes flooded; at the same time, the true talent always sticks out. An artist should never settle for ‘good enough’. But the worst thing about it is that I am guilty. A lot of the process to get to the album we did in the end involved getting rid of the instinct to be efficient. I can’t suffocate the perfectionist I want to be. ‘Pot Calls Kettle Black’ goes all the way to what in my mind is 100%.

And so why am I letting you hear something that has not been taken to its full potential? Well, if it’s a demo, it’s a demo. If this song had made it to the record, a whole lot more work would have gone into it. It’s about context. Hopefully it is interesting for you to hear something in its starting stages. Perhaps later I will post a demo version of a song that actually made the record, and you can see a bit more of the journey. But for now, let’s enjoy this one. Basically this whole write-up is a disclaimer. I like this song, I enjoy this song, but this song will never actually be completed. It is what it is, so forgive me for my 90% effort. There’s a good song in there somewhere.

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