Back in February of 2006, Jefferson Pitcher, J. Matthew Gerken, and I set about writing and recording the original demos for these Presidents songs as part of the February Album Writing Month challenge (www.fawm.org). We wrote and did demo recordings of 42 songs (all but G.W. Bush) in Februrary–28 days and 42 songs. Sheesh.
In any case, as part of that, we wrote little texts to accompany each new song as we got them up on the FAWM website. I like looking through them now as they seem part of a crazy, crazy time.
Burr Settles, a fine songwriter in his own right and the FAWM-lord, was kind enough to get me an html backup of all the original texts we wrote, and it includes the comments other songwriters wrote on the demos as we got them up. I’m including those as well.
31 Hoover (Woe Is a Spoon-Shaped Heart)
by Christian Kiefer — 2006-02-22 @ 03:28am (EST) — Rock
Hoover was probably a good man, but he was a bad president. He made the fatal error of assuming that others were like him: good, caring, charitable, honest, brave. But human beings are not that way. They are greedy, self-serving, interested in their own small view of the universe and little else.
And so Hoover, being President during the Great Depression, called on his fellow men to help him help them help themselves. And of course it didn’t work. Hoover’s economic policies were terrible and the legacy of them continued the great depression.
Interestingly, many critics of the current administration call Bush the “Second Worst President” next to Hoover. It’s funny how these things come around.
In terms of the song, this song was written on Jeff Pitcher’s excellent Telecaster, a guitar I borrowed earlier today (and he borrowed my mandolin). It was a difficult song to write, in part because I’m exhausted and seem to be suffering from a sinus infection at the moment. Illness and creativity, at least for me, do not go hand in hand.
- spinhead | 2006-02-22 @ 10:37am (EST)
I’m sure glad I no longer feel compelled to compare myself to others, ’cause this would depress me. Great song. Nice Tele sound, too.
I’m not sure how you fit all those words into some of those lines. Very R.E.M. delivery. You’ve somehow made Hoover interesting again, and created an excellent song while doing it.
I’d love to see the lyrics to your tunes. As a listener, I like to hear the song once to get my first impression, but after that, if the lyrics carry any meaning for me at all, I want to have the convenience of not having to sort them out of the music.
Dunno if you’re not posting them intentionally (hmmmm . . . I have the first six R.E.M. albums, and they don’t include lyrics either. A pattern?)
- jeff pitcher | 2006-02-22 @ 12:48pm (EST)
goddamn you and your vocal melodies. i’m not quite sure where they come from, and though i’ve been looking i can’t ever seem to find them. i can see the r.e.m. comparison, though i would cite the vocal melody as the factor. and i would compare it to more recent r.e.m. as i find his singing has changed quite a bit. i really like this song. great drumming too. and my guitar sounds really good. how often can you say that without feeling like an egomaniac?
- spinhead | 2006-02-22 @ 04:54pm (EST)
Heh; shades of Jude Cole going on – his first album was recorded on a git-tar loaned by his buddy (and now recording studio partner) Kiefer Sutherland.
KS may be good, but I’ll bet his axe dint never sound like it does on “Heart of Blues”
- Christian Kiefer | 2006-02-22 @ 05:25pm (EST)
Yeah I know it has that R.E.M. thing. I ran across Fables and Document used a few weeks ago and bought them both. They were both seminal albums when I was a teenager. Now I have to admit that they sound a bit dated (particularly in the drum production). Document holds up better.
I think I can probably rework the vocal melodies some so they’re not quite so Stipe-ish, although I also don’t mind it so much. It’s good to acknowledge your influences sometimes.
On the lyrics: I’ll put them up when I get home tonight. The only reason I haven’t been doing that lately is because I’m just damn tired. Sinus infection too so sinus headache while recording this song–perhaps that’s another reason I sound like Michael Stipe. He always said he was “blessed by bad sinuses.”
- daniel78 | 2006-02-23 @ 11:37am (EST)
Great song – i’d love to see the lyrics written down. I love the REM thing, so don’t change the melodies, they’re awesome. (Actually don’t change anything!)
- friendof | 2006-02-23 @ 12:49pm (EST)
I love the reverb on the voice… I also love the Michael Stipe sound of the whole song. But I most love that second talking voice that starts around the 3:00 mark. Beuatiful job!
- tomtomtom | 2006-02-24 @ 11:45am (EST)
Christian, I really like this song. Vocal melody is great. You and Pitcer are also coming up with nice percussion. I see the REM comparision… maybe with a touch of Old Beach Boys.