Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

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Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Aspiemom on April 11th, 2011, 2:58 am

The Song of the Week is "I Feel My Stuff" from the Everything album. I'm going to start with the music, because it's easier than the lyric. The song begins with what sounds to me like a keyless, 12-tone piano run generally moving from higher to lower, and ending on a major fifth that finally establishes a key, sort of. With the third missing, its unclear whether the key is major or minor. Next, we have the "duh, duh, duh; duh, duh, duh" chorus. Or is it a "da, da, da; da, da, da" backup singers (maybe referring to "da da" meaningless art, named for many babies' first word, (the little ingrates should start with "mama," but I digress)). The singers start on the 2d tone of the scale and move down three notes. Since they never get to the third, we're still hanging on the major/minor issue. Then DB's vocal muddies it further. He sings a minor third on "I waited," a major third on "moving into," minor on "some days we exercise," major on "some days we harmonize."

Overall, the song sounds unsettling. There is a lot of downward melodic movement, and a lot of seventh intervals, which is the interval that sounds most discordant. I get the feeling of circling the drain. During the sections that DB speaks, there is nothing tying the song into any key at all. The "I feel my stuff" coda breaks these patterns and gets the melody moving up and down, suggesting some kind of breakthrough maybe? The four ascending notes at the end sound corny though.

I'm going to need some help with this lyric. Is it nonsense? Self-referential? Maybe designed to get listeners to make their own connections, like the words projected in SMS?

The intro lyric is about the only part of the song that makes sense to me. "Some days we exercise, some days we harmonize," to me describes ways of coping with stress or getting your head on straight. "Look away" is another way to protect yourself, when other people's problems overwhelm your mind. It's an uncomfortable act though, as part of you always feels the obligation to share the suffering, if only through observing it.

A bunch of lines are open to multiple interpretations, I think. Here's one: "I need my laser. Don't move." Hmm, lasik? Using a laser-pointer at a presentation? Shooting an apple off my head? Many lines refer to modern technology and other cultures. Why?

Here's the lyric:

I think I waited too long
I'm moving into the dollhouse
Some days we exercise
Some days we harmonize
Look away, look away, look away- oh yeah

Emily said she'd suddenly waken
Look at that guy with the government coupon
Yoo hoo, yoo hoo, gonna get you
Japanese chairs in somebody's concert
Telephone bills on the company paycheck
Who knew? Who knew? I do

Emily lost her mobile phone
Last night's dance on a bumpy road
I won't go out in the cold
Lebanese Chinese in my school
Imagine who can make you cool
Who's gonna pay for this call?

The cheapest dog, the hottest sun, the fiercest cat & the meanest gun
You got to hold the peelings in your hands, baby
It's a safety belt, it's a Christian crime, a rocket ship, it's a joke of mine
I took away the day that I'd be gone- shoot!

Lebanese take their sailors home
The broken stuff in the outer wall
I'm sticking out in the road
Memorize toilets, Chang Mai School
I like my song but I lost my cool
I need my laser, don't move

Put him in the ground where the Duchess grows
Where the word is true and the girls are strong
Gonna stuff it, step it, pick it, going bye
Take another life of a wretched soul
When they get too high where the bushes grow
& They rope it, squeeze it, push it side to side

The chicken shack, the rising sun,
the written word in a foreign tongue
You got to hold it all before it drops, baby
It's a little bit, it's a lot inside,
it's a bigger thing than YOU can hide
I took away the parts that need controlling

Hooligans jump in the budget sign
In the tropic zone, where the fix is fine
Gonna chase it, place it, face it with my eye
Stinky little bird in a dirty tree
Gonna figure out it's your lucky day
If ya smell it, sell it, tell it to my ear

Lowered in the ground where the Duchess grows
Where the word is true and the girls are strong
Gonna stuff it, step it, pick it, going bye
Take another life of a wretched soul
If they get too high where the bushes grow
& They rope it, squeeze it, push it side to side

(I'm sayin') I feel my stuff
I get enough
I come back to be stronger
I feel my stuff
I changed my luck
I come back to be stronger
There's no way to communicate.
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Oedepus on April 11th, 2011, 4:05 am

Great choice! Aspiemon, it seems like you know a lot about music in a technical level. I have a hard time in that department, I'm driven by pure instinct. I don't know how to read or write music properly, when I'm forced to sing based on a sheet of paper, I create my own symbols.

The Everything that happens on this tour version is amazing, a lot more striking than the studio recording. Speaking of that EP, the cover artwork is interesting, he chose an off focus and blurry image, it makes him look like a ghost captured while moving quickly.

The EP's booklet includes a hand written lyric sheet of the song, complete with changes and alterations, here it is in case some people haven't seen it before:

http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/4512/page9a.jpg

Ok, music wise, I agree this song is very unsettling, the guitar at the bridge is surprising, I hear bird sounds too, or something resembling the sound of a bird cage door swinging (but that could be pure influence from the lyric), and a sinister laugh.

So based on the ETH story, this music was created before any words, so David had to write something to fit this difficult song, and it could be possible he took the cut-up route.

The first time I paid attention to the opening line in this song, was on the Wall Street movie, and the imagery in my mind was that of a person shrinking him/herself to live inside a doll house, in order to escape life's pressures and demands. This exact story happens in an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Miniature"

A friend told me that to him, the opening line meant that the narrator was tired of supressing his desires and went to a whore house (when I write that theory it sounds funny) so if one thing is for certain, is that everybody has their own version :)

The telephone bills add to my theory of a stressful life, who is Emily? could be the character's daughter. To me, after the opening line everything goes crazy and it's pretty hard to figure out what's going on. The verses could bare actual meaning, but other parts seem to be nonsense that begs you not to look into it.

The last part seems to be where there's some sense again, even though I don't know what the "I feel my stuff" expression means.
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Aspiemom on April 11th, 2011, 6:53 pm

Do you think this could be Emily? She left her phone in a toilet about three months before the album was released! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14413091297#!/group.php?gid=14413091297&v=wall
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Aspiemom on April 12th, 2011, 2:37 am

Oedepus wrote:Great choice! Aspiemon, it seems like you know a lot about music in a technical level. I have a hard time in that department, I'm driven by pure instinct. I don't know how to read or write music properly, when I'm forced to sing based on a sheet of paper, I create my own symbols.

The EP's booklet includes a hand written lyric sheet of the song, complete with changes and alterations, here it is in case some people haven't seen it before:

http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/4512/page9a.jpg

Ok, music wise, I agree this song is very unsettling, the guitar at the bridge is surprising, I hear bird sounds too, or something resembling the sound of a bird cage door swinging (but that could be pure influence from the lyric), and a sinister laugh.

So based on the ETH story, this music was created before any words, so David had to write something to fit this difficult song, and it could be possible he took the cut-up route.

The first time I paid attention to the opening line in this song, was on the Wall Street movie, and the imagery in my mind was that of a person shrinking him/herself to live inside a doll house, in order to escape life's pressures and demands. This exact story happens in an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Miniature"

A friend told me that to him, the opening line meant that the narrator was tired of supressing his desires and went to a whore house (when I write that theory it sounds funny) so if one thing is for certain, is that everybody has their own version :)

The telephone bills add to my theory of a stressful life, who is Emily? could be the character's daughter. To me, after the opening line everything goes crazy and it's pretty hard to figure out what's going on. The verses could bare actual meaning, but other parts seem to be nonsense that begs you not to look into it.

The last part seems to be where there's some sense again, even though I don't know what the "I feel my stuff" expression means.


Thanks. It was S!mbells' idea, but I'm having fun with it. I don't know much music theory really, probably just enough to get a lot wrong. I hang on to just a few things- meter, key, major/minor, rhythm, intervals, song structure. When I can't figure these things out, I feel disoriented by a song. This particular song just keeps morphing: major to minor; syncopated percussion to a heavy backbeat and back; singing to rapping; tinkling piano to loud guitar solo. I think they should have used a lot more of it in Wall Street, because of the foreboding tone.

I think you're right about stressful life being a theme. "I think I waited too long" is a chilling opening line. Nothing to be done about that problem, since time moves only forward. I think you're right that the dollhouse is a place to hide too. Ibsen also wrote a play translated as "The Dollhouse," about a 19th Century woman who realizes that her husband treats her like a child or a doll, not allowing her to make adult decisions, and she walks out on him. Maybe this song is a 21st Century recognition that the dollhouse had some advantages?

That laughing guy sounds a little like the exorcist in Jezebel Spirit, another really troubling song. He also sounds like Vincent Price. Do you remember him? The last big project I remember him working on was the voice-over part in Michael Jackson's "Thriller." The laugh seems like a triumphant sound from someone who knows you're in trouble. It's not just telephone bills, but the use of the phone on company time causing a problem. Who doesn't occasionally worry that their employer will find out about such time thefts? Maybe the references to Lebanese, Chinese, Japanese, foreign tongues etc. also refer to the stresses of modern life in a shrinking world? Maybe not, I'm reaching.

I can't hear the birdcage, but my kids always look forward to the "stinky little bird in a dirty tree" line. It is kind of funny. Could be a serious environmental comment, I suppose, but "stinky" is hard take seriously.

Thanks for scanning the manuscript. I don't have any of that stuff!

I'm unclear on "I feel my stuff" too. Considered but rejected the following: masturbation; Nietchze "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" idea. I'm leaning toward the phrase meaning something like "I feel and accept my feelings, then return to the screwed up, modern world a stronger person." But that's kind of Stuart Smalley, so probably not right either. I'm convinced by the musical shift that the song has some kind of happy ending. :rockdude:

I'm going to check out the dancers to see whether they shed any light.
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Aspiemom on April 12th, 2011, 2:46 am

There's no way to communicate.
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Aspiemom on April 14th, 2011, 2:56 am

Hi, S!mbells!

Sorry I'm not much help with this lyric. One critic called it a Rorschach song- you can tell what someone is like by how they interpret it.

You're ahead of me on the music too. I looked up modal jazz on Wikipedia, but I still don't understand it very well. It seems that it would explain the dissonances. Speaking of jazz, I hear some "Bye Bye Blackbird" melody in "Emily said she'd suddenly awaken. Look at that guy with the government coupon," and the dancing reminds me of Fosse a bit.

interesting thought about the voices being characters. The rap does sound a bit like Burroughs or John Cage. Emily shows up a couple of times, waking suddenly, later losing her phone. Maybe some verses address her directly?

I looked up Chaing Mai, and it is a city in Thailand. They have English-based schools for expatriates there, which might explain the references to Lebanese, Chinese in my school, and the written word in a foreign tongue. I have junkies on the brain atm, so I hear lots of lines about drugs today- "look away" might be advice to someone getting a shot, the guy with the government coupon could be in a methadone line. The trip down a bumpy road in the tropic zone where the fix is fine reminds me of Burroughs' yage ventures. As does the line "it's a little bit, it's a lot inside, it's a bigger thing than you can hide.". Burroughs initially thought his first dose of yage was too small, then it laid him flat. Then all the death and burial stuff could be about overdoses. That makes the last lines about getting your fix and going on with life. Yucky, and probably wrong because of the overall "we'll get through this" tone of the album.
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Oedepus on April 14th, 2011, 5:00 am

A happy ending or maybe a burst of insanity :lol:

This one has been pretty tough right up with Rose Tattoo

I'm really intrigued by the Rorschach idea, I've heard of album covers that aim towards that, but to manage to make a song be that way is quite an achievement. Listening to it a bit more, I feel my stuff sounds like a statement from someone acting confident about something. The dance routine didn't shed much light for me on the song's theme, but I must say it adds a nice touch to it.
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Oedepus on April 15th, 2011, 4:49 pm

I nominate the DB '94 epic: Strange Ritual.
Howdy-do? This is Peter McCalister, the FATHER. I'd like a hotel room,
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Re: Song of the Week- April 10- "I Feel My Stuff"

Postby Aspiemom on April 15th, 2011, 8:18 pm

Oedepus wrote:I nominate the DB '94 epic: Strange Ritual.


Gotta love a song that rhymes hairstyle with meanwhile. :breakdance:
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