Song by song synopsis by Walter Salas-Humara
The Only Love
I like songs with lots of words. Dylan, Springsteen, Waits come to mind. Every once in a while I write one too. This one happens to have a big guitar thing as well. And the drop-D tuning, which along with Richard Lloyd's superb guitar and Paul Wallfisch's free jazz organ gives it the Crazy Horse from outer space vibe. And there's a message. There is no angry old guy with a long gray beard casting people into the fiery furnace, or the blissful green pasture. No 27 virgins. Trust yourself. Trust your wife. Trust mother nature.
Whistled A Slow Waltz
I never write waltzes. This is the exception. Don't know where it came from. I get a lot of press about how my lyrics are straightforward stories extolling the virtues of truth and family. My lyrics are almost never about these things and they're almost never straightforward. This song is an exception. Family is good. So is equitable wealth distribution. Tax the super-rich, please.
Ready For Anything
This is my attempt to encapsulate the passage from the innocence and curiosity of youth through the wisdom of old age into one lyric. Don't ever stand still, nothing around you ever does. Keep it moving. Keep it flowing. Keep learning. As for the music - it's a California-pop tune with a slightly skewed Brit-pop bridge. And any song with a mellotron part is worthwhile in my world.
Holding On To Life
Is it funky? Is it folky? Is it sad? Is it joyful? You know all those Sam Cooke songs where he sings those playful and joyful lyrics with that world-weary doom in his voice? This song and performance are the complete opposite, the anti-Sam Cooke. The other attractive opposites are Mary Lee Kortes' near perfect vocal next to my more abrasive stylings. Plus you gotta love that zany Chuck Berry-esque guitar bend that just about swallows up the vocals in the bridge. Despite or perhaps because these confluences, this could be the album's single.
Straight eight notes. An honest and strident lyric. Could what worked so well for the Sex Pistols work for the Silos? You decide.
When The Telephone Rings
Basho, the 17th century Japanese zen lunatic, was the inspiration for this one. His haikus are among the most sublime ever conceived. What do I know about Basho? I know my friend Paul Opperman likes his shit a lot. Paul's a 21rst century zen lunatic. If Basho was around after 9/11, this would have been his elegy to New York City. Paul channels Basho on the lyrics. I sing them with a special love for my city.
The First Move
The drop-D tuning again, but a whole different vibe. There's the tension/release thing, but it's more than that. Again there's the curiosity of youth and the wisdom of age (or lack thereof). The pursuit of love and sex doesn't change with age. The thing that changes is our own relationship with our bodies and our minds.
Don't Wanna Know
Catchy guitar riff, lyrics a block of concrete could understand. Maybe this should be the single?
So much for the "straightforward lyrics about truth and family" bag. Why San Francisco? Why 15 Days? Even I don't know what I'm talking about in this song. But why is it so compelling? I'm a listener, an interpreter, even as I'm writing lyrics like these. But it's not simply style over substance, there's an internal method, even though I can't lay it out for you. It's constantly shifting and evolving. The music here reflects the reflects the shifting/evolvement. There's a haphazard yet plotted duality going on. Where's the chorus?
Dumbest On Parade
You know when you're in a serious relationship when you feel the most exposed. Not only do you not care you've let your guard down, but you're grateful for it. There are parallels with professional songwriting. When you're guard is up, you feel misunderstood and exploited. Then you think about that 9-5 job you used to be under. Even if you lose that giant love/never achieve the hit single, it's always the pursuit that ultimately defines you.
Take A Hit
Speaking of professional songwriting, The Silos now have a Nashville record deal. Fitting that this album concludes with a song about writing songs in a back room of a song factory. But Dualtone is not your typical Nashville label, it's as hip as any coastal outfit. And even though on the surface one could make the argument that it's intrinsically ironic that Tom Freund (LA songwriter) and me (NYC songwriter) wrote this one together, the song is as plain as the piece of paper it was written on. It's funny and transcendent without any
need for irony - just the way life is.