When I’m playing live, I often introduce ‘Stuffed Animals’ by saying “This is my darkest song, this is well depressing”. People laugh – they’re supposed to, it’s the way I tell em – but the sentiment, though tongue in cheek (like the song) is also very true. I’m not going to spell out for you what the song’s “about” – I think it speaks for itself better than most of my output, and if it doesn’t then people seem to have been enjoying it even in their ignorance.
The song replaces ‘Californian Styled’ (discussed in the pretentious entry linked to at the start) as the most creepily effortless FaceOmeter writing session. I estimate that the music and lyrics both turned up in well under an hour. The lyrics from that hour have never needed to be changed, not one word. The title eluded me for a few days, but during that time I recorded, produced and uploaded a version of the song (it’s still on myspace) and taught it to FaceOmeter and Friends, who filled it out perfectly – Tony with an incredible drum pattern and Clare with a brilliant flute line. Though the band is no more, alas, the song is still an important part of live sets; the last time Dapper Swindler and I hit up the North Bridge Inn was an evening ram-packed with wonderfulness, but one of the highlights for me was when people stopped their conversations to listen to this song – that’s pretty much the most gratifying thing that can happen to you, doing what we do. The video is on youtube.
Writing songs is weird. I don’t know if ‘An Epiphany’ is “better” or “worse” than ‘Stuffed Animals’, or even if you can “hear a difference” stemming from the radically different ways in which they were written. My latest theory is that the quick ones come more from the heart, the slow ones more from the head. This is far from being wateritght, but it’s the closest I’ve come to a general rule so far.
Whilst far from being divorced from the brain, ‘Stuffed Animals’ has more heart in it than anything else I’ve written.