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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 7:39 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
Lament wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
Finally, to me, the "speaking as a child of the 90s" is so tongue in cheek that the tongue gets bitten off and swallowed. I don't think he's pegging himself as a spokeschild of the 90s as much as he's spitting the bitter absurdity of it out of his mouth.


That line has always made me wonder if there's supposed to be a connection between this and Against the 70's, where the only non-Vedder line is Watt saying "Speaking as a child of the 70's." Habit started appearing in the live set right after Ed toured with Mike Watt, right? Is there more to it, or is Ed just thinking he's clever? Is Habit directed to one of the other "all-stars" in Watt's band?

Also, while I don't have my copy next to me, doesn't the polaroid for Habit have the line being "Speaking as someone who will live to see the year 2000"?

Both songs may have a criticism or a sarcastic element to them. Maybe that's the connection Ed wants to draw. Or maybe it's just a weird shout out.

But, yes, the polaroid does have that on it. Maybe that was the original line and Ed did it differently on a take or two.

But it is interesting to note that there is a change.


He definitely performed it as "Speaking as a child of the 90's" on the 1995 tour. I'm not sure any of these mean anything, but it's possible they do, and could even be connected.

Also, even though "Speaking as someone who will live to see the year 2000" is much more cringe-inducing, it actually makes far more sense in the context of the song.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 8:36 pm 
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Lament wrote:
He definitely performed it as "Speaking as a child of the 90's" on the 1995 tour.

Good to know. I don't think I've ever heard any of the 95 shows. But then, I would assume that was always the line. Maybe it's some sort of inside joke with Watt et al.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with anything and it's just a sort of call and response.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Thu June 27, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Also, in reference to what others have said already (this according to wikipedia): 'Vedder said, "Making No Code was all about gaining perspective."[10]'


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Habit
PostPosted: Fri June 28, 2013 11:35 am 
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Red Mosquito

In many ways Red Mosquito serves as the bridge track between Vitalogy and No Code, looking to reprise the embattled spiritual crisis of the former that the later attempts to resolve. It is a song about being trapped, slowly drained, and powerless to stop it. What’s worse is the subtle implication that this is also all somehow your fault (something that Present Tense will attempt to put to rest). But underneath all this the song pleads for a guide--someone to show the subject a way out. In that respect the song within the album (written before most of it) is pining for the album itself.

The title and principle image of the song is inspired--one of their best. A mosquito is a parasite. It stalks you. It drains your blood (and a red mosquito will have fed, and red is the color of the devil). The bite itches, and scratching it will drive you mad. It can kill you. Swat one and another takes its place. And for all that it is a small thing, practically invisible--revealing its presence through a high pitched buzzing that whispers in your ear.

Musically this song is a masterpiece, a cacophonous but somehow melodic s wall of fuzzy guitars (with Mike’s leads buzzing loudly in your ear--the way that a mosquito’s whine blots out all other noise when you’re being harassed by it) occasionally kept at bay by what would be a gentle, even peaceful melody if not for the fact that Mike’s mosquito keeps flitting in and out of it.

Even though the song gives license for Eddie to really let loose he plays this one restrained--like someone resigned to their fate but whose wounds are still raw enough to feel bitter and indignant (especially the points where Eddie is in his higher register). There is also a sense that he’s pleading for an audience--urging the listener not to make the same mistakes he did--to ensure others know what he knows before it’s too late for them. Before they are bitten. It’s too late for him, but maybe he can save someone else.

Lyrically this is one of the best songs on the album, probably second only to hail hail. The song is in part about temptation, and being stuck (the forced cessation of movement) by it--a ‘be careful what you wish for’ song. We begin with the singer trapped in a room, staring outside, taunted by the visible freedom that remains closed to him. He pines for something just out of reach, only vaguely aware of the passage of time, his thoughts elsewhere.

He’s not alone--the red mosquito is trapped in there with him. It embodies temptation, or better, the price of it--the lingering costs of getting what you want and discovering that it isn’t really what you want. It’s not that the mosquito is literally the devil. The devil reference is intended instead designed to call up the image of the Faustian bargain. You can have your heart’s desire now, but payment is fast coming due. The entire second verse is full of stalker imagery (a nice segue into Lukin, perhaps)--climbing up hills (already difficult) without any traction. Barely ahead of the inevitable reckoning and slowly being bled. Unable to go back and change things (recall that he’s trapped where he is---locked in his room or incapable of running fast enough/far enough).

Still, despite the presence of the third party tormentor here, one is left with the sense that really the person torturing the singer, the person bleeding him dry, may be himself. His own regrets over poor choices and past decisions that it is seemingly too late to change. If he knew now what I knew then (a line he’ll come back to in I’m Open) things could have been different (a sentiment reprised from Hard to Imagine--he’s been playing with this idea for a while). Payment is due, but it is something he may owe to himself, and if he figures out a way to let go, to forgive himself (he could not have known then what he knows now, and so that’s not a grudge that makes sense to carry--and even if he could have, there’s still no reason not to let go of it--the person who pays the price for your regrets is you) he can move forward. He can leave. Present Tense will pick up where this leaves off, but before we can get there we have to go through Lukin.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Red Mosquito
PostPosted: Fri June 28, 2013 12:41 pm 
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I'm pretty sure on the live on 2 legs version, the second time round eddie says 'i was fixin' instead of 'i was bitten', so i figure either this songs about drugs, or it's about eddie fighting the tempation to 'put a little fixin on it' . A battle he sadly lost on Backspacer :( . Sad times.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Red Mosquito
PostPosted: Fri June 28, 2013 1:18 pm 
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It's important to look at the 'speaking as a child of the 90s' line in light of the Watt song. When Watt sings the line, he's basically saying that being part of that generation (the 70s) gives him license to criticise or question the generation. Eddie's borrowing that license.

I don't hear Habit as overly self-righteous. To me it's full of anger, contempt, and frustration. Eddie isn't lecturing or providing alternatives, he's just pissed off and concerned. The delivery of the song (which I'm not a huge fan of), is necessary, because he needs to convey his thoughts immediately and without rationality. The song forms a great pairing with the album's next track, because Red Mosquito takes similar ideas (addiction and powerlessness) and tries to investigate what's going on. That's why Red Mosquito uses a narrative, and Habit just spits out notes and half-thoughts.

The final line of Red Mosquito ('If I had known then, what I know now) seems to say that the best cure for this powerlessness is just distance and time. It's hard to fight back, but age and reflection help you to make sense of things and move on.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Red Mosquito
PostPosted: Fri June 28, 2013 7:12 pm 
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Red Mosquito is a bit of a fever dream, I think. It's inspired by the time Ed was bedridden by a terrible case of food poisoning.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Red Mosquito
PostPosted: Fri June 28, 2013 7:46 pm 
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I enjoy this song live when Ben Harper joins them with the slide-guitar

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Lukin
PostPosted: Mon July 01, 2013 2:30 pm 
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Lukin


Like Habit, this was one of the first songs written for No Code, and while it does not really fit in with the rest of the record, it may very well have inspired it. Lukin is a musical tantrum.. Maybe the song was meant to be a primal scream--a kind of stress relief. But if so it is inadequate, and points to the need for something a bit deeper, more substantive, more permanent.

The song feels vaguely claustrophobic, like walls are closing in with a deceptive speed (the siren accents are distant and gentle, and gives you a sensation in the back of your mind like the rest of the song isn’t as frenetic as it actually is). Eddie’s shrieking vocals are hard to listen to. Angry, but there is a ‘woe is me’ feel to them that is a bit of a turn off. As with Habit it’s the lack of empathy that makes it difficult to relate. This is one man’s private hell.

The lyrics match the claustrophobic sentiment. The verses describe an intense feeling of alienation--you get the feeling that the worst part about losing your keys is that it is going to force you to spend time around people that are alien to you, that judge you, that want something from you. An invasive intimacy. Like a virus. Stopping off at a friend’s for a beer doesn’t make the rest of the world any less relentless, and as soon as he leaves things just got worse.

We’ve all had days where we felt like that. But this doesn’t just seem to be about a bad day. It feels more like a ground state--and an unsustainable one at that. In that respect Lukin poses the problem the rest of No Code attempts to solve, and Present Tense may very well be the most efficient summation of the insights the album offers.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Present Tense


There is a case to be made for ending No Code on Around the Bend , but in many ways Present Tense is the obvious way to close out the record. The principle journey is completed here, the hidden insights made manifest. It is a concluding paragraph, reprising the journey of the previous nine songs, and it does so quite effectively. No Code is about searching for a guide, finding someone or something to help you navigate the road we’re all traveling (and those same travel metaphors reappear here). And while previous songs have pointed the way there is a gentle confidence in Present Tense that wasn’t necessary there before, suggesting that we have at least begun learning how to decipher the code. After a long stretch of songs about feeling lost, it is almost a relief to know that there is a path, and that we are tantalizingly close to it.

It’s not the most striking piece of music in the catalog, but it is completely appropriate for the mood--warm, deep, memories of once raw wounds finally starting to heal. The transition from Lukin to Present Tense is a bit abrupt, but it is entirely possible the music doesn’t have the same impact if it isn’t following a run of songs about broken and suffering people. There are some call backs to Sometimes, both in the very precise way the song begins--like each note is , a particular memory--and the quasi spiritual journey of the outro. The chorus takes stock of those individual moments, and it weighs them, judging, but the intention of forgiving, rather than punishing. The song builds in fairly subtle ways, and the climax in the second chorus feels organic--earned within the journey of the song (or perhaps the record as a whole. The outro is exploratory, searching, running to find something but confident it’ll get there. There is the haze of voices--whether they are judging, blaming, forgiving, spurring us on or holding us back isn’t clear--but the music pushes us past them with an increasing level of urgency until we finally make it through. We’re clear of the past, in the present tense. We don’t stop there--the music keeps going (and the fade out implies that nothing is finished), but we’re able to walk towards the future having made our peace with the past, ready to accept the future, and moving in a permanent present tense.

Eddie’s vocals are restrained, as is typical for the record.--no screaming in places where there would have been in the past. There’s an unwilligness to completely destroy the tranquility and stillness--and besides, yelling at someone is a terrible way to get them to listen. There’s an interesting juxtaposition here with Leash--it’s a song that is also looking for answers, but assumes that it is external walls that hide them. And so Leash attempts to batter them down, and looks to make up for the lack of answers with an intensity of conviction. The harder you believe the more likely they are to exist. Present Tense can be more subtle because it found them.

The lyrics are pretty straightforward. Let go of the past so you can grow in the present. I talked about the tree as a metaphor during the In My Tree post, so there’s no need to go through that again. And the travel metaphors are all here, alongside some specific references to knowledge and learning--reminding the listener that there is something here they are supposed to be taking away. A few things are worth commenting on. The song seems to urge us not just to let the past go (and we are the person holding both the lock and the key--the only one who can forgive us and who seemingly cannot), but to not worry too much about the future. Accepting our powerless (recall Sometimes) means understanding that there are limits to what we can control. Life may be getting harder, but you can’t predict what’s going to happen next and there are limits to how much you can prepare. And, of course, if you spend your time anxious about or anticipating the future you end up missing right now. It’s not simply the past you need to let go of. You also need to abandon the conceit that life can be controlled. It can only be lived.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 7:12 pm 
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Present Tense is on my top 5 from this band.

I will never forget the first time i saw it live in Texas. Incredible.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 9:41 pm 
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They let you into the United States?


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 9:56 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
They let you into the United States?


Weird right?

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 10:00 pm 
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VinylGuy wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
They let you into the United States?


Weird right?

Happy Independence Day, VinylGuy.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 10:13 pm 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
VinylGuy wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
They let you into the United States?


Weird right?

Happy Independence Day, VinylGuy.

That's next week.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Thu July 04, 2013 10:14 pm 
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theplatypus wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
VinylGuy wrote:
durdencommatyler wrote:
They let you into the United States?


Weird right?

Happy Independence Day, VinylGuy.

That's next week.

You silly, Mexican.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Lukin
PostPosted: Fri July 05, 2013 1:58 am 
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stip wrote:

Lukin


Like Habit, this was one of the first songs written for No Code, and while it does not really fit in with the rest of the record, it may very well have inspired it. Lukin is a musical tantrum.. Maybe the song was meant to be a primal scream--a kind of stress relief. But if so it is inadequate, and points to the need for something a bit deeper, more substantive, more permanent.

The song feels vaguely claustrophobic, like walls are closing in with a deceptive speed (the siren accents are distant and gentle, and gives you a sensation in the back of your mind like the rest of the song isn’t as frenetic as it actually is). Eddie’s shrieking vocals are hard to listen to. Angry, but there is a ‘woe is me’ feel to them that is a bit of a turn off. As with Habit it’s the lack of empathy that makes it difficult to relate. This is one man’s private hell.

The lyrics match the claustrophobic sentiment. The verses describe an intense feeling of alienation--you get the feeling that the worst part about losing your keys is that it is going to force you to spend time around people that are alien to you, that judge you, that want something from you. An invasive intimacy. Like a virus. Stopping off at a friend’s for a beer doesn’t make the rest of the world any less relentless, and as soon as he leaves things just got worse.

We’ve all had days where we felt like that. But this doesn’t just seem to be about a bad day. It feels more like a ground state--and an unsustainable one at that. In that respect Lukin poses the problem the rest of No Code attempts to solve, and Present Tense may very well be the most efficient summation of the insights the album offers.

Lukin might just be the best pressure cooker song I've ever heard. Or at least, the one that best captures that feeling.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Fri July 05, 2013 2:51 am 
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as an aside, I think present tense and inside job are basically trying to be the same song, although the former executes much better than the latter.

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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Fri July 05, 2013 3:04 am 
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stip wrote:
as an aside, I think present tense and inside job are basically trying to be the same song, although the former executes much better than the latter.

Inside Job seems much more reflective and singular to me. It's more about a person being the best version of themselves they can be. Present Tense seems like advice to the masses; more universal. And, yes, a fuck ton better.


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 Post subject: Re: A Guided Tour of No Code: Present Tense
PostPosted: Fri July 05, 2013 3:07 am 
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durdencommatyler wrote:
stip wrote:
as an aside, I think present tense and inside job are basically trying to be the same song, although the former executes much better than the latter.

Inside Job seems much more reflective and singular to me. It's more about a person being the best version of themselves they can be. Present Tense seems like advice to the masses; more universal. And, yes, a fuck ton better.

To me, Present Tense is purely raw beauty and emotion. Inside Job in some ways has beauty, but there is no real emotion; it feels forced.

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