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September 20, 2010 - Week 13
Week 13 proved to be a lucky one. "This City" came together flawlessly, and we are totally pleased with how it turned out. Kyle and Pat went on a road trip to Orange County and had all sorts of adventures... late night antics aplenty. Sean and Michael held down the fort. The NFL did not disappoint, and neither did the season finale of "The Great Food Truck Race." Suck it, Nom Nom truck.By SeanThe lyrics for "This City," as contrived as it sounds, were inspired by the last few years I've spent living in Los Angeles. LA's a weird place. It defies big-city conventions, but still maintains a worldly, metropolitan vibe. I love how there are so many distinct sections of the city, but I'm still not used to the sprawl. I wake up excited in the morning knowing that I live in a town that values and rewards creativity, but I can't stand the masses of people that flock here to try to become stars. I hate that I have to sit in hours of traffic each day...but at the same time, I've done some of my best thinking and writing while sitting in my car, stuck amongst the downtown skyscrapers on the 110 freeway. In fact, a lot of early ideas for Theory song lyrics originate in traffic jams."This City" by The Theory of Funkativity Verse: This city's got Smoke in its lungs Doesn't set the best example I fit the part I sit in traffic Act like I don't know different For the greater good For the commoners But it's still not enough I've seen this before I know what happens And you won't like how it ends Chorus: Everybody here seems like They're killing time And nobody wants to have to Make up their minds Verse: Did I come up short Did I miss the mark Is my head still on my shoulders Did I say too much Is this my stand-in Can we take it again All the wasted words Go on record Without a second thought Love to watch you work When will it be my turn You're all I think about Chorus: Everybody here seems like They're killing time And nobody wants to have to Make up their minds Everybody here seems like They're waiting in line Now let's cut ahead And we'll get on with our lives Verse: This city's got Smoke in its lungs Doesn't set the best example I fit the part I sit in traffic Act like I don't know different Chorus: Everybody here seems like They're killing time And nobody wants to have to Make up their minds Everybody here seems like They're waiting in line Now let's cut ahead And we'll get on with our lives Outro: Everybody here seems like They're killing time Everybody here seems like They're waiting in line Everybody here Everybody here Seems like they're killing timeBy Michael"This City" was kind to me. Unlike the last two weeks, I didn't run into any major issues in the writing process. In fact, this song came together so naturally I didn't even bother to record a demo version. I built the song around the rhythmic and melodic pattern that appears in the intro and verse guitar. As soon as that riff was in place, the song became an exercise in simplicity. Those of you who have followed The Theory from the early days (and those who know how to use an embedded music player) probably remember that our old material used to be much more stripped down than the new stuff. The material from the Odyssey has had much thicker instrumental textures. It was clear from the start that "This City" demanded a simpler style. I kept re-recording the electric guitars with simpler and simpler takes. Neil Young's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was a big influence for me on this track. It's full of dry, distorted guitars that jump back and forth between lead and rhythm roles. The guitar style "This City" pays homage to that album.By MichaelI believe that I have the two easiest and toughest amps in the world to record. Both of them appear in "This City." On the left side of the mix (and for the lead parts) is the Fender DeVille. On the right side (starting at the very beginning), the Marshall JMP. The DeVille is too easy. I can take a random guess at the EQ, drive, and volume settings, and pick a random mic to place wherever I want. The amp is still going to sound spectacular in the mix. It's a big sound that somehow still leaves room for every other instrument and vocal part. The JMP is a nightmare to record. That's okay, because I think it's one of the best sounding live amps ever built, but it's never going to sound the same way in a recording that it does when you're standing in a room with it. Its sound probably made a lot more sense in the 70s when everything was distance miked. That said, every time I record I get a little bit better at dialing in the right sound. I am slowly but surely taming the JMP.