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December 10, 2010 / John Sieger

The State Of Mind I’m In

Listen right here: The State Of Mind I’m In

When I studied theory in college, I learned a term that describes the chord pattern in this song, it’s called harmonic regression. Normally you have a chord progression moving forward through a song and a that can create a lot of things, including a lift in mood. In a regressive pattern, the chords sort of collapse into themselves, they sound like they are packing it in, taking the last glimmer of hope with them. Then there’s the lyric from Michael Feldman — not exactly a beacon of hope. It was a long time ago and when I read it, it was comforting to know there was someone else who’s sunny mood went away from time to time. Neither of us would actually take the plunge in January and were also a bit squeamish around razors. What really got me was the line about his mother, “It was her I never trusted.” I thought that was cold, funny and original. “Thought I saw the razor grin” is very menacing too. I’ve done a few demos over the years trying to get this right, this one wins by a nose over a version I did with El Supremo (Mike Fredrickson and John Carr) about 10 years ago. I did this one last year, playing everything myself. By then I was recording on Pro Tools and had learned to flip tracks, so I created a backward guitar wash for the solo sections. To accomplish that I had to do what George Harrison had done on I’m Only Dreaming — I wrote the chords out in reverse, recorded to a click track and then inserted it. For collapsing chords, a suicidal lyric and a free falling mood you just have to have the backward solo! The funny thing is, this song makes me feel good. I think Mike’s ridiculously exaggerated lyrics (let’s hope they are) save the day. Black humor as a survival technique.

© 2010 John Sieger/Michael Feldman

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4 Comments

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  1. don / Dec 10 2010 3:01 pm

    Regressing can lead to assessing, and then possibly addressing……usually before progressing. Excessing requires decompressing, which surely helps circumvent depressing. Yet, that’s just me obsessing – defintitely beats suppressing. Time to start egressing.

    Anyway, whatever it was that you explained about how you recorded this tune, I really like the song, too.

    don

  2. John Sieger / Dec 10 2010 3:06 pm

    You left out second-guessing!

    • don / Dec 10 2010 3:52 pm

      That’s a blessing. I never second-guess. Usually only consider in at least “quints” – or more! As in, when acquiring guitars and such. Seriously, though, John, another great song there “The State of Mind I’m In”. It’s now stored on my John Sieger WMP Library List, along with many other favorites like Jesco White, A Short Eternity, and Birmingham, among others.

  3. Annie Dubats / Dec 10 2010 5:16 pm

    nothin’ like a little holiday cheer…

    very cool effect (the backward gives a wasshy feel)
    it sounds like you’re singing savior instead of razor

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