Monday, December 22, 2014

1. Bellevue

Here we go.  This is my first album from 2011.  And this tune is what started it all.  I had been writing songs for the better part of a year, not really intending to do anything in particular with them.  But once I wrote this, I knew that I could make the idea into an entire album.  Two months later, I had 17 tracks.  I realize that the Bellevue I sing about is slightly at odds with the Bellevue today.  I don't really care.  It's artistic license.  Who the hell needs to be accurate?  Seriously, if I don't know Bellevue's commercial zoning codes, does that mean my opinion isn't valid?  Whenever I'm in Bellevue, I'm always quite impressed by its blandness.  Sure, it has tall buildings, but honestly, who cares?  It's a suburb of a third-tier city, for Pete's sake!  My rant is merely a collection of impressions that have come to me over the course of many years.  Oh, and the only live instrument on this tune (besides my voice) is the tambourine, ably piloted by Johnny Sangster.  Everything else is a robot slave - brass, keyboards, drums - all under my absolute control.  This tune holds a special place in my heart, even though I catch much hell from my sister and her former in-laws for my brattiness.  For those who live nowhere near Bellevue: it is a place where you can live and die and your existence will not matter, although perhaps your material purchases will be noted.  Come to think of it, you can say the same thing about Seattle - except your material purchases won't count for anything.  You'll just live and die and that will be all.

There are 17 tracks on this album and they're all about various parts of Seattle.  This town and I have never gotten along too well.  I've always planned to move away, but something's always imposed itself in the way.  I'm kind of like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, except if I was never born, it probably wouldn't make too much difference.  This was the way of making myself right with this city.  There is a lot of genuine affection in these tunes.  I was hoping for some reciprocation, but that never quite materialized.  Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this effort is that many of the professional Seattleites - those who make a living writing about Seattle - would not even acknowledge that this album existed.  I quickly found out that those who get paid to have an opinion about this city will dismiss anything that runs even slightly contrary to their core beliefs, the surly old farts.  They generally won't even consider it.  And those whose job it is to promote the interests of Seattle shun an album like this because it isn't, y'know, completely positive.  I don't care about that.  This effort is a statement about how I view my surroundings.  After so many years trying to leave, this was the most affection I could muster.  Hey, I'm trying to reconcile myself here!

If you've never been to Seattle, I apologize.  Like I said, I'm coming to terms with my cruel fate.  This town is quite pretty at certain times of the year.  I happen to like the rain quite a bit.  I tend to write a lot of music during the 10-month rainy season.  I couldn't do that in Los Angeles.  I did hope that people would see their city in a particular way after listening to this album, but that was a bust.  Funny thing, it's my best-selling pop album.    

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