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Songs: Born Yesterday

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I live every day as if it's my last
A bloke on the bus said but I think that's daft
I said Then why did you iron that shirt?
If it was my last day on earth I'm pretty sure I wouldn't go to work

Come on then - tell me, where is the love
If the only thing you're thinking of
Is the pleasures you can contain in a day?
I'd rather try and live my life as if I was born yesterday

I was born yesterday
With my heart on my sleeve
At least that's what I believe
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I was born yesterday

If I can only look one way I'm not gonna look back
If have to lose one tense I'll dispense with the past
Cast off the shackles of doubt, and say I want it, yes,
I want to find out how it ends, I want to see what's gonna happen next

And though there may be no future, it's a pretty good bet
That there's plenty to come that hasn't happened yet
It's not exactly existential - what I mean to say
Is that I'm gonna try and live my life like I was born yesterday

I was born yesterday
With my heart on my sleeve
At least that's what I believe
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah
I was born yesterday

How would we ever know
If ten seconds ago
The whole world began for us, halfway through that chorus
And everything we knew was wrong
Our memories never existed and I've spent
My whole life singing this song

I was born yesterday


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

After a LONG process of writing and re-writing, this song first appeared on Zipcodes, and here's what I said at the time:
A version of this song was originally half-written to the music of Young People Bring Me Your Problems but the heavy wordage overwhelmed the tune, and the thought processes behind the main theme got a bit confused. Some weeks later (on Friday September 12th in fact) I got home after a post-work drinkie with my best beloved and nipped upstairs for a quick tinker on my guitar before the traditional Friday night curry action.

I guess it must be something to do with the relaxation of my brain, but a whole other tune gently flowed from my psyche, and I found that, slightly rejigged, the abandoned lyrics suddenly fitted really well, leading into a really nice, simple, chorus that was much less complicated than ones I've done of late. The next morning I edited the old lyrics down a bit, getting rid of most of the stuff about talking to someone on a bus, and soon had the first two verses sorted. I then went back to my original notes - for lo! When I first had the idea for the song it all came into my brain when I was just going to bed, so rather than lose them I wrote down a structure which this finished version, more or less, follows. The idea to start going on about "aha! But what if, eh?" was part of a new plan to do more songs about science (which I may or may not pursue), and after some gentle nudging it evolved into the middle bit you see before you now.

The "that's what I believe I believe" bit went through some heavy revisions and struggles, starting on the bus going down Leytonstone high road to the pub, and ending with an in-pub discussion with the aforementioned water in my tea during which we talked through the various permutations of wanting/having/needing to believe, actually believing, and thinking you might believe it, then thinking you might think you think you believe it. And so on. As stated, this happened in-pub, and gracefully resolved itself with the "believe I believe" line making a cunning return.

I was really pleased to get these words back again, especially the "where's the love?" bit. Now I think of it, however, it strikes me that it was on a bus that I found the words to replace the bit about being on a bus... Coincidence? Or sign from beyond the consciousness?!?

Anyway, this is yet another that was always at the back of the queue for Validators practices, and which nobody ever picked up on for us to play together - it did get pretty close to being done a couple of times, but never quite made it, which is a shame really as it always sounded like a BAND playing it in my head. The version I recorded for Zipcodes tries to sound like that, but I'd've like to have heard Tim playing it!
That was never going to be the end of it though - i REALLY like this song, as it has a RIFF, and when I was going through old songs for possible re-recording for A Million Ukeleles this was one of the first to spring to mind. INDEED i think it was the first one i tried recording, and so it took a while to do as i learned how to use my new four track.

There's LOADS of guitars on this - i recorded the lead parts seperately for the verse, chorus, middle and end bits, and did ALL of it twice, once on acoustic and once on electric (they're on either side of each other in the stereo picture, tho i've no idea which is which!) then recorded an EXTRA lead guitar for the very end, along with two rhythm tracks, also stereo panned. It's GUITAR PACKED!

We recorded Emma's vocal on the little four track in the room next door to a Validators practice in Derby. This was very handy for me, but rather daftly I went back next door while she was singing and started practicing a new song with everybody else, which you could hear EXTREMELY LOUDLY through large swathes of the recording. LUCKILY one of the choruses was unaffected, so i could keep that, and then i went and multi-layered the clean chunks of vocals at the end to make a CHOIR OF EMMA. It was GOOD!

I was going to do some more vocals of my own too, but could never get them right so asked Mr Pete Green to do it. I explained what I had in mind and so he went away and, like everybody else who I asked for specific things, did something COMPLETELY different and MUCH better.

Still though, I felt the song was missing something - I'd asked Mr Frankie Machine to do something but he reported that the song felt too FULL, so we were a little STUCK. It was around this point that i realised a TERRIBLE THING: NOWHERE on the album was there ANY backwards instruments! If you're going to use a four-track, even a modern electronic one, you've GOT to have backwards instruments, so I tried taking the guitars and Emmas' vocals from the very end and swapping them around. OOH but it sounded good, i was WELL chuffed with it, so had them at the start AND ending, and then a little bit in the middle for good measure.

I think this is going to be the FINAL version of the song at last!


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