Recently I’ve been getting some input from a few good folks (many thanks to Fernando, Luis, and August) and I’ve decided to retool my original track order of the Reality Jockey album while I’m waiting to release the project to the public. The diehard follower of this blog will know most of these songs, as I documented the writing and recording of several during the 2018 RPM Challenge.
I approached Reality Jockey as if it were going to be a classic album, and the song order is designed for the traditional two-sided vinyl format, keeping in mind that all the songs will also play without pause on the compact disc version.
The original track listing is on the left. On the right is the new- and most likely final- track order.
The first few seconds of an album are very important. The listener is going to frame the rest of their perception of the album based on it. Originally, I had the song Famous Bones first. I love the song, but the opening line “Winding our way through Père Lachaise…” is a little esoteric and might alienate anybody who’s not familiar with Parisian cemeteries! Also, Famous Bones is a little nontraditional arrangement-wise, with lots of sparse parts mingled with busy ones. After input from a few audio Samaritans, I decided to kick off the album with the song Shangri-La instead. Its opening line “I don’t see you much, but we’ve got money in the bank…” draws the listener in (without having to Google any French landmarks). The arrangement of Shangri-La is a very straightforward verse, chorus, verse affair that’s easy to grab on to. And the vocal part is strong. I moved Famous Bones to the third spot on the first side. When listeners do get to it, they’ll already have heard Shangri-La, and the catchy title track Reality Jockey, so they’ll have a bit more trust in the songs, and will be more prepared for the, say, ‘advanced listening’ of Famous Bones.
Initially I thought I would just swap the first songs from Side A and Side B, but I didn’t really want Famous Bones kicking off side B, either. So I moved the song The Remedy into the opening spot on Side B. The opening lyrics of The Remedy are “Am I done with external things I thought might bring me pleasure?” and the chorus to this is psychedelic but very radio. Kind of like Sting on PCP. (Did I miss my calling as a music journo?)
Everything else was fine where it was. I like the flow of the record much better now. The instrumental Lamppost on Sawyer sounds like a logical extension of Famous Bones. Side A wraps nicely with my nod to jazz standards with Decidedly Blue. Side B ends on an upswing with the microtonal golden section melody Rise into the thematic consequent, Stay Up Later.
Fingers crossed for an early spring release. I’m waiting for the finances to release the album properly with good mastering, and radio / press promotion, as well as making a great music video to gain more traction across the media outlets. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I could spend $50 and put the album out tomorrow all over the web (iTunes, Amazon, Google Music, Spotify, and a hundred other digital outlets), but without promotion, nobody’s going to know about it. I love this album, and it would be a shame not to provide it the widest reach possible.
The jury is still out as far as what I will pick as the single. I have a team of twelve secret agents working on this as we speak.
EDIT: And then Dr. Mary chimes in… maybe Famous Bones should be first…