As mentioned in PART I of this entry, I found a boatload of old recordings on a backup of the very first, very primitive Benja Men website. Here are two more I had pretty much entirely forgotten about!
Grasshopper – 2005
When you can take the pebble from my hand…
This is the first song I ever made using Garageband. If i remember correctly, the whole point was just to test out a weird little pickup I had bought that clipped into the soundhole of my acoustic guitar. Could it, my feverish mind raced, potentially rock? Overall, the song is a pretty cool little jam. I have always liked jangly octaves with a bit of gain played over distorted power chords. If that isn’t its own genre, then it should be!
I have no idea what’s going on with those bells at the beginning, nor do I know why there is a synth bass thing that comes in suddenly and drops out just as quickly. The lyrics are mostly non-sensical, but in a way that doesn’t matter. They sound appropriately angsty to match the music.
CONCLUSION: Cool beans!
So It Goes – 2007
Where it stops, nobody knows!
From 2005-2007, I worked a lot of jobs, often simultaneously, in Los Angeles and was able to put some money aside. In 2007, I went to Berlin with the intention of staying for half a year. For a number of reasons, I have been here ever since. In the first couple months in Berlin, I wasn’t working, so I had a lot of time to just write and play music. I think that is why so many of these songs are from that time period.
I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life, and I think this song draws on that frustration and the knowledge I am destined to spend it toiling away in obscurity. I didn’t have any instruments except for my ukulele at the time, and I could only record with the built-in input on my computer, so that explains all the vocal ohhs substituting for instruments.
The lyrics are a mish-mash of movie and book references (every Vonnegut fan should recognize the title!), but there’s some clever stuff in it especially this equine pun:
Just surviving is one of my greatest feats
as sometimes it sure seems
I’m the old horse the crowd whips to death
in the streets of a murderer’s dreams
I’m Raskolnikov’s night-mare
CONCLUSION: I like the energy of this, even if the execution leaves a lot to be desired!