X Marks the Spot

(First played live in October 2021 and released as Single Five of 24 Songs in May 2022).

Official Lyrics:

X marks the spot where we gave up our dreams to the sound of breaking waves
Oh, but it’s not quite the ending it seems, is the point that I’m making today

And X marks the spot where we parted as friends who had been so much more, once
Oh, I hurt you a lot but I’m making amends
I just need, I need a response

And you think I’m here to reminisce but you know, as well as I do, that it wasn’t meant to end like this
We had our chance and we blew it
But there is something that I need to make clear; oh, I never lied to you
Oh, sure, I told you what you wanted to hear and that was wrong and I knew it

Yes, you think I’m here to reminisce but you know, as well as I do, that it wasn’t meant to end like this
We had our chance and we blew it
But there is something that I need to make clear; I never lied to you
Oh, sure, I told you what you wanted to hear and that was wrong and I knew it
Oh

Single Five

Monochrome

(First played live online in May 2021 and released as Single Four of 24 Songs in April 2022).

Official Lyrics:

And every day spent without you just becomes so monochrome
There’s no colour; life’s just duller
So, I am begging you to, please, come back home
I’m on a precipice
How did it get to this?

Because this is where you belong
It’s just taken me this long to discover that the big tragedy is me forgetting how to be your lover

I didn’t realise till now what it was you needed
Oh, I saw each problem; I just ignored them
And discussions became rows; I’ve only just succeeded
Finally understanding you weren’t being demanding

Because this is where you belong
It’s just taken me this long to discover that the big tragedy is me forgetting how to be your lover

And, if you’ve definitely gone for good, I guess I won’t be ever seeing in colour again
If you’ve definitely gone for good, I guess I won’t be ever seeing in colour again

Single Four

La La La

First played live online in 2021 and released as part of Single Three of 24 Songs in March 2022).

Official Lyrics:

Oh, I’m just a diversion for you
Well, that’s quite an assertion, if it’s true, because now you’re saying that I’m not just part of a game you’re playing with my heart
With my heart

You’ve kept me waiting for so long, never indicating if I was wrong to hope that, one day, I will find myself a pathway to you
To you

I don’t want to cause an embarrassment but I’d like to know what you meant
So, yes, I need you to expand
But don’t mess with my sanity
Just tell me what you want from me
I just need to know where I stand

This isn’t over quite yet because, the closer I get, the more you’re revealing, just as I thought
Playing with my feelings is such great sport
It’s a great sport

I don’t want to cause an embarrassment but I’d like to know what you meant
So, yes, I need you to expand
But don’t mess with my sanity
Just tell me what you want from me
I just need to know where I stand

Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

La, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la
La, ah, ah
La, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la
La, ah, ah

La, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la
La, ah, ah
La, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la
La, ah, hey!

Single Three

Go Go Go

(First played live online in 2021 and released as Single Three of 24 Songs in March 2022).

Official Lyrics:

Ready, steady, go, go, go!
Ready, steady, go, go, go!
Ready, steady, go, go, go!
Ready, steady, go, go, go!

[Her] Gentlemen, start your engines, now, then just try catching me, somehow
Still waiting for me to expound?
Well, I’m moving faster than sound

[Him] This is a battle like no other because this is brother against brother
I don’t know what the rules are; I’m just trying to follow that car

[Her] All of my life has just been leading up to the moment, when, you know, you took my hand and said, “Let’s go!”

[Him] Those other guys; I’m almost feeling sorry for them
No, it’s true and that’s because they don’t have you

[Him] This was the contest that defined me
Are they still closing in behind me?
But I was over the line once that you said you’d be mine

[Her] All of my life has just been leading up to the moment, when, you know, you took my hand and said, “Let’s go!”

[Him] Those other guys; I’m almost feeling sorry for them
No, it’s true and that’s because they don’t have you
Yes

Single Three

I Am Not Going To Fall In Love With You

(First played live online in 2021 and released as Single Two of 24 Songs in February 2022).

Official Lyrics:

And I am not going to fall in love with you, even though it got so late and we just talked for four hours straight
Believe me
Oh, no, I’m not going to fall in love with you, even though you laugh with glee at exactly the same things as me
I mean it

No, I am not going to fall in love with you, even though I’ll never surpass walking barefoot with you through the grass
Believe me
Oh, no, I’m not going to fall in love with you because you chew up men and then you spit them out again
I mean it

And, for a moment, there, it was touch and go but I’m not wavering, the answer’s no
Ah, ah
Yes, for a moment, there, it was touch and go but I’m not wavering, the answer’s no
Ah, ah

And I am not going to fall in love with you, even though I think about you constantly
There is no doubt; I mean it
No, I am not going to fall in love with you, even though you think you’ve won, the damage is already done
Believe me, oh, believe me

Single Two

Don’t Give Up Without A Fight

(First played live in 2019 and released as part of Single One of 24 Songs in January 2022).

Official Lyrics:

And there is something I’d been needing to tell you
It’s that we can’t go on like this anymore
And you are not going to like it but well, you
Know there’s a problem that we cannot ignore

And it’s gone on and on and on and on and on and on
But I was being clever
On and on and on and on and on and on
Wasn’t meant to last forever

You’re just a habit that I’m trying to break
I was desperate and lonely and I made a mistake
But if you could just help me stay strong
Because now the real thing came along

And that’s why the situation feels so bizarre
Of course, it’s sudden and it’s human and it’s just gone too far
I made you feel that you belong and now I know that that was wrong

Of course, I knew you would bring out that letter
There must be a hundred lines in there you could quote
Well would it make you feel any better
If I lied and said I meant these words that I wrote

And it’s gone on and on and on and on and on and on
But I was being clever
On and on and on and on and on and on
Wasn’t meant to last forever

You’re just a habit that I’m trying to break
I was desperate and lonely and I made a mistake
But if you could just help me stay strong
Because now the real thing came along

That’s why the situation feels so bizarre
Of course, it’s sudden and it’s human and it’s just gone too far
I made you feel that you belong and now I know that that was wrong

Single One

You’re Just a Habit That I’m Trying to Break

(First played live online in 2020 and released on Locked Down and Stripped Back in February 2021).

Lyrics:

And there is something I’d been needing to tell you
It’s that we can’t go on like this anymore
And you are not going to like it but well, you
Know there’s a problem that we cannot ignore

And it’s gone on and on and on and on and on and on
But I was being clever
On and on and on and on and on and on
Wasn’t meant to last forever

You’re just a habit that I’m trying to break
I was desperate and lonely and I made a mistake
But if you could just help me stay strong
Because now the real thing came along

And that’s why the situation feels so bizarre
Of course, it’s sudden and it’s human and it’s just gone too far
I made you feel that you belong and now I know that that was wrong

Of course, I knew you would bring out that letter
There must be a hundred lines in there you could quote
Well would it make you feel any better
If I lied and said I meant these words that I wrote

And it’s gone on and on and on and on and on and on
But I was being clever
On and on and on and on and on and on
Wasn’t meant to last forever

You’re just a habit that I’m trying to break
I was desperate and lonely and I made a mistake
But if you could just help me stay strong
Because now the real thing came along

That’s why the situation feels so bizarre
Of course, it’s sudden and it’s human and it’s just gone too far
I made you feel that you belong and now I know that that was wrong

Strike! (aka. Don’t Ask Me)

(First played live in the Spring of 2019 and on a session for Shaun Keaveny on 6 Music the same year. This session was released as an EP in 2020. Re-titled and slightly reworked as the b-side for Single 5 of 24 Songs.)

Lyrics:

Can’t you accept the status quo?
You’re having serious doubts, I know, but some things are really never meant to be shared
So don’t make me tell you where I go

You’re making enquiries that you don’t need to hear the answers to
Why have you not considered that it just might be better if you never knew?

Before you strike, bear in mind that you might not like what you find

Can’t you accept the status quo?
Why can’t you just go with the flow?
How difficult is it to look the other way?
It’ll only hurt if you say so

Before you strike, bear in mind that you might not like what you find
Before you strike, bear in mind that you might not like what you find
Before you strike, bear in mind that you might not like what you find
Before you strike, bear in mind that you might not like what you find

Boo Boo

In the Spring of 2008 when I first heard El Rey, a lot of the album was new to me. I’d heard a few tracks live, notably, ‘I Lost the Monkey’ and ‘Soup’ during a small Scopitones forum group visit to Barcelona. During this time I was going through some difficult personal moments and I felt a little disenfranchised from the band that I loved the most. A lot of the tracks were hard for me to connect to. Even now I’m not sure if it was me or the music that didn’t feel right.

Certainly I know people who love El Rey and everything on it. It ranges from spiky pop to layered anthems. And if there’s one song that gets universal praise it’s the penultimate track on the album, ‘Boo Boo’. As I mention below in one of my questions to David Gedge, It has a gorgeous structure with several different sections that flow organically like the emotions that the narrator goes through during the course of the evening meal. There aren’t many lyrics but what’s there cover lots of nuance and hidden angst.

The creation of the song is described below by it’s co-writer Terry de Castro. It might surprise people, who think of The Wedding Present as David +3, how much creative scope his fellow band members have had right since the beginning. Terry has co-written ten songs over the years for both this band and Cinerama. She still occasionally tours as a member of the band and of course has a music career in her own right – check out her solo work here if you are unfamiliar with it. https://scopitones.co.uk/terrydecastro.

I don’t think El Rey will ever become my favourite album but there are songs and moments that hit the special heights that no one else’s music can. The beginning and end of ‘Boo Boo’ are in that category. I love the hope and expectancy that the intro brings. I love the burning urgency and frustrated desire that the epic closing section ramps up into. There is only one released version of this song. I’d like to hear a well-recorded live version, that captures the power that it has at a gig, one day.

Commentary from David Lewis Gedge (DLG) and Terry de Castro (TdC):

‘Boo Boo’ was co-written with Terry de Castro. What was the sequence of events in the creation of this song?

TdC: When we were writing songs for El Rey, our method was a bit different to what it became later on. It’s more organic now, with someone presenting a riff to the whole group and everyone working on it together in the rehearsal room. But our song writing method back then was quite meticulous and painstaking. We [meaning any band member] would come up with a riff, usually on guitar, and then convert it into MIDI [Musical Instrument Digital Interface] using a MIDI-compatible keyboard and then send it off to David. He would work with it and manipulate it, to put together a song, and then we would transfer the piece back into a guitar / bass / drums arrangement. For ‘Boo Boo’, I’d come up with a verse and chorus riff on guitar in Los Angeles and then I sent it to David as an MP3 and in MIDI form. He then brought the semi-arranged piece back to the whole group which, at the time, was Graeme [Ramsay] and Chris [McConville]and me, and we worked on it at a rehearsal room in Scotland. Since Chris was the guitar player then, I had to teach him how to play the actual guitar riff, which was initially a lot faster and much poppier. It sounded okay, but we started to wonder how it would sound slowed down, and it was a lot better, so we made quite a perky little pop song into a slow, epic… masterpiece. Ha, ha! No, seriously, it’s much easier to make a song sound good when you slow it down, for some reason, but this one really did lend itself to a slower and heavier approach. And we just kept heaping sections onto the ending, loving the slow build-up to the final crescendo. It’s great fun to play live for that very reason.

Is there anything you can say about the inspiration behind the lyrics? I love the details in lines like the “waiter’s stacking the chairs”; is this something experienced, observed or just made up?

DLG: As usual, it’s a mixture of all those things. I used the idea of the waiter stacking chairs in the background because I felt that it was quite cinematic.

I’ve never heard ‘Boo Boo’ used as a term of affection but maybe I’m the only one. Do you know anyone who uses this name or is it just your tribute to the old Yogi Bear cartoon?

DLG: I have heard someone using Boo Boo as a term of affection, yes, but the fact that it’s a Hanna Barbera cartoon character – although they spell it Boo-Boo – was always going to appeal to me and my never-ending desire to include those kinds of pop culture references in the songs!

The song structure is very interesting. It clocks in at nearly six and a half minutes, starting with a half-minute, glorious, crashing intro, like the excitement leading up to a date. The sections that follow have very sedate verses and anthemic choruses. At 3:45 we move into a ramping instrumental section that builds and builds and it feels like it will lead to something more but then it ends, almost like the end of a night that one hoped would lead to more and doesn’t. How much do you like song structure to match the emotional feel of a song?

DLG: I don’t consciously try to match the lyric with the arrangement of a song. I write the lyrics towards the very end of the song writing process, anyway, and the structure is usually in place by then. The musical arrangement probably influences the lyric writing in some way but I don’t think I would be able to describe how, because it’s different every time. Anyway, more often than not, I’m more satisfied when a ‘happy’ lyric is teamed with a dark soundtrack, for example. Or vice versa.

What lead to the positioning of this track on El Rey? It has all the hallmarks of a traditional final track but you decided to follow it up with the more atypical ‘Swingers’.

DLG: We have a history of doing that, though, don’t we? Even though we never play encores live, some of the albums have an extra atypical track added on, to follow what would you’d think would be the more obvious LP closer. We have ‘You Can’t Moan, Can You?’ following ‘Anyone Can Make A Mistake’ on George Best, ‘Be Honest’ following ‘Take Me!’ on Bizarro and ‘Hot Pants’ after ‘Catwoman’ on Watusi. I guess you could put it down to non-atypical Wedding Present contrariness!

The delicacies of the studio version are replaced with more power when played live. Are you happier with the studio version or when you play it live?

DLG: Is it that much different?! It’s not meant to be. We usually try to replicate the live version in the studio and listening to the album now that version seems to build nicely. The idea is that the drama heightens throughout the end section as the intensity increases. I think that outro is one of my favourite ever bits of Wedding Present music so I love playing it, even though my part is quite challenging!

Official Lyrics:

Well yes, it’s late; the waiter’s stacking the chairs
But, never the less, just wait; I don’t think he really cares
And if we leave now I’ll be kicking myself all week because we get so few chances to talk just like this
And I would regret just saying: “See you,” because this is something that I really miss
So I aim to detain you for as long as I dare

You just don’t get it at all, do you?
Boo Boo!
The reason I call is that I still love you

Your eyes are glistening as you fill my glass to the brim and, though I despise listening to you talk about him, seeing you being with that man is much better than not seeing you at all
And you can’t leave
Not when we’ve been having such a ball

You just don’t understand, do you?
Boo Boo!
That tonight was all planned because I still love you

You just don’t get it at all, do you?
Boo Boo!
The reason I call is that I still love you

Written and published by Gedge / de Castro [whose publishing is administered outside of the Eire and The United Kingdom by Kobalt Music except for in Canada and The United States Of America, where it is administered by Superior Music].

Studio Version:

1 – El Rey version recorded January 2008  TIME: 6:24

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass) and Graeme Ramsay (drums) Steve Albini & Pete Magdaleno (producers)

 

Live Versions: none

Live:

‘Boo Boo’ wasn’t played live until several months after the release of El Rey. It debuted on 01/09/2008 at the Barfly in Birmingham as the set closer. It stayed throughout the tour that carried on until the end of the year. It continued as a fixture during the next tour in March 2009. it then disappeared from the set for nine years before re-appearing in March 2018 and was played on and off throughout the year with its last time out at the time of writing being 03/10/2018.

Below is a live version by the 2019 line-up of the band as recorded by John Marshall (who as of last night, the 06/04/2019, has now seen The Wedding Present 200 times. Well done Marshall!

I’m From Further North Than You

The first time I heard this song was on a Cinerama bootleg from early 2003 when it was called ‘Edinburgh’ and I was living down South. Piecing together in retrospect it may have been its first live airing at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. There were some shrieks in the crowd upon its debut which is quite unusual as new songs usually take a while to warm to but I can understand why it got that reaction. It’s a special song and the band clearly thought so too as it was carried forward upon the transference to The Wedding Present and was the second single pulled from Take Fountain.

There’s the lovely way the song throws you straight in the middle of a conversation. What is it that led to someone having to explain where they are from and why were they mistaken in the first place. But the song, despite its anthemic shout-along moments has its dark alleys. It’s a song about a failed relationship. One that you look back upon and shake your head and wonder why on earth you stayed in it for so long. But there are lighter moments. I mean, any song that can have a verse that contains the phrases ‘weird pornography’, ‘counting planets’ and ‘red bikini’ is clearly a work of genius!

When I started experiencing the song live for myself I noted that, two-thirds of the way through when the guitars kicked in to that growling riff, that it sounded a bit like the old Weddoes sound. I recall hopping up and down to that refrain at the Garage in London in April 2004 and not even dreaming that just ten months later I’d be at the first gig of the ‘reformed’ Wedding Present playing the same song at the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast.

Just this past Summer I saw the song played again at the annual Gedge festival in Brighton and funnily enough he now lives down there in the South and I now live near Leeds. It’s funny that one of the first times I spoke to David, it was after I’d spoken to his then-partner Sally and I remember saying to him that I couldn’t understand her Northern accent. He pointed out that actually she was actually from down South and I realised that I’d just assumed she was a Northerner. She was actually probably from further South than me.

Questions and Answers with David Lewis Gedge:

This was originally titled ‘Edinburgh’. What inspired that title and why the change to how it is now?

DLG: The original title was suggested by the story in the lyric… i.e. that the narrator had met someone with a Scottish accent but had initially mistaken them as being from the south of England. Edinburgh has always been one of my favourite cities and so I decided to use that as being where the other person was from. I think it sounded quite romantic to me. But, later, I decided that, firstly, I wanted the title to be more literal but also, I wanted to reference that pride of being northern that would cause a northerner to feel appalled if someone mistook them for a southerner! Hence the outrage implied in “No, I’m not from the south, I am from further north than you!”

It’s a well-loved song and is enjoyed as a celebration but the song lyrics are actually quite melancholic. Do you have any thoughts about songs that are treated in ways that are different to their original feeling?

DLG: I suppose you’re right that it’s melancholic but my intention (as is often the case) was to inject some humour into an unfortunate situation. It’s one of our poppier songs, after all. The turnaround between “I admit we had some memorable days” and “but just not very many!” still makes me chuckle.

Do you feel different in living in different places? Does north/south or east/west mean anything to you anymore?

DLG: It does, yes. I get a distinctive feeling whenever I’m in a different parts of these islands and I still feel like I have returned ‘home’ whenever I’m in the north of England. That’s not to say any one place is better then another… but now I live in Southern England I’m acutely aware of a different mind-set in the people here.

The video for the single was filmed in Edinburgh. This involved a bit of acting, was it something you enjoyed?

DLG: It didn’t come instinctively to me, no! You’d think it’d be easy to just play yourself but as soon as the camera is rolling I find it incredibly difficult to even portray myself in a natural way.

This was chosen as a single. Any stories behind this? Were there any other songs that could have followed ‘Interstate 5’?

DLG: While we were recording Take Fountain both this and ‘Interstate 5’ screamed ‘single’ to me for different reasons. ‘Interstate 5’ had this huge, slightly ominous, sound which, to me, signalled a new Wedding Present album on the horizon whereas, this, as I say, just felt like pop music to me. I say ‘just’ but I love pop music, of course!

Just to confirm, the noise at 1:19 is Simon Cleave on guitar, not a dog, yeah?

DLG: It’s actually me… revving up to play my overdriven guitar part with a flick of the plectrum. There was a dog recorded during the Take Fountain sessions but it’s not on this track!

This got to number 34 in the single charts at the time when Top Of The Pops was still going. Was there a call-up?

DLG: Did it? Pretty impressive for a record label run from a rented flat in Newhaven, huh? But, no… no Top Of The Pops invitation for this one, I’m afraid!

Take Fountain brought the name of The Wedding Present back and there was a return to many of the sounds that fans associated with older tracks. This song, even in its Cinerama days, gave glimpses of what was to come. Did you think back, when writing this song, that it could be part of what was to come?

DLG: Not at all. We wrote this in early 2003 when our band was Cinerama and we had no thoughts of it ever being anything else other than Cinerama! Maybe that’s why it has a lighter feel… it’s rooted in a kind of Cinerama style indie-pop rather than something like ‘Interstate 5’ which was written a year and a half later.

Official Lyrics:

And then you said “No, I’m not from the south,
I am from further north than you!”
And with that you kissed me full on the mouth
And that was when I knew you were either drunk or you wanted me
and, you know, either way I wasn’t going to disagree

But how did one crazy night turn into six weeks?
How can we be ‘going out’ if neither of us speaks?
I think we’re the same in many ways and I admit we had some memorable days

But just not very many
I just think we both need more and we cant ignore how unhappy we were
I’d been abandoned by her and you needed a friend

All right the night we walked into the sea; I guess that was okay
And when we bought that weird pornography, yeah, that was a good day
The first time I saw your red bikini I just couldn’t help but stare
And when we counted planets in the sky, I was just happy you were there

Yes we’re the same in many ways and I admit we had some memorable days

But just not very many
I just think we both need more and we cant ignore how unhappy we were
I’d been abandoned by her and you needed a friend

Written and published by Gedge / Cleave [whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Kobalt Music except for North America where it is administered by Superior Music].

Studio Versions:

Single version [ScopitonesTONE 019]] TIME: 3:30
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums); Steve Fisk (producer)
Released 14/02/2005

Klee remix version (appears on 7″ version of the single as well as compilation Search for Paradise [Scopitones / TONE 023]) TIME: 4:00
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums); mix by Klee
Released 14/02/2005

Acoustic version (from Search for Paradise compilation) TIME: 2:17
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Charles Layton (drums)
Recorded at Yellow Arch, Sheffield
Released 29/05/2006

John Peel session version (on Season 3 CD as well as the Cinerama Complete Peel Sessions boxset) [Sanctuary Records ‎– CMXBX1526] TIME: 3:27
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums)
Recorded 08/05/2003; first transmitted 04/06/2003

Take Fountain

Live Versions:

Live in New York (Cinerama): Recorded at The Knitting Factory on the 28th of June 2003 [Scopitones ‎– TONE 031] TIME: 3:17

Shepherds Bush Welcomes the Wedding Present: Recorded at Shepherds Bush, London 20th November 2005 [SECRET RECORDS – CRIDE81] TIME: 3:26
Performed by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Simon Pearson (drums)

Live in Leeds (The Wedding Present): Recorded at Leeds Metropolitan University 6th June 2006 [Scopitones ‎– TONE DL 032] TIME: 3:29

Shepherd’s Bush Welcomes

Video:

The promo video as directed by Tim Middlewick and starring David Gedge and Annie Bergin, filmed in Edinburgh.

The song also appears in live performances on the DVDs for An Evening With The Wedding Present which is the DVD version of the Shepherds Bush live CD and also Drive, a DVD compiling the band’s 2005 North American tour.

Live: 

First played in 2003 by Cinerama when it was called Edinburgh. It was then played extensively by The Wedding Present upon the release of Take Fountain across 2004-2006. It returned to the set in 2011-2012 and again in 2017-2018.