Little Creatures in Hotel Walls
One of my early memories (age 3) was at the Double Tree hotel near Allston and Cambridge (the one near exit 18 on the pike, at that awful intersection near those colorful gas tank things). We used to go there for various events and I’d always love hanging out in the lobby because they had this one hallway where these little creature guys would poke out of the walls and talk to you. They looked like little sock puppet monster guys. I thought they were really cool and eerie. Except they didn’t exist and I’d never been to the Double Tree hotel by exit 18, and as my parents eventually convinced me when I was like 4, it was a dream. And it probably wasn’t even a recurring dream. Probably happened once, for like 1 minute, and my 3 or 4 year old self had such little context for reality that I just assumed it was real because it felt real.
Between ages 1 and like 13, I had an extremely warped sense of understanding things, remembering things, and constructing/interpreting the reality around me. I followed that period of my life up nicely with 7 or 8 years of religious, professional weed smoking, so things have been slightly hazy/ambiguous/mysterious for a good chunk of my life, but I’m doing well! Fortunately, I have a pretty great memory, so even if I mix up dreams/hallucinations with reality, I still remember almost every little thing and name and place about my early childhood – even if they aren’t all real.
Guess if the other two were memories or dreams.
It was standing there
Fuzzy Wild-Things hair
I laughed so hard as I woke up woke up
Didn’t know why I was scared
I was standing there
Bloodied while the teacher stared
Shoveled out my face. She spoke up.
The tissue showed how I had fared.
What’s the protocol for making memories
I seem to remember almost everything
Past’s a myth, but what about Wednesday?
When I’m 70?
But this was different. You were th…
Little creatures in hotel walls
Thought I understand it all
Looking for feedback on
mix, vocal clarity/intelligibility, structure. I was thinking back to all my memories and like half of them were dreams, hallucinations, or misconceptions. Curious what people come away with form the lyrics.
nick July 23, 2020 3:56pm
“I was standing there” great harmony. And throughout the song, great harmonies. Loving where your singing heading, my dude.
ryan July 20, 2020 8:55pm
You get a lot of stuff into these mixes, man! Reminds me a little of Sufjan where I’m constantly like, “is that a—yeah that’s bassoon” every other verse lol. Really impressive because I never find your stuff overbearing. Very musical. I think the only thing I want out of the structure here is for certain sections to be sparser—I’d be super curious to hear any of the sections that drop down in dynamics to be stripped of everything except for its bare essentials. That would make a super funky and busy and dense section like the guitar solo work even more for me. Also did you have a fucking blast with this solo or what? You sound great, you freaking shredder.
nick July 21, 2020 4:19pm
alechutson July 20, 2020 6:30pm
Hahahaha I can relate with having a warped sense of reality in childhood… I was an impressionable boy.
Really dig the vibe of this piece, it’s got classic Ben nostalgic summertime feels. Great guitar playing!
I really like the textures you’re using (is that a sample of a car driving by?) but I think I would have liked to hear it through the end.
Z July 20, 2020 3:54pm
Hey Ben, love the background on this – been pondering the “history is bunk” saying a lot lately so it was very topical for me.
I like the mood of this, you have a real talent for levity! It’s a very stable track, and at moments it feels little static. My suggestion, to address intelligibility, section distinction, dynamism, hook emphasis and the other elements mentioned in the comments, would be keep the filter vocals for all lyrics that describe memories, and a clean, unfiltered vocal for any lyrics that are sung by “current moment Ben.”
“What’s the protocol..
..But this was different. You were th…”
Thanks for your submission, love it!
Nate July 20, 2020 12:42pm
Love the sound world of this!
One idea for the mix is to approach it less as a mix and more as an instrumentation question: for instance at :35 — I could use another instrument playing that instertital guitar melody, to beef up the sound of it.
For me, the lyrics are pretty unclear without reading — part of that has to do with how the natural accents of the words relate to what have a melodic accent “Night-MARES”. Again, its totally a vibe. “When I’m 70” really stuck out. Very cool that it came back at the end.
One idea to play with “lyrics intelligibility” is what words your melody is jumping on. I love writing nirvana-nonsense lyrics — and just based on how the melody bops around, the impression can be left based on what words “pop out” of the sort of whirly wooshy texture of dreamy vocals with a lush background.
And FWIW: I really like the lyrics after I know what they are.
For song-structure: its pretty densely orchestrated throughout — and the rhythm section is sort of groovin in the same way. I think the structure could speak more clearly with some bigger variation. (2:40 is exactly the sort of moment I had in mind. Yeah the shreds!!)
I also love the swelling winds, plays interestingly with the car samples.
For lyrics: I’d ask for some sort of hook next time. The title is so good I’d love to hear that as a lyric somewhere in the song, too
Hope this is insightful!
Ben July 20, 2020 12:56pm
one note though – the title IS in the song as a lyric! third verse.
trumpeteer123 July 19, 2020 11:09pm
gives me a mellow vibe, I like the quirkiness of the lyrics. The song flows really smoothly and I also like the small touches like the little sample of the car zooming by. Mix sounds nice overall but maybe there is a little too much autotune on the vocals, not sure if thats intentional though? Vocals could be a bit louder at 2:30 onwards on my speakers.
Carseat July 19, 2020 9:26pm
I dig the kid vibes with the instrumental. Very boppy. And ooo that guitar solo. Very spicy. I like the randomness of the “Wednesday” lyric. Conveyed the small memories of waking up specifically on a Wednesday morning and going though the schedule of a Wednesday.
kurds July 19, 2020 9:25pm
Really beautiful vocals! By the way, either your song or lyrics is mismatched, I think? Regardless, enjoyed your track a lot. Found the chorus repetition to go on perhaps once or twice too many times but maybe that was the hypnotic element, in which kudos cause my partner and I chilled out to that part deep.
kurds July 19, 2020 9:27pm
Also, a bit hard to understand at times but the vocal mix sounded great. Very impressed at your ability to remember your childhood so well, would love to hear more memories from long ago, sometime.
kurds July 19, 2020 9:28pm
Uh, disregard all of this, was listening to the wrong track thinking it was yours. My bad.
Ben July 20, 2020 2:01pm
😂 Wondering whose song this comment was for. Also wondering how much of it (vocal clarity, mix) applies to mine.
PS @neonchefbookclub. The comments could prob use an “edit” or “delete” button!