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Songs: The Back Of The Sofa

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<a href="http://mjhibbett.bandcamp.com/track/the-back-of-the-sofa">The Back Of The Sofa by MJ Hibbett &amp; The Validators</a>
I took all my troubles
And sent them away
To a town called tomorrow
They turned up today
And the thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Are back

I dug out the key
And I opened the box
But now it won't shut
'Cause it's stuck in the lock
And the thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Are back

And you said
"You can sort it out after you're dead"
But the thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Are back

It's poured out of bottles
I've stored up for years
I'm up to my neck in
A bathtub of tears
And the thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Are back

My issues, like tissues,
Have run out of roll
I've reached the stage when i thought
My dad was old
And the thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Are back

So please leave your name
And a number, and i'll call
You back when I am back on my feet again
So please leave a message
And a purpose, by the door
And i'll pick them up when i am
Coming in out of the rain

I'm filing my life into
Order again
My mind alphabetical
Anger to Zen when
The thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Go back

When i'm back to normal
Whatever that means
We'll go out for a drink
Yeah, i'll give you a ring
When the thoughts i threw over
The back of the sofa
Go back

And you said
"You can sort it out after you're dead
When the thoughts you threw over
The back of the sofa
Go back"

But the thoughts I threw over
The back of the sofa
Are back


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

This is one of the very oldest songs on the album, the first song written after "Say It With Words" was finished in fact. It was Christmas 1999 and I was at at my parents' house in The Fens with a miserable cold and nothing to do except piddle about on their (very old, knackered and out of tune) piano and feel sorry for myself. The song gently emerged over this slightly unfestive festive season, hence the rather downbeat feel of the whole thing. I don't often write songs when I feel like that, and if I do I certainly don't feel the need to inflict people with them, but this one was actually Quite Good, I thought, and so I plugged away at it.

Its first outing was at the Pop-a-go-go Festival 2000 in Sheffield. At some point just before then I'd been in a car with Mr Whitaker and had droned on at him for AGES about the lyrics (especially the "My mind alphabetical, Anger to Zen" bit, of which I am IMMENSELY proud), and he seemed Impressed enough for me to try it out shortly afterwards In A Live Environment. It didn't go down awfully well (you can't do a Fed Up Odyssey in front of a festival crowd), and I don't think I ever played it again at gigs, though I've played it a LOT in my kitchen and my boudoir, as I find it ENNERVATING.

It always sounded, in my MIND, like a cross between a Gary Barlow Ballad (it's that bit "to a town called tomorrow" that makes me think this, as that sounds like something he'd write, also the FACT that I always thought I'd record it with me on the PIANO) and The Lovin' Spoonful ("Darlin' Be Home Soon", obviously), but whenever we tried to do it it always came out like The Shit Song At The End Of The Album that every single Indie Band EVER tries to do. Oh come on, you know what i mean - the far too long SLOW one that grinds on about DESPAIR and tries to cack-handedly BUILD to what they think of as a Redemptive Climax but is ACTUALLY someone twatting about with a distortion pedal.

No, it DOESN'T still sound like that, sod off.

The Final Sound WASN'T this time generated by The Mighty Rhythmn Section, I don't think. This one came a) from MY BRANE and b) from ADVERSITY. Firstly, I like playing Popular Hits, and sometimes it is NICE to play them a bit slowly (e.g. "Boom Shake The Room"), as that tends to bring the lyrics to the fore. I'm not the world's greatest rhythmn guitarist so when I do this it almost always comes out sounding A Bit Country & Western, Sort Of, and due to the fact that, as stated, I tend to play this song at home quite often, i eventually ended up trying it out in that way. It felt GOOD.

The second factor in THE SOUND was that Tom hurt his wrist through OVER ROCKING. At that time he was regularly playing in several bands, groups and orchestras (HENCE the knackered wrist), so when he had to rest his wrist I POUNCED and kindly suggested that he could occupy himself with trying to Actually Arrange Some Songs For Strings. So he did, and it's lovely isn't it?

Recording the song took a little while, and there were a couple of ideas tried out that didn't really make it - if you listen very closely, in the second verse, you can hear some very quiet singing along in the background by everybody. The original intent was to use this as the Gentle Build, but it sounded a bit, well, WEEDY to be honest, and made Kev GRIMACE most distressingly, so ended up being faded down and largely dropped. I'd also planned to have the Twatting About With A Distortion Pedal up much louder, also horns and keyboards, but it sounded fine like it is, and made the DRAMATIC ENTRANCE of the strings that much more dramatic.

I do like that very last chord when the extra vocals come in and the strings go up, I think that's ACE. I was very very proud of the fact that I'd written a song where there's a Whole Other Bit, right at the very end, just for Dramatic Effect, and in fact I still am.


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