To see how the song is played in the cover song music video, CLICK HERE!
Intro: D Bm F# G Bb – A – D (sing: “Do-do-do…”)
When life has got you down
Bm F# G Bb – A – D
And everything about it makes you blue:
Pick up, keep moving on,
‘Cause that’s the very best thing you can do.
D A G F#
Say, hey, Woz, whatever this is, it’s all right.
D A G F# Bm
Hey, John, this too shall pass; it’s a season in your life.
Yeah, yeah, well, I’m…
D A Bm G – F#
Kickin’ down the back streets; people wanna break my stride.
D A Bm G – F#
Everyone has a time when they lose their pride, but…
Bm F# G D
When I’m old and in my chair,
A Bm F# G
Thinking back, looking back,
What will I remember?
D Bm F# G Bb – A – D
All the good times — they were all right…
When every morning brings
A struggle just to get up from the bed…
Say, hey man, whatever this is, it’s all right.
Hey man, this too shall pass; it’s a lesson in your life.
Yeah, yeah, well…
(different chords for last line, as below:)
D Bm F# G A(hold) D
All the good times — they were all right… Do-do-do, do-do.
** These chords and lyrics are interpretations and transcriptions, respectively, and are the sole property of the copyright holder(s). They are posted on this website free of charge for no profit for the purpose of study and commentary, as allowed for under the “fair use” provision of U.S. copyright law, and should only be used for such personal and/or academic work. **
Hello and welcome to a very special Monday edition of the Laptop Sessions! What makes tonight so special, you might ask? Well, for the first time in months, I’m bringing you a cover song music video of a song that has yet to be released. No worries, though — if you like this song, then you’ll be able to buy it in stores tomorrow.
The song I’m bringing you tonight is “Who Says,” the first single from the forthcoming 2009 John Mayer studio album Battle Studies. There’s a little bit of a story behind this one, so here goes…
I first learned about this album when I happened upon Mayer’s video blog established to document the recording sessions. The first video was a tour of his newly designed and built home recording studio. Do I even need to describe it? Believe me, it’s drool-inducing. Although a couple of the entries were only jams or just a bit weird, I ended up searching YouTube for some of the new songs. As I expected, most were available as live concert performances that someone videotaped and uploaded. I listened to a couple, including “Who Says,” and I started to get excited about this release.
I have a general rule against hearing too much of an album before it comes out. After all, it’s more than half the fun of buying a new album to be able to get in the car, put it on the CD player, and discover the music for the first time. Sometimes this is an exciting, expectation-defying journey (a la last week’s Echo & the Bunnymen album The Fountain). Other times, it can be just as disappointing an experience as one can have (i.e. U2’s No Line on the Horizon deluxe edition CD).
I should also comment on my recent opinion of Mayer.
As I wrote in my review of Where the Light Is, I am a big fan of Mayer’s first three releases — the independently released EP Inside Wants Out, his debut Room For Squares, and his follow-up Heavier Things. And yet, just as he gained “credibility,” I lost interest. Yes, his third album Continuum offers some interesting guitar parts and melodies, but I resented the idea that he needed to become a blues afficionado in order to be accepted by those outside his stereotypical audience of young girls. In my mind, this was a step backward in his songwriting. Did no one notice or appreciate the effort he put into the album design for the first two albums, or the backing vocals in “Your Body is a Wonderland” that echo the chorus lyrics of “My Stupid Mouth”? There was so much care taken with those releases that the minimalism of his last release was disappointing. From the title of Heavier Things alone, one could imply that Mayer was interested in tackling more “important issues” and being taken more seriously.
But, even in Heavier Things, he retained his sense of what was important — interpersonal relations, perspective, ambition, etc. On Continuum, political and social issues apppeared as the subjects for his songs, which always seemed out of place to me.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have an intense sense of loyalty, sometimes to my own detriment. But I had told myself I wouldn’t buy future Mayer releases to spare myself further disappointment, as I did with Where the Light Is. That being said, I can’t deny that this single “Who Says” sounds more to me like the John Mayer that I enjoyed listening to on earlier works. It’s simple, catchy, and tackles the same desires that my favorite John Mayer songs always did — namely, the desire for freedom from personal and social expectations (think: “No Such Thing,” “Not Myself,” “Bigger Than My Body,” and others). I don’t read the reference to marijuana as a literal desire to get high, but rather as a symbol for what society or one’s friends and family members think you shouldn’t do because “it’s not like you.”
So, I’ll give the album a try.
And you better believe there will be a review forthcoming.
Until then, I hope you enjoy my video tonight. I’m not sure what came over me, but I made this one a real production. I tacked on a purposely goofy intro and follow-up documentary that I hope you laugh at — either because it’s funny or because you’re laughing AT me, as long as the result is the same!
And I know that I have other news and ideas on my mind that I wanted to share tonight, but I can’t remember what they are. So, for now, I hope you enjoy this video and hurry back tomorrow for an all-new Jim Fusco Tuesday, then later this week when I post another music review.
To be honest, Marcy Playground is a band I had forgotten about, leaving them behind in a hazy collection of other nineties modern rock one hit wonders.
Out of sheer curiosity, I felt the urge to hear this most recent album from the “Sex and Candy” singer — it was originally slated as a John Wozniak solo project — that I came across on the Newbury Comics new release rack. (It certainly didn’t hurt that the disc came with a free download of their previous album, the aptly titled third release from the band: MP3.)
I didn’t expect much, considering that over a decade had passed since I had heard a song from the band. I always liked “Sex and Candy,” but even in 1997 I knew it was a fairly straightforward track made notable only by its provocative lyrics and Wozniak’s low, unique vocal tones.
What I got was a solid album comprised predominantly of an artist’s exploration of the roots of his music. Throughout Leaving Wonderland…in a fit of rage, Wozniak’s songwriting is simple and the band’s arrangements are as standard as they come.
When I use the term “solid,” I mean that Marcy Playground’s fourth release is comprised of generally enjoyable songs placed in an effective order to not only keep the listener’s attention, but also to contribute to a largely common set of themes.
And, yes, beyond all these qualifications that I am making, there exists the realization that a “solid” album may be listened to and even appreciated, but it is nothing special.
As with their late nineties single, one of the greatest strengths of the album is Wozniak’s signature vocals. Throughout the album, he weaves tales of sorrow, loss, and reconsideration. Whatever “Wonderland” represents for Marcy Playground’s John Wozniak — a relationship or fame to name just a couple possibilities — the exit from said Wonderland is indeed a violent one, soaked in booze and drugs and, at times, literally marked by flames.
“Blackbird,” the opening track and the first US single, sets the tone for what is a heavily acoustic record, a notable departure from their previous release. “Irene” and “Memphis” are so acoustic and rootsy that they sound as though they were snatched from a decades old country/folk record.
Meanwhile, the album is spiced up by tracks like “Devil Woman” and “Good Times” — the first Canadian single — which are predominantly acoustic, and yet endowed with a heavy beat and a set of catchy vocals.
Of course, the album is not without its electric touches. “I Must Have Been Dreaming” is a clean and catchy cut, but “I Burned the Bed” and “Emperor” are drenched in distortion and lie at the heart of this album, both thematically and musically. “Gin and Money” offers the complete package — opening with a nearly tribal beat, subtle but integral piano, and acoustic fingerpicking before kicking into high gear with a little feedback and a lot of spirited vocals and electric guitar.
Overall, I score this album as a “Maybe Not.” I’m glad I bought it, and I’ve listened to it almost twenty times already. I truly enjoy many of the tracks, and Wozniak has crafted the order to ebb and flow at just the right times.
However, what doesn’t hit home with me is the simplicity of the lyrics — referring to himself directly in “Good Times,” taking the bright and instantly-stuck-in-your-head “Star Baby” and crippling it with cheesiness, and feeding into some middle school-worthy rhymes in “Thank You,” to name a few instances. This is my most significant criticism; even the largely predictable arrangements fit within the larger context of the album.
This is an album about coming to terms with the universal thematic subject matter of love and youth lost, of having to grow up after having lost something to the ravages of time. If you can look past the simplicity of many of the thoughts being conveyed, then this album is worth a listen.
If not, then it might be time for you to go back to the classics — Dylan, Beatles, etc. Or at least to last year’s Counting Crows album.
Hello and welcome to the second installment of a double header here at the Laptop Sessions, two sessions in honor of Marcy Playground singles, both past and present. Tonight I’m standing in for Jim, who’s away for one more week on his honeymoon. I can only imagine what kinds of photos and songs he’ll bring back with him from his exotic — yet domestic — locale for next week’s Jim Fusco Tuesday. Don’t miss it!
My cover song music video tonight is from Marcy Playground’s latest album, Leaving Wonderland… in a fit of rage, just released last month. “Good Times” is a song about accepting whatever difficulty or hardship you may face and moving on from there. He invokes the classic phrases, “It’s all right” and “This too shall pass,” and although the lyrics are extremely simple, “Good Times” has a Jack Johnson-esque feel-good vibe to it and I enjoyed playing it.
My one hesitation in endorsing this as a great track is that lead singer John Wozniak refers to himself twice in the song. (I tried inserting my name into my version, but it just didn’t feel right…) In the first bridge, he refers to himself both as “Woz” and “John.” Initially, this was distracting for me. Then I realized, after playing it over and over again before recording my session today, that his personal reference works in the context of the song as a whole. In the first half of the song, he’s essentially singing a song about and for himself. By the end of the song, however, he refers much more generally and universally, inviting all people to join him in appreciating the “good times” and dealing positively with the bad.
Right about now, I think all three core members of the Laptop Sessions are enjoying the good times. After all, Jim is on his honeymoon and Jeff and I are on summer break from school. Sure, life is always going to be busy for guys like ourselves who are constantly working and writing and playing, but that only makes our leisure time all the more enjoyable and relaxing.
Speaking of free time, I’m off to do laundry and vacuum!
Seriously, though, I hope you’ll come back soon for all-new sessions, starting with Jeff’s “Thumpin’ Thursday.” As for me, I’m picking up some real creative steam now that the moving process is complete and the summer is in full swing. I’m working on finishing my third poetry book (FINALLY!), a couple novels (which translates to a lot of writing, jumping back and forth, and thus a very slow process), and songwriting for my next album (I’ve written eight songs in the past three weeks that I’m very proud of — I think some of these are the best songs I’ve ever written, and I’m anxious to find a way to translate them to tape or, in this day and age, to computer).
This all adds up to some great new updates by the fall and some new Original Wednesdays for me in the near future. For now, though, if you’re interested in hearing what my new material sounds like, you can check out a file that I “tweeted” a few weeks ago: CLICK HERE. The song is called “Work Time, Get In Line,” and it’s a taste of what it sounds like when I tinker around with GarageBand, my MacBook’s built-in mic, and my Fender acoustic guitar.