Sunday, January 27, 2013

Song #322 of 9999 - Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard by Frank & Jeff

Song #322 of 9999 

Title: Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard
Artist: Frank & Jeff
Year: 2013
Album: Beck's Song Reader, Songs 1-10

So.....have you heard the new Beck album? Probably not! Because Beck decided to do something very unorthodox and release his latest collections of songs as sheet music only. Published lovingly by McSweeney's, Beck's Song Reader is a beautifully crafted collection of twenty new songs intended to be interpreted and performed by amateur musicians the world over. (If you'd like to know more about Beck's experiment, check out the Song Reader website.)

Over the Christmas break, I visited my good friend Jeff Fal of Add Music in Denver, CO. A brief discussion one night led to the topic of Beck's experiment, spontaneously prompting us to hit a local bookstore with the intent of buying Song Reader and recording it in its entirety over the next two days. Very quickly, we realized twenty songs in two days was impossible and set our sights on recording the first ten songs.

Tonight, I'm sharing the first of ten songs Jeff and I recorded across 36 hours on December 27-28, 2012. Since then, the songs have been enhanced with additional edits and expertly mixed by Mr. Fal. But the initial recording session was exhilarating and so incredibly gratifying. For two days, we were sharply focused on making music and, while the work felt demanding at the time, it now seems effortless in retrospect. We followed some pretty basic rules: 1) both of us had to be involved in the performance of every track; 2) we would share the lead vocals as evenly as possible; 3) we would stay true to what Beck put on the page in terms of rhythm, harmony, meter and song structure. At one point, when it didn't look like we were going to get through all ten songs, our friend Jake showed up and played bass on several tunes, allowing us to move quickly through a couple of the tracks. Through it all, Leah kept us well-fed and offered encouragement when we needed it most. It was probably the most fun I've ever had making a record.

So tonight I give you the first song in Beck's collection, "Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard," which features me on lead vocals and bass and Jeff on guitar, synthesizer and drums. There's not much to say about this slice of indie pop and I've already written a lot tonight. Come back tomorrow for more!

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