Track 5/?: Sally Forth, Acceptance (1996)

Every songwriter has their trump song — the one they pull out when they know it’s time to wow the other songwriters. Before I had Under My Nails, I had this song to fill that function.

Just before I fell into my first, misguided long-term relationship, I had a brief window of opportunity with a really cool girl that I blew my chance every way I had at my avail, and a bunch of songs came out of it, this being for sure the best one. It was my first try that I can remember of doing that throwback style of writing, where you make the hook the last line of each verse instead of having a separate chorus. Like a showtune, or a jazz standard. Lofty goal, but noble effort.

The lag at the beginning of the second verse is definitely not intentional — that is singing Paul trying to cover for the fact that he has no idea when guitaring Paul is going to catch up.


One guitaring (through a chorus pedal? Unless I’m playing it twice and I was that tight back then), two singing. Three channels and the truth!

As a composition, I like this song. It makes some nice changes from those open chords (one in particular that was accidentally intricate is that chord that happens when you play a C# on the fourth fret leaving the E, B, and E strings open Does that make it a C#7? but with an added E on top of what, a… you know what, I can look this up.

E6. Who knew? Anyhow, the funky E6 to the C#m seems like a very intuitive move when you’re playing it, but sounds like a well-trained move. 1994 Paul got lucky with that one. The G9 was more deliberate going into the bridge.

In any case, this song is a total chord-wank, where I moved my fingers until I heard what I wanted, no theory behind it, then wrote the song over the top of it. Sam Flesher made the mistake of letting me in on the fact that it was actually pretty advanced for my station in writing at the time, and started taking me to Calliope songwriter circle nights on its merit. (I think this was actually the first song I played for Sam, in response to his demand, on the street, on the SIDEWALK, as a complete STRANGER, that I take my guitar out and play him something. God I miss him.)

I think it’s mainly on this tape because this is my first tape, Stone Soup didn’t care for it (it had been rejected two rounds in a row), and I felt like it deserved a life. That’s OK.

I think this song was called Acceptance both because Gar seemed to be naming songs in this way where the title could be the chapter mark on a life’s story and I thought titles like Invocation and Reconciliation would line up nicely with Acceptance. We never talked about concept albums in any serious way, but I liked the idea that someday he’d look at a track list and go, “Oh hey! Neat.”

2014 me would gut this bridge. Pretty much any night-to-light ratio lyrics, I try to stay away from. Women aren’t lightbulbs, and learning that putting them on pedestals wasn’t the same thing as respecting them was a lesson that took me some time to grasp. Still, as a dissection of why I was hung up on her, I like that I liked her for being strong and interesting as much as I dug how she looked like the Baroness from GIJoe. The verses and concept are as solid as I think they could have been, but I think even back then I could have worked on the bridge a bit more. The bridge is now the opportunity I take to get deeper, and this could have been a wonderful opportunity for me to justify why it matters that I loved her, or why I totally got that the girl was not gettable. Ugh. I was seriously the worst.

The twee thing from yesterday applies here, too, but back then I was hanging out with Calliope people quite a bit, learning to stand and deliver from the Curts, Sams, and Ricks. I sound like a young man singing like old men, maybe?

I hope you guys are enjoying this! Tomorrow: Things get brutal as I realize that 1996 Paul was in fact SUCH A PIG.

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