#115 – “Sketchy Galore” (2006)
A.S.: Maybe it’s because we haven’t been Song-A-Dayin’ for a couple of days but this song is sounding really good to me today. Like I’m just diggin’ it more than normal.
L.K.: It’s a fun track from the early days of the podcast. I’ve always dug the shifting time signatures.
A.S.: Yeah, I feel like this song was partly the result of Flansburgh saying to himself, “Hey, I don’t write enough songs in weird time signatures – let’s do one in 7/4!”
L.K.: The 7/4 is effective though! I also like how the different elements of the song start to go out of sync with each other at the very, very end of the song.
A.S.: As if the titular character has just finally run out of steam. The arrangement for this one is pretty neat – the combination of the little drum machine tics with the handclaps and foot stomps is unique, and the Rhodes organ sound adds a warmth to the song, possibly begging sympathy for Sketchy Galore.
L.K.: It’s another Flans song with a sort of vague meaning though–I can’t say that I ever got the sense Sketchy was a good person. (EEK!) Sketchy is, well, sketchy. We’re just not sure in what ways. Some listeners seem to have interpreted him as being a drug addict, but I can’t say I got that impression from the lyrics of the song, taken on their own.
A.S.: Perhaps, I mean standing in a hallway frantically looking for something small on the floor with a flashlight… I’ve never thought of him as a drug addict but I can definitely see it now. Either way, Sketchy doesn’t seem to be a bad person, just a tragic one.
L.K.: He could just be crazy though. Again, the song’s narrator really doesn’t know much more about him than we do. I still don’t get the sense he’s a good or even neutral figure though; the first part of the song seems to suggest other people have to pay for his questionable behavior, along with “no one likes Sketchy” slightly later on. This is definitely the sort of song I could envision as possibly being influenced by real life experiences–surely the apartment buildings of New York City have held their share of questionable people freaking out their building-mates.
A.S.: Apartment buildings anywhere, really. I’ve been pretty lucky in not having to deal with that sort of thing personally, but I know an awful lot of folks who have. Hey can I just say that I’m glad the character’s name is “Sketchy Galore” and not “Sketch Galore”? I hate when people use the word “sketch” as an adjective. That’s probably one of my absolute most-loathed words. I’m not entirely sure why but I think it has to do with people’s’ laziness in not wanting to add a simple “-y” at the end of the word.
L.K.: Flans doesn’t seem the type to use “sketch” as an adjective. It seems a very affected sort of thing to do. Nobody naturally says that. I am not a fan of it as an adjective but since the advent of Tumblr, I have found so many other words that I hate so much more–”feels/feelings” chief among them.
I mean, Flansburgh does often try to use youthful colloquialisms, but uh… he probably shouldn’t
. Hopefully “feels” won’t catch his ear anytime soon.
L.K.: He seems pretty oblivious to most things teenagers say online, and for that we can all be thankful.