#110 – “I Can’t Hide From My Mind” (2004)

The Spine
[audio http://www.tmbg.com/_media/_pod/TMBGPodcast34A.mp3]

[“I Can’t Hide From My Mind” begins 4 minutes, 19 seconds into podcast.]

L.K.: It’s kind of a minor song but we still need to radiate the Flans-love today… and all other days, really.

A.S.: Yes, happy Flanso de Mayo, everyone!
L.K.: You drank Mint Juleps and Mexican beer yesterday… I am not sure what the official Flanso de Mayo drink is. Probably something really girly.
A.S.: Probably.
L.K.: But anyway, hey, another Spine song today!
A.S.: Yes, a very underrated one! See, normally I dislike using words like “overrated” and “underrated” but the nice thing is that the wiki song rankings can actually help to justify those statements!
L.K.: Of course the problem there is that those are prone to change, especially among songs with very few rankings.
A.S.: True, but most of the studio songs have enough votes to give us an idea how people feel about any given song in relation to every other song.
L.K.: In a vague but still quantifiable way, yes.
A.S.: Exactly.
L.K.: Hey, this was the song we saw Flans performing for Dial-A-Song in Gigantic, right?
A.S.: Yep. Pretty neat moment in the film, especially since it wouldn’t see a proper studio release until a couple of years down the road. Also speaking of that Dial-A-Song version, if you listen to that and immediately follow it with the studio version, it sounds pretty cool, like the DAS version is a prelude or something.  If you have nothing better to do with the next three and a half minutes of your life, go give it a listen.
L.K.: I feel like the final version didn’t necessarily live up to the promise of the demo though.
A.S.: How so?
L.K.: I don’t know, from the little snippet of it in Gigantic, it seemed like it could be interesting, but I think the final version would up being too weirdly… mellow? I don’t even know what the word I’m looking for here is. Just the feel & production & instrumentation of the final recording seems a little on the lifeless side.
A.S.: I feel like the song’s instrumentation could have been a bit more interesting, but there’s also something about keeping it at only the band with nothing really extraneous that works for the song, especially as an album closer.
L.K.: It’s not that it’s slow and quiet, but I think the drums on it seem kind of out of place.
A.S.: I think the drums work better at the end more than anywhere else.
L.K.: Not that there are drums, just the style of drumming. I am terrible at articulating anything about the somewhat disappointing aspects of this song.
A.S.: Yeah, I dunno, I don’t find anything particularly disappointing about it. There’s a nice build throughout and it ends strongly, but not at all overdone. With regard to it being an album closer, I’ll say that TMBG aren’t terribly consistent with what sort of mood they like to end albums with (compare this song to say “The Mesopotamians” or “The Bells Are Ringing” and you have two different ways of closing out an album). I feel like this kind of harkens back to “Road Movie to Berlin” in terms of ending things slowly, leaving a kind of open ending to the record.
L.K.: Yeah, I will agree that TMBG’s album closers have been pretty inconsistent. “The Mesopotamians” is probably the worst.
A.S.: Oh, we’ll have a day with that song someday.
L.K.: “Road Movie”, “Kiss Me Son Of God”, even “You Don’t Like Me”, they’ve frequently tended towards slower or quieter songs as a way of closing out an album. There’s a weird sort of sad quality about this song and a lot of those songs too.
A.S.: Certainly.
L.K.: I mean, I guess you could theoretically end an album with a totally rockin’ number, but it’s just a lot harder. “Rhythm Section Want Ad” from the first album feels like it could’ve been at home anywhere on that album, really.
A.S.: That definitely fits at the end too – “End of the Tour” is a pretty obvious album closer, really in between the two extremes – rockin’ but sad. There are many ways to close an album; I think “I Can’t Hide From My Mind” is a fine, fine way.
L.K.: I just don’t think it does enough to distinguish itself out of the context of the album, but I am probably just being too hard on it. All songs can’t be “End of the Tour”.
A.S.: This song also reminds me in a number of ways, and also perhaps because we just discussed it recently, of “Extra Savoir-Faire” Both songs take leisurely paces, they’re both written by Flansburgh, and they both get a bit of an undeserved bad rep. I guess where “Extra Savoir-Faire” has a more interesting arrangement, “I Can’t Hide” has a bit of a more interesting structure. But again, I’m probably just making this comparison since “Extra Savoir-Faire” is still fresh in my memory.
L.K.: Both songs’ main sins are the fact that they just aren’t as memorable compared to other songs on the album they’re from.
A.S.: Yeah, I suppose so. Standing alone, they work very well though. Reading the lyrics again, “I Can’t Hide” is pretty sad too – nothing terrifically profound but still pretty sad.
L.K.: Good ol’ TMBG, still managing to still be paranoid even in their own minds.
A.S.: Happy birthday, John Flansburgh; here’s to many more years of complete paranoia.

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