Liner Notes & Lyrics -Trophy Girl Part 1

Saucy Monky are:
Cynthia Catania: Co-Lead Vocals, Guitars, Wurlitzer, Piano, Various
Annmarie Cullen: Co-Lead Vocals & Guitars
Steve Giles: Bass & Backing Vocals
Megan Jane: Drums & Percussion On  Recordings
Alexa Brinkschulte: Drums On Live Performances
 
Produced by Cynthia Catania
Mixed by Cynthia Catania & Michael James
 
All songs written by Cynthia Catania (SESAC) & Annmarie Cullen (SESAC/Imro) & Published by olivoiL music (SESAC) & Rathdown Park Music (SESAC).
 
Awkward
Bass – Steve Giles
Drums – Megan Jane
Guitars – Cynthia Catania & Annmarie Cullen
Lead Vocals – Cynthia Catania
Lead Breakdown Vocals – Annmarie Cullen
Wurlitzer, Organ – Cynthia Catania
Background Vocals – Cynthia Catania & Annmarie Cullen
 
Slow Lane
Bass – Steve Giles
Cajon & Additional Percussion – Megan Jane
Guitars – Annmarie Cullen
Lead Vocals – Annmarie Cullen
Bridge Lead Vocals – Cynthia Catania
Background Vocals –  Cynthia Catania & Steve Giles
Ebow, Wurlitzer, Piano, Accordion, Loops & FX – Cynthia Catania
Background Vox – Cynthia Catania
 
Ghosts
Bass – Steve Giles
Drums – Megan Jane
Guitars – Cynthia Catania & Annmarie Cullen
Lead Vocals – Cynthia Catania
Background Vocals – Jimmy Gnecco, Cynthia Catania & Annmarie Cullen
Piano, Wurlitzer, Accordion, Toy Piano, Loops & FX – Cynthia Catania
 
AWKWARD
Awkward, walk into the room it’s so awkward
Trophy girl with you, it’s too awkward
Like being back in school it’s so awkward, nails on chalk board
Stupid, open up my mouth and sound stupid
Choke on the small talk it’s so useless
Steal your bow and arrow kill cupid, just kill cupid
AAH OOOH…
Every word out of my mouth falls short, heads south
Cabernet all on my dress, nervous jokes no-one gets
Awkward, feel my stomach sink it’s too awkward 
Tears on the brink, walking backwards
Resist the urge to mix with your exes, no drunk texting!
AAH OOOH…
Every word out of my mouth falls short, heads south
Triggers been shot from your hip, hold my tongue, bite my lip
AAH OOOH…
It’s all the same it’s never gonna change, let go
Awkward, Trophy Girl with you it’s too awkward, awkward AWKWARD
AAH OOH…
Take me home, take off my dress… prolong this mess
 
SLOW LANE
Slay me, come on get your hammer now and nail me
Be the cause and cure for all that ails me
Coz I just need distraction tonight, and all the time
Fake it, I’ll pretend you’re not pretending, I can take it
My heart’s already broken, you won’t break it
So give me some distraction tonight, turn down the lights
It’s like I dance on my grave, I’m romancing the blade
And I’m driving 95 in the slow lane
It’s like a drink the insane, when I’m thirsty for change
And I’m driving 95 in the slow lane
Dot dot dot…the doctor… be be be the doctor
Thrill me, and I don’t care if in the process you kill me
I’m already half dead so now fill me
With your poison make me feel alive, kamikaze style
It’s like I dance on my grave, I’m romancing the blade
And I’m driving 95 in the slow lane
It’s like a drink the insane, when I’m thirsty for pain
And I’m driving 95 in the slow lane
Dot dot dot…the doctor…be be bethe doctor
Who we pretend to be, to ourselves, to each other
What are we willing to see? The mirror falls, we mourn the dream
I’m driving 95, I’m driving 95, romancing the blade, so thirsty for change
Driving 95 in your slow lane.
 
GHOSTS
Pick your battles he said, pick them carefully, don’t climb a mountain when you can walk gingerly
Pick your friends for keeps, pick your lovers for less, isn’t it remarkable how messy it gets?
It’s a long way back, a long way back, a long way back, since we were close, the past becomes a ghost
Queen of  disappointment, hangs her head down low, feeling sorry for herself, it’s all she knows
Funny how the pain comes like a rush to the head, who wants to be happy when there’s drama instead?
It’s a long way back, a long way back, a long way back, since we were close, the past becomes a ghost
See the coast in the pouring rain, see New Jersey slipping away, foreign girls float away, the ghost of yesterday
It’s a long way back, a long way back, a long way back, since we were close, the past becomes a ghost
 
The Story Behind  the Writing & Recording of Awkward, by Cynthia Catania.I remember the afternoon Annmarie brought “Awkward” to our writing session.  It had a pretty wonderful, immediate hook.  We were very excited about the idea, and spent some time flushing out the lyrics to make them as poignant and descriptive as possible.  The story was something I could really connect with, as many people can.  The awkwardness of running into an ex at a party, she’s with someone new & hot; you’re dying inside, covering up your awkwardness with bad jokes,  drinking to quell painful feelings, pining– yup, been there, done that.  We wrote the bridge section over skype, which was a first.  I was at my antique piano in Atwater Village, and Annmarie was on her acoustic guitar in West Hollywood.

The original rhythms of the song were more rock, and folk based strum patterns.  In our first band rehearsal we experimented with groovier Motown style bass & drum parts.  We ended up simplifying that original rhythm (which only exists now in the bridge breakdown section where Annmarie takes the lead vocal).  Now, the rest of the song is based around the guitar motif, bass line, and off-beat guitar hits. Until the chorus, which builds into indie-rock glory.  Capturing this arrangement on “tape” was a long, experimental process.  We used old WFL drums, antique cymbals and odd, crappy microphones. J  For bass tracking we borrowed a vintage P-bass from a friend.  I recorded & re-recorded the guitars several times.  Trying to find the right delay, tones, keeping things spacious,  yet with more energy & grit in the choruses.  It’s funny bringing songs to life.  Sometimes they’re just wrong until they’re right.  I find that my partnership with Annmarie, Steve and Megan works really well in this regard.  If I lose perspective getting so inside the track and the aesthetics of the arrangement, they often lend fresh ears to help guide me back to the song. That objectivity is an important part of our process.

With this song (and the album in general), we wanted to take special attention and care with our vocals.  Sing the songs with the right amount of attitude and passion.  When stuff is self-produced, one can get lazy about vocal takes.  We worked hard and experimented a lot with our parts. Once again, when it’s right, you can usually tell, straight away.

The Recording & Writing Process Behind Ghostsby Cynthia Catania.

The first song we recorded drums for was Ghosts.  Megan and I experimented with mics, what drums to use, and her parts.  It was the first time I’d taken on every aspect of the recording process, from soup to nuts.  In the past, we rented out studio space & record drums with outsourced engineers.  Having all elements within control was an exciting prospect.  I learned later, through trial & error, that I had no idea how to properly mic drums. 🙂  It’s all in the learning curve.
 The charming drums used on this album were hand picked by an old, talented friend, Marco Giovino.  One of our purchases was this amazing parade snare, circa 1960’s Ludwig – which we used on this track.  I left the calf skin head on my favorite WFL kick drum because we liked the sound of it (even though it makes for temperamental tuning).

As a footnote, There’s an Irish band called BellX1 – and a song of theirs called “Next to You” that was an inspiration for my overall approach to drum tracking.  Giving credit where credit is due…

Megan has a great, natural pocket.  I love her parts on this song.  I also love Steve’s bass line.  Steve is incredibly tasteful and smart with his note choices.  For bass tracking, we used a vintage Kay (also acquired on Ebay years before, with the help of my friend and first recording mentor, Tad Wadhams).

The guitars and twiddly bits are a combination of electrics and acoustics – with an antique 1900’s Kranich & Bach piano thrown in for good measure (which I’ve since dragged to 3 different living spaces).

Annmarie recorded a really great 3 note motif throughout the song, using her old blue-no-name-Kay, which has since been stolen. ☹
 We had one guest vocalist on this EP, and that was my friend and vocalist extraordinaire, Jimmy Gnecco.  Jimmy sang backgrounds during the choruses, and the clever ghost-like melody during the bridge.

This song was written a few years beforehand, initially for my solo project.  What often happens in Saucy Monky is the best songs end up in our band repertoire.  We often doctor each other’s ideas – and that’s exactly what Annmarie did with this song.  Replacing the original bridge with something new, exciting & relevant.  That’s why I think our writing chemistry is so good.  We seem to be able to consistently improve each other’s work.

 Singing this song came somewhat naturally.  I’ve always had a bit of soul styling in my singing approach.  Being in an Indie rock band – there’s not always space for that vibe.  I’m delighted this track ended up on the album, with this particular flavor.

Oh, one other foot note – I was quite inspired by Ani Difranco’s album Reprieve.  The production approach to her material had a direct influence on my approach to Ghosts.  Especially when the off-beat loop kicks in at the top of the bridge.  Also the overall sparseness of that CD, influenced my desire to keep things clean, simple & spacious in this song.  I love when other artists’ music inspires & seeps into our work.  It makes me feel connected to them, in that “grand scheme of things” kind of way.