About the Song — “The Best We Can Do”

I’ve decided to write notes describing each of the tracks on Loving Every Other Minute of It. I’ll publish one of these pieces per month until I touch on all ten tracks. Start at the beginning of the series here.

There are two songs left to touch on in this series, and they’re the last two songs on Loving Every Other Minute of It.

The reason they’ve been left for last is because these two songs appear in some form in my fourth novel 19 Ways to Destroy Your Rock Band. The plan was to release the novel by the end of this year, and talking about these two tracks struck me as a good segue from marketing the album to marketing the novel.

Unfortunately, about a month ago, I found myself face to face with some of the tedious and expensive aspects of self-publishing, and I just plain couldn’t do it. Publishing the book felt wrong somehow. I didn’t want to do it, and I felt I shouldn’t be forcing the novel into the world right now if I didn’t want to do it.

So, as of this moment, I don’t foresee 19 Ways to Destroy Your Rock Band coming out in 2021. I really needed to have been on top of it by now, and I haven’t been. I’m very sorry to have led you down that path, but that’s where we are. I’ll sort through my issues with the novel’s publication and give you an update next month when I do the last “About the Song” for the album.

Still, “The Best We Can Do” is one of my favorite tracks on Loving Every Other Minute of It, and I want to talk about it.

As I was writing songs for the album, I found myself frequently repurposing older created elements to jumpstart the process. I’d just finished a novel I’d been working on for years that had a fictional band, and that fictional band had songs — or at least the lyrics for songs. A truncated version of “The Best We Can Do” appears very late in 19 Ways to Destroy Your Rock Band. The song’s essentially about two bandmates who have been playing music with each other for a while, and they’re both ready to move on. They’re playing one last song together, making the line from the chorus, “my way out’s a half-song away,” particularly poignant. The following stanza hits on this issue as well:

If I gave two shits,
I’d be back in the van,
Off to a gig
And milkin’ the band.

The version of “The Best We Can Do” for Loving Every Other Minute of It needed more lyrics than the novel version, so I pulled from aspects of my current life to fill it out. The weirdest lines occur in the first bridge:

Where are we gonna go?
And who are we gonna know?
And what’s with this fucking crow?
Can we kill it? Is it legal?

The first part of the above stanza deals with the two characters of the novel, who face an uncertain life away from each other after they finish playing the song. They’re naturally scared about what the future holds and what life will be like without the other around.

So, what’s all this about crow killing?

My only defense is that Portland — at the time of writing this song as well as today — has a really bad crow problem. They’re everywhere, and as much as I like to think I’m a live-and-let-live kind of guy, I can get annoyed when a crow sits by my office window and caws over and over again. It’s possible that I’ve fantasized about making one or two crows no more.

There, I admitted it. I’ve wanted to kill a crow or two in my life, and at times I’ve wished I still had my childhood bb gun on hand to finish the deal.

Despite the violence in the line, I thought it was kind of funny, and I liked how raw it was, how I wasn’t hiding from uncomfortable feelings I’d had. Still, with this murderous addition, I felt the song careening toward a darker place, which prompted one of my favorite couplets on the album:

One of these days, and hopefully soon,
I’m gonna get my wings and I’ll fly like an eagle.

I’d brought the tune back to the two musicians who after a long haul together were finally getting rid of each other and reveling in their anticipated freedom. So, it’s all good. Everyone is happy, and no crows were killed.

If you’d like to support my future music ventures, pick up “The Best We Can Do” and nine others at bandcamp as a digital download or at my website as a CD or on limited-edition vinyl.

Laying down the law,

Art

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Art Edwards is a cofounder of the Refreshments. His latest solo album, Loving Every Other Minute of It, came out in 2020, his latest novel, Badge, in 2014.

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Art Edwards

Art Edwards

Art Edwards is a cofounder of the Refreshments. His latest solo album, Loving Every Other Minute of It, came out in 2020, his latest novel, Badge, in 2014.

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