In 2010 – almost 10 years ago now – I was at a sort of crossroads in my life, on the professional, personal and creative fronts.
Feeling completely lost and unsure as to where I was headed, I threw myself deep into exploring music – something I’d always thought I’d pursue seriously as a career. Furiously, in the course of some 9 months, I composed, wrote, arranged, recorded and mixed some 18 songs for an album that I titled THE FACTS OF LIFE.
The album would, on hindsight, capture my emotional state at the time – a bristling bag of emotions: disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness, yearning, uncertainty, heartbreak… but also, joy and wonder at the beauty around me (I was living at Portsdown Road at the time); beauty I finally saw now that I had slowed down.
I made a decision, as it were, towards the end of this period of searching. But because I was young and afraid, I only held on to one part of that decision, which saw me grow on the professional and creative fronts, but remain stunted and frustrated for years on the personal and relationship front, up until very, very recently.
Having made that decision, I stopped work entirely on THE FACTS OF LIFE, packed up, and moved countries. In the 10 years since, I never had the chance to finish the album – or at least take it to a state I was happy with.
So this process of remastering the best tracks from the album and releasing them on DREAM OF A CITY this year is – I now realise – an important process of Closure. Closure of a period in my life that I thought had ended, but has actually remained with me these past 10 years.
Closure is my way of acknowledging that actually I had not, indeed, moved on, as I thought I had. It is also a way of me forgiving myself for my lack of courage then. I am no longer the same person.
Once I am done with remastering this album – i.e. by the end of 2019 – the last word will be inked on that unfinished chapter of my life, and very likely, also, my journey with and on DREAM OF A CITY will come to an end.
Another Kennie will take the place of this one.
* * *
I wrote MASOCHISTIC quite early into the album. It was meant to be the “lead single” to the album because it was the most traditionally “pop” song I had written, structurally, at least.
Lyrically, it was unusual. A friend who listened to the song at the time said that the words were too complicated for this to catch on as a popular number. And I grudgingly agreed.
The song was inspired by the plight of a friend who had fallen in love with a married man, and was, at the time, basically living as his mistress, in an apartment that she had been set up in.
Around that same time, lonely and lost, I also experienced a brief period of unrequited love, and so I decided to put all of this sturm und drang into a song about Love and Masochism – specifically how love makes us fool ourselves and make fools of ourselves; how love had the power to turn us all sadists and masochists, torturing ourselves incessantly to an unimaginable extent.
The tone of the song was tongue-in-cheek, somewhat ironic; I planned on an upbeat dance-rock number. But it was by no means a happy song. It galloped along furiously, with the (thumping, insistent) force of a revolution, towards a sort of ecstatic, climactic hysteria.
Suffused with a kind of disappointment and yearning that came straight from the gut, it remains, perhaps the most outwardly “angsty “song I wrote on the album.
On hindsight, I really don’t know how I could’ve thought this would be “lead single” worthy. Sometimes, like the protagonist of MASOCHISTIC, we fool ourselves.
In any case, enjoy.
Once again, this is a demo, and so I insist that it is listened to ONLY with earphones on. It is not properly mastered for speakers.
You told me, you loved him / You said he was the one / He’s perfect, a Greek God / Sports car and huge trust fund / He fills you in more ways / Than you could [wink wink] say / You’ve bought sheets and new plates / You think he’s here to stay.
But then… you tell me that he’s married / And you’re simply dying! / And… he’ll never leave them for you / And you’re afraid to ask!
CHORUS: Why are we bent on being masochistic? / Wanting something we just can’t have? / Craving this sad, sadistic torture / We bring upon ourselves? / Why are we bent on being masochistic? / Building castles with broken glass? / Choosing battles that we can’t win / Just to feel alive?
I told you, I liked him / He’s smart and so much fun. / Deep-set eyes, that wry grin / He’s totally Number One! / He makes things, they’re awesome. / He says I have talent too. / We’ve so much in common. / He’s almost a dream come true.
‘Cos then… he has his little mood swings / And he doesn’t call me. / And… I simply won’t be asked to / Call him back!
But still… we keep on making these whips / That we use on ourselves. / ‘Cos… we have an inner voice that / Tells us DON’T STOP NOW!!!
You told me, you loved him…
© 2010 / 2019 Kennie Ting. All Rights Reserved.