Track By Track: Craig Bartock - U

By John A. Wilcox

Craig Bartock's got you covered right out of the gate! Take it away Craig: U was more of a left turn for me. It's very much a theme based CD that draws upon past influences in my life as a vehicle to get the point across. It also makes for a very warm, familiar sounding collection. My last CD, The Finer Points Of Instinct, was much darker in nature. It tended to focus more on the angst and negativity we all feel at various times in our lives as opposed to U which looks more at a "what can be if we just open our eyes" view of things. The name "U" basically says it all. It's you � or at least what you can be if you're ready to go there. As I describe the individual songs, I'll explain the influences that got me to the point of doing this project. One important thing about this CD is that I wanted to go back to a time in music when songs were just more than an A-B type of structure � back when there was a verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge and even a solo within one song. Those days are mostly gone with the possible exception of various types of country music. It's a shame too because a good bridge can take the listener to another place for a moment and then come right back and remind them of what they liked about the song in the first place .... and all within a matter of seconds. It appears that people just don't have the time or attention span like they used to. Or at least that's what the music business seems to think these days. It's important to note that I pretty much limited myself to the instruments available at the time when these influences were in full-swing. It was a very analog world back then and I kept it to that as much as possible throughout the entire CD.
So here's the lineup �verse, chorus, bridge and all...

Track 1: The Weight Of The World
CB:This was the first song that came to me and inspired this collection. I actually wrote it in the car on the way home from the airport. It's about a 40 minute drive for me and by the time I had gotten home, it was pretty much finished. It draws heavily upon early to mid 80s pop songs � fully structured and synth heavy �� and a guitar solo as well. The weight of the world is always on your mind, telling you what's good for you. But you don't have to listen.

Track 2: When The War Is Over
CB:This is the isolation we all feel when any type of relationship goes south. The words that aren't said. The innuendo and unintentional (or intentional) hurt inflicted. Negative, yes but in that "bridge world" I was describing earlier comes the positive. Follow that path and you'll find tomorrow. This song was influenced by interestingly enough Gilbert O'Sullivan. I rediscovered his first 2 solo CDs a couple of years ago and found the voice for this song there.

Track 3: Faith And A Broken Heart
CB:Mid to late 70s in nature, this is a pop/R&B blend. It also seemed like the right song to follow When The War Is Over since it's also relationship based. The influences are Stevie Wonder meets Todd Rundgren here �� Moog synth bass, early drum machines, phase-shifted keyboards, etc. This is what we believe a relationship is supposed to be as opposed to what it often turns out to be.

Track 4: You Are Just Who You Are
CB:A fairly autobiographical song on the surface which has a deeper message. I do indeed write left-handed and was pretty rotten at throwing a ball growing up. But in the end, we are just who we are and it's better to accept it before it really starts fucking with your head. The Stevie influences are in full swing here. Innervisions was always one of my favorite albums.

Track 5: People Have To Be So Cruel
CB:That wonderful Philly sound �.. Gamble and Huff, The Chi Lites, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Music that I hold very dear to my heart. This was the total influence here. The lyrics are more Finer Points than U, but after watching the news and the over-abundance of reality shows, I just had to go there one more time.

Track 6: Your Revolution
CB:70's synth pop again. It's the weight of the word and you can stand up to it �. it just takes your own revolution to make it happen. This has all of the options � verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge and solo with 70's drum machines and synths.

Track 7: Waiting For You
CB:This is somewhere between a ballad and mid tempo pop radio friendly early 80's song. It feels at first like it could go dark, but the true message reveals itself in the chorus. Everything is waiting for you � it's just up to you to take it.

Track 8: Give Me A Reason
CB:A questioning song which is heavily inspired by Brian Wilson. I still to this day feel that Pet Sounds is the best album ever made and I find with the lyrics it has waaaaaay more questions than answers. Give Me A Reason is an extension of that. It definitely gets to the chorus faster than most of the other songs mainly because I left out the B section but that "let's go someplace different" bridge is definitely intact.

Track 9: I'm Not Standing Down
CB:70's rock ala Todd Rungdren or even Hall and Oates before they rediscovered their pop / R&B Philly roots again. Real drums as opposed to a drum machine and guitar based, but there's still a heavy synth influence here. The message is simple �. don't let shit push you around.

Track 10: So Many Things / Just Some Other Song
CB:These are actually two completely different songs but I crossfaded them into each other and treated it as one because I wanted the message to stay intact and I also didn't want anyone downloading it to have to pay for an additional track. So Many Things is the bookend to Weight Of The World. It's more adventurous in nature, but they could've been off of the same early 80's synth pop album. Same production, same instruments, same message �. just a bit more of a question hanging out there. There's so many things we could've done and that we need to do in life. Not positive nor negative �. just a statement. Just Some Other Song is actually an interesting close to the CD. People read into songs and see themselves. We all make songs fit our lives and what we're going through at the time. But perhaps to the writer, it's just some other song that has nothing to do with what the listener is thinking. That can be a wonderful thing, but��.. the message is clear. Don't lose yourself in the song or the artist to the point where you don't know who you are. The artist is never as important at you. The song is never as important as you.


Table Of Contents