Recording with Dave Doughman (Swearing at Motorists, and Unwound's live soundman) resulted in the best-sounding Mecca Normal
album yet. For over a year before we met Dave on the Unwound tour, Mecca Normal had been rehearsing these songs. For the first time ever, we
went on tour before recording -- to sharpen things up. This was a decision we made, not
just how it happened to work out. Recording at the end of the tour, with
such an enthusiastic and helpful guy as Dave Doughman, was perfect.
Jean's notes on the songs
1. Is This You?
Are these ambiguous personality traits meant to be insults or compliments? Regardless of individual characteristics, men are frequently perceived as predators. One guitar, no over-dubs.
2. What About The Boy?
An off-kilter story of a boy’s confidence and potential being thwarted. The boy was expected to be an ideal son, but growing up gay and adopted is difficult. His classmates and family react negatively to his homosexuality; he is subjected to manipulation and bullying. One guitar, no over-dubs. Jean on woodblock!
Measuring people’s worth based on their style of political activism can obscure value, and inhibit learning. Jean says, “Tolerance is the basis of understanding.” David says, “Understanding is the basis of tolerance.” Jean plays additional guitar.
4. In January
The characters convey emotions in disturbing non-verbal ‘conversation’. If we think children aren’t affected by adult emotions because they don’t understand the words, take a listen. One guitar, no over-dubs.
5. Every Wrong Word
As an expression of dissatisfaction, love, and encouragement are withheld. For people who are jealous and afraid, another’s success cannot be respected. In conversation, the repetition of a concept is tedious, but in a musical context, once the listener has taken meaning, language turns into sound. One guitar, no over-dubs.
6. I Hear You
David finally speaks; he acknowledges his vital role as listener. One guitar, no over-dubs.
7. Family Swan
In this account of family tension, details trigger memories in some listeners, giving them a new vantage point to view their history from. Specific and personal, the adult does the remembering, as perspective shifts back to the child. Family Swan is powerful and dangerous – anger, pain and funny recollections are allowed to surface. Jean adds single notes on acoustic guitar.
8. No Mind’s Eye
Moving through childhood, a ten year old is frustrated by phrases that once appeased her. Can you remember when such shifts came into focus? Your parents used a variety of methods to control you! One guitar, no over-dubs.
9. Ice Floes Aweigh
The imagination is sometimes the only place where true freedom exists. If it does one good to see their parents disappear on an ice floe, then who is it really hurting? One guitar, no over-dubs.
10. Convince Yourself
In a world where we repeat yesterday rather than risk finding a way to evolve, there is a faint calling of encouragement, to awake from the passive dream, and start what it is you really want to do. Jean plays additional guitar.