Single of the Month - "Strut"
From Branches Breaking from the Weight
Similar to Loving Every Other Minute of It, I will write up some notes every month on the “Single of the Month” from my newest album Branches Breaking from the Weight. Start at the beginning of the series here.
Nonsensical songs make the most sense to me.
Which brings me to “Strut.”
Every month during the making of Branches Breaking from the Weight, I wrote lyrics to one of Bret and Kevin’s “hunks,” or pieces of music. I started the lyrics of many of the songs with the best line I’d jotted down sometime during the month before. I keep a yellow pad on my desk in case I’m struck with an idea. When I come up with something, usually something funny, I jot it down and wait until it’s time to write lyrics.
Once I got the music for “Strut,” I needed a lyrical jumping-off point, so I looked at my notebook for the past month, and out popped this line:
“Let’s not forget the words of father Gene, who said ‘Strutter.’”
This is a stupid, slightly blasphemous line that treats Gene Simmons as some kind of prophet. To clarify, Gene co-wrote the KISS song “Strutter,” and I thought it was funny to suggest that something clearly as un-profound as the song title “Strutter”—or for that matter, “Strutter”—was worth sanctifying in this way.
By the time I fired up Bret and Kevin’s hunk and took a pass at putting the line in the song, it mutated to:
“Let’s not forget the words of father Gene who said forgive them for they know not how to strut.”
So, I brought in a half line from the Gospel of Matthew, which happens to be one of my favorite lines in the Bible, and this further turned up the religious aspect of the piece. There’s quite a bit of religious imagery on the album, for some reason.
Who “knows not how to strut,” and why would anyone be concerned with people not knowing how to strut? I suppose it’s easy to draw some comparison between our current, tech-filled age and the 1970s, when Simmons was lording over concert stages and John Travolta was strutting across movie screens. I remember when people used to have this certain quality known as strutting, and I look back on that time fondly. I was in grade school, no doubt strutting in my Tough Skins, happily drowning in the pop culture of the day. Music and television and movies all provided exciting messages from a not-too-distant, cooler world, and I reveled in it. Strut, baby.
The rest of the song—when it’s not being nonsensical—plays with this idea that times are changing, and as time changes, it’s tempting to want to abandon the whole process and fall off the map. I imagine everybody reading this post grumbles about these things. Those good feelings for the world as it used to be come back here and there for me (thanks, YouTube), reminding me how cool our species can be, and sometimes still is. If the strut era ever fades entirely, we’ll always have our memories. How could be forget?
Help support our album-making habit by purchasing “Strut” and nine other songs at Bandcamp or iTunes. It’s cheap, it the way to show you appreciate this and all of my content, and I bet you won’t regret having the music.
Also, see the Single of the Month performed from the comfort of your home at my once-a-month Bandcamp acoustic concert series Budapalooza, which falls this time on July 1st at 5 PM PST. RSVP!