Face the Music: Every Word Counts in Annie Gallup’s “Oh Everything”
Singer-songwriter Annie Gallup certainly has a sense of words. Last year when I wrote about her album “Bookish”, I could barely contain myself. I had no idea I was going to double that feeling with the release of his 13th solo album “Oh Everything”, which came out a few weeks ago.
From the opening lines of the first track, “Magic Saved Me,” Gallup’s highly descriptive writing takes center stage. “George blows smoke rings towards the ceiling / Jonathan still rages in the world / Marianne can’t hide her feelings / I’m the missing girl.” Pure poetry.
His songs are like vignettes that we stand in the shadows and that we bear witness to. And she sings them in a clear, delicate voice that allows the listener not to miss a word. And with Gallup, every word counts.
I will also highlight the female character in “Who Hurt You”.
“Her favorite shape is the triangle / How else to explain this smoky thing she does through lowered eyelashes when she’s with my lover?” She doesn’t even want him / But she has to prove that she is everyone’s lover’s secret passion.
And here’s one more. In “A Long Way to Go”, Gallup stages a specific scene. “Late nights in someone’s smoky kitchen / I was wearing his black beret / Lost sleep was our drug of choice / We drank coffee and stayed awake for days.”
After listening to “Oh Everything” about six times, I asked the Rockland-based musician several questions about her songwriting process, some specific songs and more.
Gallup told me that her process is mysterious and that she is always working on more than one idea.
“It starts with something, which can be anything, but it’s often a phrase with an inherent contradiction, and the process is different for every song to a point,” she said.
Once the song has some momentum, especially a melody, Gallup is unable to focus on anything else while she hears it in her head and works out changes and moves the story forward. When she is in this free space, she cannot be interrupted for anything, including sleep.
“It can make it difficult for me to be there. When I stop obsessing about it, I know the song is over, ”Gallup said.
I asked him about the track “Sleeplessness”, which tells a story of bittersweet regrets and which is my favorite at the moment. The song mentions dancing to music by Johnny Mercer. Mercer co-founded Capitol Records and wrote classic songs like “Moon River”, “Hoorah For Hollywood” and “Days of Wine and Roses”. Gallup wrote endless amounts of drafts and briefly toyed with Frank Sinatra’s name, but landed on his initial choice of Mercer.
“It was the song that played in a special memory that is in the collage of the song, which was written almost entirely by insomnia,” she explained.
Gallup’s favorite track is “Little Theater”.
“It bypassed my brain about to talk about everything and surprised me,” Gallup said. The idea for the song started with the opening line: “In our adaptation of Le Petit Théâtre, the tragic ending has been rewritten.”
“I had this line for months not knowing what to rhyme with ‘rewritten’,” she said. Kitten, hit and bitten did not do the trick. Gallup then thought of Great Britain. “The references to Shakespeare King Lear opened up the story as if they had been there from the start.”
Gallup decided that the song “I Dreamed” would be in lyrics because it was struggling to find a melody. She recorded the words spoken to a metronome and sent them to synth player Harvey Jones who wrote and recorded the music.
“When I heard the soundscape he had created, I said, ‘That’s exactly what I meant! Now people will understand what I’m trying to say! ‘ And Gallup says a lot, “The first time it snowed I killed a buffalo and climbed inside while the body was still hot / hadn’t discovered the fire yet.” I ate the muscle in the bones, but I kept the skin around me. It was a revelation. “
Gallup said her husband Peter Galway has known Jones for decades, dating back to his days in Manhattan, where Jones still lives. They collaborated on a recording project a few years ago, and Gallup quickly understood what she described as Jones’ “vast palette and imagination” and that he “knows how to make a synthesizer worthy.” .
Jones plays synths, piano, clavinet, beat box, saw and triangle on the album. He also takes care of the arrangement for cello on two tracks. “He’s the most spiritual instrumentalist I’ve ever worked with. Defenseless, a great collaborator. Ingenious. Experimented. It is a stroke of luck that the confinement has put him out of work and that he is available. He is fearless and brilliant.
“Oh Everything” ends with “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Punk”, which was inspired by “Moon Song” by Phoebe Bridgers, although a line from it – “We Hate” Tears in Heaven ” , but it’s sad that her baby is dead ”- made her nervous. Gallup was curious, so she went Google to see if anyone had a similar reaction and quickly found out that Bridgers had called Eric’s music. Clapton of “mediocre” and had also called him on Twitter for his 1976. racist rant.
“Her boldness, complexity and irreverence made my head spin, and she was absolutely right about the racist rant. So I took a bite, as in ‘Portrait’ writes, thinking of the parallels between her and young Clapton as top performers with a platform and a knack for provocation.
Here are a few lines from the Gallup song: “What’s the story and what’s the truth? / Where do you stop?” Where does the great machine start? / Legend gives you one more year of radioactive youth / Blame the artist if you have to, but trust the art, trust the art. “
“Oh Everything” will soon be available in Bull Moose stores. It’s now available digitally through Amazon and iTunes, and you’ll find it on streaming platforms. Visit anniegallup.com to see all of his releases.
Eat & Run: Enjoy a panini on a pretzel and gin in your ice cream at D&G