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My Midnight

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Steve Wynn

Release Date: 1999
Album Notes:

*** Physical CD temporarily out of stock ***

Steve Wynn describes it as a "once in a lifetime session. A rare situation where the best players convene on the right material in the right setting at the right time".

For five days last November Steve set up camp at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey with guitarist Chris Brokaw (Come, Codeine, Pullman), bass guitarist Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu, They Might Be Giants, Bob Mould), keyboardist Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs, Ronnie Spector) and drummer Linda Pitmon (Zuzu's Petals) and along with cooking tremendous meals for each other, watching late-night movies and trading tales from their various storied pasts the crew found time to lay down the 11 new tracks that became 'My Midnight.'

Co-producing the album with Steve Wynn was John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr, Patti Smith) who also was at the helm for Wynn's last album "Sweetness and Light".

"We literally lived at the studio" says Wynn. "Water Music has apartments right next door and there wasn't much in the way of food or nightlife in the neighborhood so we were all pretty much anchored to the music and to each other for five days."

"But it wasn't an inconvenience. Since everybody on the record plays in a dozen different bands and lives very busy lives this kind of isolation allowed us a chance to relax, focus on the music and get to know each other." He laughs, "It was almost like going to camp. Tony Maimone told me it was the most fun he ever had making a record and coming from someone who has made music for over 20 years that really meant a lot."

Steve concludes "When I hear this album I hear that rare and much-desired occurrence where each player is at the top of his game and communicating effortlessly with each other. It's the reason that all of us got into music and it sometimes takes a session like this to remind us of that possibility and that magic."

 

Featuring: Chris Brokaw, Linda Pitmon, Tony Maimone and Joe McGinty

Producer: John Agnello

Out takes of this disc appear on Pick of the Litter

Item 1: cd
# Track Title Play
.75¢
1Nothing But The Shell

Lyrics

Finally stashed away the vices
Like a shield against the coming crisis
See what drops and see what rises
Watch out for the falling prices

ch:

Stripped away so you could hardly tell
Leaving nothing but the shell

Remember when she was a comer
Brighter but a little dumber
Something went down late last summer
I don't suppose you have her number (ch)

Never made it to the coda
The CIA destroyed the folder
Brighter but a little older
A teleprompter and a soda (ch)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Neil Young and Crazy Horse
A victim of a bad divorce
Take a little from the source (ch)

A retro-futuro glam stomp with my first harmonica solo
in years. A pre-apocolyptic tale of redemption and focus complete with
Aspertame and name-dropping. Note: a "comer" is a sports term for an "up-
and-comer," or someone with "can't-miss" potential. - SW

My Midnight
2My Favorite Game

Lyrics

Standing in the middle of a delicate tension
Got a lot on my mind but not enough to mention
A short attention span and a big imagination
A positive constriction and an obvious affliction

It's a shame It's a shame
Everybody knows it but just the same
It's a shame, it's a shame
You don't want to play my favorite game

School's out of session with a definite obsession
A long forgotten legend and a minor transgression
Are you with me, are you with me, are you with me, are you with me
Dogs that want to bite me and dogs that want to sniff me

It's a shame it's a shame
Everybody does it but no one takes the blame
It's a shame, it's a shame
You don't want to play my favorite game

Cholera, bulimea, isomnia, collateral
A chemical imbalance and a chronic analytical
You can't stand the heat but you still want the sweets
You don't like my mission then get out of my kitchen

It's a shame, etc

A Sly (pun intended) come-on blending early 70s soul and a fringed-velvet drawl into what ultimately results in some Pied Piper of Hoboken effect. My vocals have been blended with those of Linda Pitmon to create a heady blend of aromas and spices. Stir and serve. -SW

My Midnight
3Cats And Dogs

Lyrics

I don't know
Where does it go
What's left to show
I don't know

I don't mind
There's nothing to find
No kind of sign
I don't mind

I know they say the evidence is real
Anyway it's not the way I feel
It's no big deal

Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs

Are you sad
To feel you've been
Is it so bad
Are you sad

All of the fears
And all of the tears
And then it appears
They fade into years

I know they say it fades into the night
Anyway, we fight and fight and never get it right

Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs

Don't wanna know
Where will you go
Don't wanna know
Don't wanna know

What can I say?
So many days
And then just haze
Sometimes I'm amazed

Another brief foray into the early 70s soul music that had much more of an impact on my early sensibilities than any of the much-repeated influences to which I've been tagged over and over again. Joe McGinty arranged the horns with expertise and wit.-SW

My Midnight
4In Your Prime

Lyrics

If the dreaming keeps you up
I'll try to turn it down a notch
Just a reflex, just a joke
Just a way to keep it primed
If you want to take a break
Or maybe slow it down a while
I can only wish you all the luck
And all the time

You look so beautiful
You look so radiant
You look resplendent
In your element and in your prime
Oh you look so dangerous
So obvious and so elusive
Like a falling comet
In your prime

I don't want to bring you down
So let me reinvent myself
Everything that rises
Must resolve
Open up that almanac
And point a finger to your favorite page
Cut to black, a hazy green
Dissolve

Think of all the flesh that feeds the worms that feed the dust that feeds the earth that rises up to strike us up down with its cool resolve again and again and again

If you want another cup
Well, let me crack the seal and bring it to your lips
I love to see the candle fade away
If you want to raise a fuss
Well, I'm the audience you want
It's so hard to make it today

A fawning gape and playful slap at the glories of raw, untamed youth. Spare the rod, spoil the child indeed. An attempt to recreate the sensation of driving down Pacific Coast Highway at 75 miles per hour in a convertible 1965 Ford Mustang.-SW

My Midnight
5Mandy Breakdown

Lyrics

Breaking bad news
Never was anything you could use
There was just too much time for worry

Memory fades
Into deeper shades of grey
Everything's fine, you barely notice now

Mandy Breakdown

Bruises and scars
In shapes of the stars, good stories in bars
Good for a laugh if you let her

Yellow and brown
One lifts you up and one brings you down
I can't say which is better

Mandy Breakdown

Squirrels at play
They've come to take the nuts away
I wouldn't worry if I was you

Sick and diseased
Crouching down on your knees
It's all so old that it feels so new

Mandy Breakdown

Hidden from view
Everyone lowers their voice around you
All the attention you so rightly earned

When will it end?
Where do we send the bends that mend
All of your friends are so concerned

Mandy Breakdown

The last song written for the record which means we probably played this one no more than five times from rehearsal introduction to the version you hear on the record, leading to the potent mix of chaos, shamble and gleeful aggression all combined into Chris Brokaw's incredible highwire act of a solo. A nervous breakdown in progress.-SW

My Midnight
6Lay Of The Land

Lyrics

I was the king of common sense
I guess you know my name
And then I cracked and you know the rest

It's don't do this
And don't do that
And can't you keep it
Down in the valley
Down with the lay of the land


It smells so bad, it's dark in here
Six by nine by twelve
And nothing left to chance in here (ch)

And then one day I'll rise above
Where the angels sing.
Ride around with wings all day (ch)

An epic haiku. A three-part fable of discipline and disappointment. A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants. Take your pick.-SW

My Midnight
7Out Of This World

Lyrics

You, are so hypnotic
You, so metronomic
You do something to me

You know how to play me
You can't help but slay me
You do something to me

Ch:

You take me out of this world
Oh, so high above this world
You do something to me

You have elevated
You, what God created
You do something to me

You are levitation
You are my sensation
You do something to me (ch)
My Midnight
8My Midnight

Lyrics

My midnight's never just and never fair
It haunts me like a ghost when it's not there
Andwhen I think I've learned to know its call
My midnight shakes me down to nothing at all

My midnight's never late and always slow
A smile and a nod and it's time to go
And when I start to think that I'm wasting my time
My midnight strikes me down with a single chime

My midnight's never brave and never strong
It just waits patiently 'til I come along
And when I think I've found a place and a time
That's when my midnight comes and leaves me blind

My midnight laughs at me when I run away
Shades of blue and gold and white and grey
And when I see my chance and I think I can run
My midnight strikes me down before I've begun

My midnight hates me much like I hate myself
Always steps between me and someone else
And when i start to fear I'm growing too old
That's when my midnight comes and releases its hold

My midnight comes in ways I can't explain
Blotting out the sun with the wind and rain
And when I start to learn to love the night
My Midnight blinds me with its flashing light

A somnambulist rant of claustrophobia and dread co-written with Ultra Vivid Scene's Kurt Ralske. A circular search for the bastard child of Lee Hazelwood and Ennio Morricone.-SW

My Midnight
9The Mask Of Shame

Lyrics

Hello endless night
Hello darkness and pain
I've come to blot out the night
I've come to see you again

ch:

Broken by my own promise
Haunted by my own name
Hiding from the world
Wearing the mask of shame

I played the '21'
I played the gambling wheel
I guess I had my fun
I guess I made a few deals

Broken my own promise
Cornered by my own game
Hiding from the world
Wearing the mask of shame

The children hold their ground
And stare from across the way
The mothers say 'mark my words
Or you'll end up like him someday' (ch)

Everyone called it the "sea shanty" and there is a bit of ragged toothlessness and plenty of salt water on this one. I wore my grandfather's spiffy pin-stripe suit for the vocal though I don't think that technique will make the studio trade magazines.-SW

My Midnight
10We've Been Hanging Out

Lyrics

Let me scrape the dust off of you
I wanna see you now
Let me be the one who knows you
I wanna be you now
Let me show you scars and bruises
I want to hurt you now
Let me take you down

Let me smash your favorite dishes
I wanna please you now
Let me blow out all your candles
I wanna see you now
Let me burn up all her photos
I wanna know you now
Let me know you

We've been hanging out

Let me comes across the table
I wanna please you now
Let me take you for a stroll
I don't deserve you now
Let me try to be the one
Who always lets you down
Let me take you down

We've been hanging out

I'll pretend you're still a baby
I wanna feed you now
Let me tell you why I chose you
I won't refuse you now
I can smear you like a picture
I want to know you now
Let me take you down

Silky, smooth and sinister. A warped duet of codependence and seduction that is a blatant attempt for repeated use as central song in a movie that was probably already made in 1972. I think it may have starred Cicely Tyson and Ned Beatty.-SW

My Midnight
11500 Girl Mornings

Lyrics

Shelly was a ghost and she never wrote back
Jackie had a story for everything she lacked
Sarah slept forever and I thought that she was dead
But she wasn't dead, she wasn't dead

And all I want is tea and some chocolate and a book
And a cigarette and coffee and a dangerous look
And all that I want, more than anything I want
Is to just be alone, just be alone

Hey, can I look in your eyes again?
Hey can I look in your eyes?

Suzy was a tourist and her sister was a guide and
Janet was cruel but she was sweet inside and
Cindy had teeth like a carving knife and
Betty liked to tell me what to do with my life (ch)

Janie, she was pretty outside of Kansas City
It really was a pity that she stayed in Kansas City and
Frieda said to sack it when she didn't want to back it
She knew she couldn't hack it in a blue bomber jacket, a blue bomber jacket

And all I want is tea and some chocolate and a book
And a cigarette and coffee and a dangerous look
And all that I want more than anything I want
Is to just be alone, just be alone

Hey can I look in your eyes again
Hey can I look in your eyes?

I've often felt that a three-chord song is probably one too many and I submit this duo-tonic marvel as evidence. Name-dropping (all fiction, of course) and gleeful, pounding repetition made this song a joy to play and nearly impossible to end. I truly believe there is some alternate universe where we are still playing the outro to this song.-SW

My Midnight
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My Midnight

  • Boston Phoenix

    by Jonathan Perry /99 Originally printed i the Boston Phoenix, March 1999 Wynn may not have been born in the City, but he makes quintessentially New York music. His lyrics bristle......more>
  • Metro Active

    Steve Wynn packs a wallop on 'My Midnight' By Nicky Baxter MIDWAY THROUGH THE FIRST track on My Midnight, Steve Wynn tosses off a line about Neil Young and Crazy Horse. No......more>
  • CMJ

    Former Dream Syndicate founder Steve Wynn has routinely turned out mature pop gems over his neart-ten year solo career. On his sixth solo album, Wynn broadens his both songwriting skill and maturity. Backed by guitarists Chris Brokaw (Come) and Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu), keyboardist Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs) and drummer Linda Pitmon (Zuzu's Petals), Wynn maintains much of his rock-based edge. However, on the song "Cats And Dogs," a lighter, cooler pop groove, a la World Party, proves to be a welcome influence. - : CMJ New Music Report Issue: 612 - Apr 05, 1999
  • Sex and Guts Magazine

    The man is as dependable for melodic perfection and sharp emotional response as he is stylistically unpredictable. I await his new records like no one else's for that reason. It's......more>
  • TheStranger.com

    Fluorescent is the one you want, the gentle 1994 solo album from this ex-Dream Syndicate frontman, which sounded like everything Dean Wareham was attempting to achieve with his post-Galaxie 500 N.Y.C. band, Luna, but hadn't quite managed back then. For My Midnight, Steve has enlisted the help of Chris Brokaw (Come, Codeine) plus assorted minor lo-fi stars to make an album that sometimes haunts in its love for classic, blues-based '60s rock. There's a wonderful, laid-back brass section, too. The fact that Wynn can sound so fresh and untamed on his 16th album is an accomplishment in itself. "Cats and Dogs" has a particularly magical keyboard fill, courtesy of Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs). Lovers of the early '80s Californian Paisley Shirt Scene could well dig this.
  • WestNet

    Listening to the new Steve Wynn CD is like running into an old friend you haven't seen in a wile. You notice they have changed, maybe gotten a little older,......more>
  • Groove.NO

    Litt slemt sagt så kan man kalle godeste hr. Wynn mer en håndverker enn en sann kunstner. Han har vœrt en trofast leverandør av soloplater siden 1990, og like lenge......more>

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