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2005-12-17


Last night my job was to sit and finish the lyrics for all my unfinished songs. We had backing tracks for every song already. Lyrics were the last thing we'd work on during this trip. Christoffer boomed, "So, you have the evening off to write all the lyrics in the world! Don't go off having a bunch of fun when you're supposed to be working! We have a million vocal tracks to record tomorrow and we need these lyrics to be ready!"

I sat and worked as hard as I could on the six songs remaining. You can't force this kind of thing, though. I finished three songs and almost finished two more. But, an song with "almost finished" vocals isn't very useful—it's really no different from an unfinished song in that you still can't record it.

After I worked for about three hours my mind was empty. It was like I used up all the creativity and ideas and there was nothing left but thoughts like, "My scalp itches" and "cats are stupid" and "I wonder what would happen if I put a guitar cable in my mouth?" That's when I knew it was time to stop for the night.

So, Mattias (the videographer guy) and I drove to the nearby village of Sjöbo to go to the pub. I say "the pub" because there's only one there. And, it's actually more like a pizzeria that happens to sell alcohol at night. If you like local over the hill alcoholics and a handful of uneducated rural twenty–somethings that weren't smart enough to move away from there, then this is the place for you. I have to admit, I love it. Cool bars are the same everywhere. It's the uncool places that have the most cultural relevance.


Inside the horrible Sjöbo pub.

I've been to the horrible Sjöbo pub many times during other trips here to make records, so I knew it would be a wonderful cultural experience—in a rural, southern Swedish hillbilly sort of way.

We had fun there—Mattias and I talked and watched people. Locals kept asking us why we were filming and why we were carrying such big cameras. One of them said, in Swedish, "Look at that big camera! Why do you have it? What are you doing? You know, this sort of thing just doesn't happen so often around here."


I felt very unbearded at the pub.

Lots of uninteresting drunk middle aged guys blabbered at us, of course. Boring, drunk, middle aged Swedish guys seem like they always want to talk. I asked Mattias if boring, drunk, cute, young women ever strike up conversations with him at bars. He shook his head. Why is that? If the world is about 50% (or so) men and women, doesn't it make sense that about half of the drunk people that blabber at me would be female? Weird.

It was easy to sleep last night, and I got my second full night of sleep since my arrival.

Today was pretty much the eleventh hour for me and Christoffer. It was our last day working on the project until his next availability—March or April at the soonest. So, he pushed me to crank out as many vocal takes as I could bear. I sang so many songs I don't know if I can even remember which ones we worked on.


Christoffer played cembalo on my song "Ode to Amelie."

Singing is a strange thing. I can sing something that sounds and feels great to me. But, if I listen to a recording of it I'd hate it. And, I can sing something I hate, but the recording will sound great. It's wonderful to have a brilliant producer like Christoffer. He knows how to get the best takes out of me. He knows that sometimes I'm uncomfortable singing the way he wants. But, in the end he lets me listen to the takes and I think, "I would never have thought to try it that way and it was uncomfortable. But, it's so much better than the way I would've done it!"

Then, quick like a bee sting the day was over, my things were packed, and Christoffer was waving goodbye. He had to leave to do a TV appearance with Per Gessle the next morning. And, this was our last day of these sessions.

As quickly as it started, everything was over.

I feel a little stunned. Tomorrow I won't go to the studio. I won't eat breakfast in the break room. I won't make jokes with Christoffer. I won't drive his horrible white Volvo. I won't make jokes with him and laugh until it hurts.

Sure, I'll do all those things again in a few months. But, it feels weird to just stop right when things are so fun. But, life is like that—this world is a spider web of scheduling conflicts that can never be resolved.

So, I'm planning to go to Berlin for a few days before I head home for the holidays. I don't know a single person there. But, it was the cheapest flight I could find from Copenhagen. And, everyone says it's the best city in Europe.


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