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HeartSongs - 20170731

  • Written by  Marky Edison

Welcome to HeartSongs, our regularly scheduled (probably) look at songs and the people who write them. We spoke to Charles Griffin Gibson AKA Chuck from New York City about his new single ‘New Yorker’. The song is free to download from bandcamp.

“I've done a lot of freelance work around the corner of 34th St. and 10th Ave. Right around there is this building with red neon letters that say "New Yorker". When you see it at night it has this Great Gatsby green light vibe. I don't remember what kind of mood I was in, but one night I saw it and the basic chorus just popped into my head. I stopped on the street and sang it into my iPhone. I would sing it to myself from time to time when I would see the sign, but otherwise I didn't think about it for like a year. Eventually I had some home studio time to mess around with and I found the recording and started to build the song out.

All the songs on the record have been written, recorded and mixed over a long period of time, and each one in it's own way feels like a science lab creation. Some have guitar parts that date back four years, drums recorded in a real studio, vocals I did a few weeks ago in the bathroom etc. Some of the songs have ideas from a brain (a younger me) that I don't recognize anymore. The whole record has been crafted in a very piecemeal fashion, just like the monster in Frankenstein. "New Yorker" is one of the songs that is a bit more contained / newer though. I'd say it was recorded and mixed within a six month period. The other reason why I'm calling these "Frankenstein Songs" is because as I was working on this album I started to feel like the monster from that story. I've spent a lot of time fighting my body. Diets, surgeries, cosmetic routines, exercise regiments etc. It's sort of like I'm the doctor and the monster actually. I think there's a lot of themes in the songs that speak to this idea of trying to force yourself, both body and soul, to become something different.

A lot of it is true, but I've borrowed a few details from other friends. I did move to NYC when I graduated college, just not the East Village. I didn't buy a bed in Queens, but my best friend did and he had a funny story about it. I did get a "cool" job at a "cool" office. I did start wearing black because everyone wears a lot of black here. I threw in the Billy Joel line because I saw him at Madison Square Garden this year and it doesn't get much more New York than that. Overall, I was just trying to get at the origin story, as I see it, of many young non-native New Yorkers.”

‘New Yorker’ Lyrics

When I graduated college

I moved into the east village

I got a job at a cool office

I got Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits

Huh-huh-huh

I found a couple bars to lay my head

And I drove to Queens and I bought a bed

I made a whole bunch of New York friends

And I wore all black cause everyone else did

Huh-huh-huh

And now I’m a New Yorker

At an art gallery downtown

I’m a New Yorker

Get the hell outta my way now

Yankees, Rangers, and Knicks

Theater, Pizza, Velvet Underground

I’m a New Yorker

Get the hell outta my way now and go die

Now I’m used to living hand to mouth

I go to Rockaway when it’s really hot out

I hate Williamsburg North, East and South

I know all the lunch spots in Midtown

Huh-huh-huh

I work so hard that my hair’s been gettin’ thin

I ain’t got no time to hit the gym

I picked up a little bit of Spanish

I’m a pretty smart guy, not for nothing

Huh-huh-huh

And now I’m a New Yorker

At an art gallery downtown

I’m a New Yorker

Get the hell outta my way now

Yankees, Rangers, and Knicks

Theater, Pizza, Velvet Underground

I’m a New Yorker

Get the hell outta my way now and go die

 

Go die

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