>Lyrically Speaking: 2002


  A song’s lyrics don’t have to be overly poetic to be great. In fact, for me a story song, in which we can empathize with someone’s situation or one that places us in a situation past or present, can be just as moving as one that delves deeply into artistic verbiage or clever wordplay. (The worst is one that is cliche, where we can guess the lyrics before the singer ever sings them.)
  Bob Schneider is probably known more as a singer or performer than as a songwriter, though I think he is quite good in that capacity. He has a kind of dual musical personality: He’s got a raunchy, rockin’, rappin’ side and he’s got an acoustic-based singer-songwriter side. He’s an expert at balancing the two sides (though they don’t necessarily mix on the same album).
  His song “2002,” from his fantastic album “Lonelyland,” deserves some recognition. It’s him and an acoustic guitar and some really matter-of-fact, down-in-the-dumps lyrics of a guy who is missing is old girlfriend. He admits he’s done some things wrong in his personal life, really is trying to get his life together but realizes it’s pretty fruitless.
  The song is written as a letter to this woman telling her how his life has gone since their breakup. Sounds depressing? Yeah, well as he sings, “Doubt things are ever gonna get much better/It seems like life’s one big whatever anyway.”
  If you are not tearing up or feeling bad for the dude by the end of the song you have no heart.

The year is two thousand & two
I’m doing exactly what I wanted to
And baby I don’t even think about you anymore

Just thought Id drop you a line
And let you know I was doing fine
Cause baby it’s been a long long time
Since you walked out my door

It took me some time I must confess
For a while there I was feeling less than my best
Had to get out of town so I headed out west
Ended up in Seattle

I thought Id start a brand new band
Thought I might call it Lonelyland
Things got a little out of hand
Ended up hooked on heroin

So I ended up moving back over to Germany
Living with the folks baggin’ groceries
But the time I had was mostly free
Spent most of it drinking

I got myself in a jam or two
Guess it’s what I had to do
But late at night Id still think of you
Felt like I was drowning

‘Til I met this girl at a discotheque
She was a dancer, baby, but not what you’d expect
She taught ballet and she was half-Czech half Chinese

But after she decided not to have the baby
Said she might move back to the mainland maybe
By then I didn’t really care I was half drunk, half crazy

I got arrested but never convicted
My parents eventually had me evicted
Tried your number it had been disconnected
Guess I shouldve known

I heard you got married and you moved away
I called your folks but where they would not say
Said it’s probably better that way so I just let it be

I moved back to Austin ’bout a year ago
Drive a schoolbus I don’t drink no more
I go out every once in a while and see a show but mostly I just watch TV

So I don’t know where Im gonna send this letter
Doubt things are ever gonna get much better
It seems like life’s one big whatever anyway

I just thought Id drop you a line
Lie and say I was doing fine
‘Cause baby it’s been a long long time
Since you walked out my door

Here’s a short explanation of the song from Schneider in an interview with Andy Holloway in the online magazine 5 on Sunday in 2009 (to read the whole interview, click HERE) :
Andy: Your song 2002 is one of the most sincere and genuine offerings about trials and tribulations I have ever heard from a musician. Can you explain the time period that caused you to write this song?
Bob: I wrote the song in 1998 after a bad breakup and I was sitting in a room in Denver. I knew that Id be feeling better in six months or a year and I was daydreaming about having some kind of remote control that I could fast-forward through the next few hard months of heartbreak. Anyway, I ended up writing the song in an hour or two and now people think that its autobiographical when in fact, it was what I imagined the next few years would be like at the time.

Bob Schneider on Austin City Limits:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_Uh68FEVY8]

Filed Under: Bloglyrically speaking


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