Saturday, August 9, 2008

Evolution of a Song: These Girls....

Been slow to post once again. i shouldn't feel bad – i mean, this IS the one thing in my life that has absolutely no deadlines, no consequences, and no requirements – but with each day that i don’t post, i can statistically see my hits-per-day declining. And somewhere inside me, i feel it. Truth is, i have sat down at the computer a couple times this week intent on posting, but felt absolutely uninspired. Sure, I have a few ideas, but if i start to force a post, the apathy shows – if only to me.

There’s one solution:

Mr. Adams.....

Admittedly, this blog is becoming a Ryan Adams fan page with the occasional sidetrack – but with good reason:
The guy’s got enough material to warrant it. i have just short of 600 tracks from Ryan, some of which, i have heard maybe once.

If any other band/artist considered a This Mornin’…. favorite were to supply me with comparable aural goodness, they may see equal attention – but none do.

With the quantity of tunes this guy spits out, some are sure to be completely scrapped soon after their birth – if they’re lucky, they’ll get played live once or twice.
But some of Ryan’s songs are so good, they simply won’t go away. My Heart is Broken was penned at the advice of Caitlin Cary (who wanted Ryan to write the saddest fuckin’ song he could think of – mission accomplished) back in the Whiskeytown days. It showed up on a 7” vinyl along with Theme for a Trucker, Houses on the Hill, and The Strip (Dancing With the Women at the Bar) – which i have. That bare, somber version of the tune lay dormant for 6 years until Ryan and The Cardinals resurrected it for JCN – giving it the full-on steel-guitar, string-section, honky-tonk work up.

Another Adams tune that saw an even longer shelving before getting a complete overhaul is what this particular post is all about.


Hey There, Mrs. Lovely/These Girls

1999: Hey There, Mrs. Lovely
Live at the Exit/In – Nashville, TN - 10/28/1999
“This is a new song that I wrote that I absolutely fucking hate.”
He mustn’t have hated it too much, because the song got quite a bit of live play from ’99-’00 and was included in The Destroyer Sessions.

2000: Hey There, Mrs. Lovely
Live at Stubb’s – Austin, TX – 3/16/2000 – Kim Richey on harmony vocals.

2000: Hey There, Mrs. Lovely
The Destroyer Sessions – Fall 2000

“Well girl sometimes I feel just like a boy
Put here on this earth for you to toy around with
I'm the plastic three inch armies you destroyed
I'm the monster underneath your bed
You ain't afraid of yet

But you let me in
And I feel alright
Yeah I feel alright

Hey there, Mrs. Lovely are you coming out to play?
I've been stranded on your doorstep every night and day
And I want you so bad
But when you cry I get scared
Wanna dry your eyes with cinnamon and pears

You used to only want your two front teeth
Yeah Christmas time came and went
And you ended up with me
And we started playing twister with our tongues
We probably should have scrapped the game
And gave ourselves some hugs

And I toy with you
And you toy with me
Won't you stop this please?

Hey there, Mrs. Lovely are you coming out to play?
I've been stranded on your doorstep every night and day
And I want you so bad
And when you cry I get scared
I wanna dry your eyes with cinnamon pears

And pears
And pills
And pills”

Hey There, Mrs. Lovely could possibly have fit somewhere on Heartbreaker, but had no place on any of Ryan’s next 3 albums. Although it is a song of love-lost, it’s not quite sad-bastard enough to have been included on Love Is Hell. Ryan’s next 3 album batch in 2005 didn’t have a spot for the song either.

2006 saw Ryan doing some solo touring once again, possibly to prepare material for Easy Tiger. At a couple shows in the UK, he pulls out the old number:

2006: Hey There, Mrs. Lovely
Live at the Sage Center Gateshead, UK – 2/14/2006

But somewhere before the recording of Easy Tiger took place, Ryan gave the song a new spin.

A small line change in the first verse, 3rd line:
“Like matchbox cars you buy and burn in your backyard”

The extra 7 years the song had to marinate changed Ryan’s perspective. A song about one girl in particular morphed into a tune about every girl and every failed relationship Ryan had been through. The new (pluralized) chorus:

“God bless all the late night girls and they're coming out to play
I've been stranded in their doorstep for every night and day
I only want them more, how sad
But when they smile, how can anybody feel bad
It makes me tired and I wanna go to bed”

The 2nd verse turned to a deeply introspective stanza. Where he originally laid the blame on the two of them, Ryan now admits his own faults (and drops a bombshell of a line):
“I used to pickup shells cast off the reef
One Christmas I got a funeral and they handed me the receipt
How many lies I'd tell without my tongue
Get twisted into memories till I believe 'em some”

He cleverly keeps key words like Christmas and twisted in the mix as an homage to the original lyrics...

2007: These Girls

Just to keep things interesting, Ryan and gang recorded all of Easy Tiger in alternate versions live-in-studio style. You can find them floating around somewhere, and i will post the whole set when i get caught up to the present in my Ryan Adams Spotlight.

These Girls receives the most outlandish alternate style in the set. It's turned into a grungy, scream-o style rocker. The lyrics are a mash-up of both versions mentioned above.

2007: These Girls
The Alternate Easy Tiger

alternate'd out...


  1. I like your blog a lot, and love your focus on Ryan Adams. I, too, have an astounding number of songs of his, and seem always to be finding and refinding little gems. I was fond of the original, Mrs Lovely, but I really like what he did with it on Easy Tiger. I know some people feel he should have left it alone, but I love that he reworked it, and how it ended up. Thanks for the post.

  2. Interesting post...I don't remember where Adams said this song was inspired from...and then again I might be thinking of something else entirely. Other interesting 'evoltion' songs are Off Broadway...god the Suicide Handbook version is tragic but wondeful...and Movie Star Girl...I've always thought that was pretty rad switch. Anyway keep up the awesome analyzation. :)