The Stories Behind The Songs on This Single
Thu., Jul. 27. 2023 8:16pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 15th single of 2023:
IN THE AFTERLIFE
"In the Air Tonight" didn't chart as high as many later singles by Phil Collins, but it has stood the test of time and is arguably his signature song. Be that as it may, that tune was never one of my favorites, although I liked plenty of Phil's solo hits.
Consequently, I'd never considered it for an ApX parody until January 20, 2023, when the line "I can feel it comin' in the afterlife, hold on" came to me, seemingly from out of the blue. I think a sports station may have been playing it as bumper music that morning ... I'm not sure ... but those words just popped into my noggin.
The concept fit the mood of the original so well; I knew we had to do it. In fact, I put it on a "drummy do" list I sent to Jimmy that very same day.
I'd always thought Phil was singing "hold on," and I didn't find out until I was working on it that he was actually singing "oh Lord." What a blessing to discover that I'd unwittingly come up with two of the recurring parody words 42 years before writing the rest of the lyrics!
I'd already completed both verses and the first chorus by the time I finally went to show my wife what I had. She said she liked everything, but was surprised because she'd assumed I was going to do something with "in the air" (i.e. the Rapture). That hadn't occurred to me, but I thought it was clever.
Nevertheless, I loved "in the afterlife," and we do prefer to change the original words. But when I got to the last chorus, I realized I could modify the three times Phil sings the shortened phrase "I can feel it in the air tonight," so I was able to use both ideas, against all odds.
OK, try to keep up with me: "Timothy" is about Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy. Of course, we'd already released a parody in 1999 called "Second Timothy" about 2 Timothy 3:16, but I originally wrote "Timothy" in 1996 or '97, so it really came first, even though it's about Second Timothy, not First Timothy.
I loved the lyrics but later wrote "Time for Me to Die," which we released in 2009, and it covered the same topic, so we waited a while before revisiting the story. Still, that was a '70s song, whereas this is a '90s song, and it covers some different details including the following: that Paul was imprisoned in Italy; that he asked Timothy to bring along Mark, the scrolls, and Paul's cloak; and that beheading would be the method of his execution.
I discovered the song we spoofed here, "Misery" by Soul Asylum, after hearing Weird Al's parody, "Syndicated Inc." When we finally decided to record "Timothy" in 2023, I figured it would be a breeze, and I'd just tweak a few of the words I wrote back in the '90s. Instead, I wound up changing (and re-changing) most of the lines.
When I was a kid, I requested and received a rock tumbler one Christmas, and I grew up to be a lyrical rock tumbler, constantly polishing whatever I'm working on. I was refining and rephrasing my existing lyrics the entire first full week of July 2023, including a seven-hour ride home from the Louisville KY area with my family, during which I played "Misery" non-stop. Fitting title, eh? Don't worry; they had headphones.