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Bill, I finally had an opportunity to sit down and listen to your record straight through on the hi-fi with my full attention.  It's wonderful.  Rain on Your Wedding Day, Nothing Is Ever Good Enough, and Little Pink Drink I think were my favorites of them all.  And it really stood out to me the way the whole piece played through.  It definitely was a movie for my ears. 

As for the book, it was cool.  It came off to me almost as inspired by the classical tradition of program music.  I was totally with it though for this record which, to me, has a sort of theatrical feel.  It was like the unspoken script.  I really felt the presence and development of distinct characters in all the individual songs.  I think it all worked really well.  The experience of the art really held together in a cohesive way for me.

I was listening to Monsters last night while working on a presentation, and I just got lost in it. It's not just a great album by someone I know, it's a great album PERIOD. The Thing About Time? Are you kidding me??? Brilliant lyric, with this perfect little one line refrain that just hops in your pocket and stays there, and such a cool lilting bounce behind it all. Every track seems to start from scratch and create its own autonomy. And I thought back to watching you guys rock it in your New Rochelle basement and what a huge impact it had on me. I doubt I'd be a musician without you, Rob and my dad.

Lemme stick my two cents in here: MAU gets better with every listen.

I will try sincerely, but most likely in vain, to be brief. It's my reflections on MAU. I am honored to have been asked to share them. This album draws me in deeper with each listen. Dark but not depressing, I'd call it deeply affecting. These are songs that should be heard by millions. Not because they deserve detailed break-down and analysis, but for the reason I told Bill: the feeling one gets from hearing his voice, his turn of a phrase, his chord progressions and melodies are the stuff great songwriting is made of. Warning to the more sensitive souls like myself, by the end of the album you will feel a little emotionally drained yet enriched by the entrance through a magic side door by which these songs creep into your heart and reveal the optimism buried in the gloom. For Bill 'the songs the thing'. And he has proven that yet again.

I listened to the entire CD of MAU straight through yesterday and it is a truly great piece of work. It is a 21st century version of what we all used to do when we bought albums (as you described). You are a master of moods, and your poignant lyrics, beautiful melodies and vocal performances combined with the contributions of your brother, Tony, and the other players have created something memorable. Of course then there is Carl. I miss our friend every day, and your music and book dedicated to his memory is something I will always cherish.

Wow. Not only a return to the album concept, but a return to the concept album. This album is a gift that keeps on giving the more I listen. And then it gave even more as I picked up the book of lyrics and decoders. I do recommend that this package be enjoyed in that order: listen first (maybe a few times) and then read the decoders. Why? Well, I will borrow Bill’s metaphor of seeing a movie vs. reading a book. When you read a book, your imagination paints the pictures. If you see the movie first, you are deprived of that extra dimension. The pictures are formed for you. That’s not much different than forming, in your mind, the meaning of a song before it is explained to you. If the meaning is explained to you first, your interpretation can become circumscribed by the songwriter’s “truth.” To be honest, I was dubious about the concept of including decoders for this reason. I was concerned that, even if read later,  Bill’s explanations could replace my own interpretations and connections to the lyrics and therefore disrupt my meaning. I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case. I still feel a conviction to my own initial impressions. Bill’s explanations have added to and not replaced them. In hindsight, this is not surprising. Many interpretations of literature coexist. The trick here is not to let the writer be the definitive interpretation. I know that sounds contradictory. But as a photographer, I can create a photo with a certain idea in mind. Yet I still hope it will mean something personal to the viewer. That’s not to diminish the decoders. I loved eventually knowing what Bill was thinking. The keyword there is “eventually.”

FRANKENSTEIN WALK - As a former long time commuter, I can identify with the message of this song. Almost painfully so - except that I am a former commuter, so I was able to let that curtain pull aside and enjoy the music of this song. This was a real foot tapper and maybe one of the fullest song musically of the album. There is a lot going on - strong bass line, great horns, laser precise guitar, powerful vocals - but it’s never cluttered. Everything is so well placed and the first listen grabbed me with the strong melody. Yet as I listened to it again and again, more intricacies/subtleties emerged giving the song a musical depth that made me feel like I had one of those old encyclopedias of the human body with the layers of transparencies you pulled away to reveal the next layer of the anatomy. Eventually exposing the skeleton. (Couldn’t resist :-) )

SANTIAGO - Lyrically and musically it has a real texture - that’s the best way I can say it. When I read the decoder, that texture deepened - a good example of how the decoder can amplify a feeling. I don’t know if this was intentional (probably was) but Bill’s voice has a gritty texture in this song which complements that whole feel. Something that struck me reading the decoder is how Bill performed research much the way that an actor does when taking on a role. I bet this contributed to Bill’s singing style on this song and helped him “play” the part. I have to say: I think this is the only song that includes the word “ampersand” in its lyrics. Ever. :-)

CASEY’S GONE - Beautiful song. Melancholy. But it gives pain a beautiful voice in the form of Bill’s very fluid vocal on this one. What a stellar ballad. As far as the lyrics, there is nothing I can add to the decoder.

VAMPIRA - This started out as my least favorite but it has grown on me - it needed more than one listen to come into its own. That may be a tribute to a great song. I found the imagery in the latter part of the second verse to be the darkest in a dark song and I felt a cold chill run up my spine. But it was quite impactful.

NOTHING IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH - I loved the hard hitting rock intro. Every good album should have one. And this added to the welcomed eclectic feel of the album. I don’t know if this was intentional but the background vocals sounded almost hymnal - as if to signify mock adulation. With regard to the message of the song, I can identify with how we can put pressure on ourselves and be our own worst enemy. I get it. But this song also conjured up other thoughts for me. We have the power to control how we are affected by these feelings of inadequacies. If we can keep the feeling of being judged at bay, people who push us for something better might be credited with making us better people. Of course, that requires a clear sense of self and strong value system to know when we are being nudged toward something better vs. just something different - or inferior. Sometimes finding acceptance also means finding acceptance in that we can do better.

THE THING ABOUT TIME - Obviously not a happy song but I definitely connected with it. While this song may sound like a lament, to me the most important favor it gives is to act as a reminder to use time wisely. Hopefully I am not the only one that will take that positive message from this song. The melody is one of my favorites. It’s simple, but catchy.

LET’S NOT & SAY WE DID - There is the ampersand again ;-) . This is a foot stomper. Definitely a great upbeat interlude that put a smile on my face. I love the violin on this track. Again, Bill shows that he can surprise with something new in almost every song. To me, this song is a perfect lyrical complement to the song before it (“The Thing About Time”). So my only complaint is that I would have swapped the order of these two songs for lyrical impact. But I guess from a musical perspective that might disrupt the flow and placement of this upbeat intermission.

AYN RAND - I’ve spent some time scratching a little below the surface of Rand and what she has to say and I’ve come to the same place that this song tries to bring the listener: Love her or hate her; but at least try to understand her. I realize that can take more than a casual investment so may be a tall order for many. I love the double meaning in the line “They’ll never get the best of you.” One more thing: I’m glad Bill explained his pronunciation of her first name. I cam close to churlishness ;-)

LITTLE PINK DRINK - I love the background vocals on this song. They add a lot. The instrumental break at the end really emerged for me in a big way in one of my later listens on headphones. There was an intricate depth to it. The organ was so tasty and that guitar sound was mesmerizing. Lyrically, I love how Bill so vividly captures and expresses the human interactions and thoughts we don’t often talk about (or admit to). Sort of like Billy Joel’s “The Stranger.” But with more depth. Like a technicolor dream.

DO YOU EVER THINK OF ME - One of my favorite works of Bill’s piano art. And the liquid quality of his vocal provides a soothing touch to an otherwise melancholy song. Before I read the decoder, I arrived at a different interpretation of the message. I imagined a person, not unlike the rest of us, who has gone through some fundamental changes over the course of his life. And that person is being spoken to by his “former” self. (Rather than explain further, I’ll just suggest that you take a listen with that in mind.) In that interpretation, it ties nicely together with “The Thing About Time.” I like when themes tie together that way. A stretch? Maybe. But that’s the fun of viewing art through different lenses. Bill may not have meant it this way, but that was my thought and I’m sticking to it. :-)

EVERYTHING BREAKS - I never tire of this song’s melody. I’ve heard the song in several versions and it’s hard to pick a favorite. I don’t want to make this the September 11 song, but the message in this song has helped me grapple with trying to find context and perspective within which to place the events of that day - which was like trying to drink from a firehose. For some time, I struggled to fit those experiences into my schemata. I still do. “Everything Breaks” doesn’t totally solve that for me but it certainly helped provide some context within which to place the destruction, and maybe help it be a little less impossible to comprehend.

AN UNFINISHED LIFE - Indeed.

I listened to the entire CD and read the book, and it is amazing.  I felt like I was on a journey. Incredible, thoughtful music and purposeful lyrics.  The accompanying book made me feel like I did when I bought an album and was excited before I even heard the actual songs; what a great idea!

Casey’s Gone was my favorite, a very emotional song that literally brought my wife to tears.    The final instrumental piece is also very moving.

Let me know if you are playing anywhere I would love to see you live. 

Thanks so much for sharing your music.  It is truly awesome!

Just donned the headphones to listen to “Nothing Is Ever Good Enough.”  The first listen actually took my breath away, it sounds so powerful.  The second time through I couldn't help crying.  I feel like I can already hear it as the theme of a movie.  In fact, you don't even need the movie, because the song alone pulls up all of the emotion of a two-hour tearjerker.  The third time through I was finally starting to relax and breath.

Just checked out "Rain on Your Wedding Day."  Wow, what an awesome tune! Great, great video too!

So I checked out the Decoder series as well, and it's pretty intense!  [Bill's Note:  The Decoder series is where we talk about the stories behind the songs; you can check out all the Decoders in "The Songs" section of this site.]  Unlike most of what you read online, this is compelling and interesting content that should greatly interest fans and advertisers!

Getting back to the songs, "Everything Breaks" is such a great tune as well!  I especially love songs that document history, and that song truly captures the moments and a sea of emotion [surrounding the 9/11 attack].

I also loved "Frankenstein Walk"!  I have never heard a band that can marry the influences of Steely Dan and the Soul Survivors/Rascals, and yet has a unique way of blending all of this into its own sound.  It's awesome!

I can't say enough about "Frankenstein Walk."  I didn't stop smilin' for the whole video.  Mute trumpet solo [by Brian Pareschi], absurdly cool.  Lead guitar solo [by Tony Spatarella], on a level all around with any on a Steely Dan record.  New drummer [Brian Metz] is perfect. Bill is in top voice.  I can go on and on.  I'd tried to think of something constructive to offer in critique, but I ain't got nothing but pride and joy in hearing and seeing this delightful new song.  God, I wanted to tear a solo so bad, I wanted to jump into my computer. The juice in your orange is nowhere NEAR drained out, maestro!

"Frankenstein Walk" on YouTube -- superb music and video!  [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3otUS5mz08M]  Bill's vocals spot on for this song as always.  I love the horn and guitar leads, and the driving bass line fills it in perfectly.  My only regret was missing this gig!

"Rain on Your Wedding Day" -- this is a class voice here, great song.

"Rain on Your Wedding Day" -- Beautiful music, lyrics & singing by Bill, smoooooooth nylon-string guitar from Tony Spatarella, and sweet production by Carl Casella.  Spread this around if you like it.  I think it could be a useful song for brides, grooms and wedding planners.

"The Thing About Time" -- This song made me cry.  Bill, if you can't find your way to make this a hit via Garth Brooks or Kenny Chesney, or somebody, I will personally come out to beat your ass to a bloody pulp.  I'm just sayin' . . .

I loved "Frankenstein Walk" the minute I heard it that night at Sullivan Hall!  What a great tune!  Is there a studio recording of it somewhere?  [Bill's Note:  Glad you asked!  There sure is, and now you can get it for free in "The Songs" section of this site!]

Stellar vocals, superb writing, unforgettable melodies, breathtaking harmonies.  And yet that's not the genius of this collection of songs, which reach deeper and go farther, emotionally and intellectually, than anything Bill has written before.  Where his past lyrics were always tricky, clever and thoughtful, they have now become independently publishable poetry of the sharpest kind.  Where his melodies have always been inspired, they now go far beyond that to produce a strange feeling of inevitability.  You know you haven't heard these songs before, but they feel so right -- so true, in every sense of that word -- that they seem to emerge out of some primal catalogue of songs that are ordained to be written.  These songs have an epic quality. And each time I listen to this collection, the final moments give me that same wistful feeling I get when I'm coming to the end of a great book and regret that it soon will be over . . .