Benji Hughes, Agatha Christie, Anne Rice, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, David Foster Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut…and me!

One goal I had for L Extreme was to capture the genre crossing styles Benji Hughes uses on A Love Extreme the album through the various song/chapters. Recently I remembered this old I Write Like text analysis website and wondered how well I did at mixing things up. Let’s see… In 15 chapters, I write like Agatha…

LX Commentary #26: Baby, It’s Your Life!

Endings are tough. You need to tie up as many dangling threads as possible, leave the reader satisfied that reading the book was worthwhile, and try to go out on a memorable high note without it feeling abrupt or forced. That’s something I wrote a dozen years ago in the commentary post for the final…

LX Commentary #25: Lyegue

One final instrumental to segue us into the finale! Like Coyotes, in the first draft this was a Benji-centric dream. Realizing that chapter needed to focus on L opened the door for C’s starring turn here. Way back in Tight Tee Shirt, C conveniently said “I had a dream last night too. A dream about…

LX Commentary #24: Love On A Budget

Defeating the villain was (seemingly) the point of the previous chapter, but we still have 3 songs left. What’s next? It’s about to get weird… Just like the song says: “Love on a budget doesn’t make much sense anymore.” A simple line, I embraced the second half of that lyric here—but that’s not how it…

LX Commentary #23: So Much Better

After reading the slapsticky, Monkees / SNL sketch inspired first draft, my longtime first reader / editorial voice of reason Jon Mack commented on sections that were “witty banter for the sake of witty banter.” It was fair criticism that got me thinking if there was a way to have witty banter with a purpose….

LX Commentary #22: Jubalee

“Jubalee” is an epic track oozing with vivid imagery to work with, making it ripe for a play by play trek across various locales. Florist –> Tea Shop –> Circus My initial approach was a redux of the fake Halloween neighborhood watch trick-or-treating section, sending Benji & C & Frank back out on the town….

LX Commentary #21: Kenny

Bonus track time! Or said differently, I cheated again… First I swapped the order of Mmmmmmm & Even If. Here I’m including a song that isn’t actually on A Love Extreme. Why? It’s complicated. In the first draft this flashback to Jessica meeting Kenny in Jamaica was the second half of “Where Do Old Lovers…

LX Commentary #20: Ladies On Parade

Way back in chapter 5, “Waiting For An Invitation” starts with the lyric “Ladies roll by…” I’ve always considered the ladies rolling by as a precursor/sister song to this parade (“there is a theme there”), so I knew we’d be headed back to the cemetery. But how would we get there? Taking the baton from…

LX Commentary #19: Coyotes

Another instrumental closes out Side C before we flip the record for the final time. I always knew I wanted to mirror the opening of the “I Am You, You Are Me, We Are One” sequence here, but doing the fuller suited celebrity déjà  vu took awhile to figure out. Replacing the two men with…

LX Commentary #18: I Went With Some Friends To See The Flaming Lips

Benji Hughes rarely discusses the stories behind songs in interviews, but when he does this one is frequently cited as “a play by play.” Writing the L Extreme version as a play by play did not work at all. I probably struggled with this chapter most of all. The song chronicles a real-life Flaming Lips concert…