One day, my friend Jonathan called me up for a co-write. I had no idea what to expect.
So I sit down and he gives me three ideas for songs. One of them was called “there are more trees than humans; there are fewer humans than bees”. It’s about how you should ignore the Earth at your peril. “Right”, I said.
Then he said, “I have an idea for a song called Stupid Stupid. Here’s the hook: Stupid STUPID! Durdurdurdurdurdurdurdur. Stupid STUPID! Durdurdurdurdurdurdurdur Stupid STUPID! Durdurdurdurdurdurdurdurdurdurdurdurdur - and I love you. DUM DUM!”
I said, “that one sounds fun! Let’s work on that!”
He said, “okay - off you go!”
So actually, it wasn’t a co-write at all. He gave me the idea and the chorus and I went away and did all the fucking work!
That’s why the song starts with just a voice saying ‘stupid stupid durdurdurdurdurdurdurdur’ - because the song comes into your life for the first time exactly the same way it came into mine. It’s also part of the ongoing attempt to put more personality and uniqueness into my music (as spoken about during my Forever Yours dissection).
From there it hits the opening synth line, which I borrowed from the theme tune of Ape Escape, one of my favourite games when I was a kid. The actual sound of the synth is as reminiscent as I can get to the song ‘My Leather, My Fur and My Nails’ by Stepdad: Jack Howard played it to me and I loved the smoothness of the notes. My original idea was to have a cool riff that would play as part of the chorus like The Final Countdown has, but it didn’t really work out that way.
Throughout the whole song, as I’m singing (including on that initial line before the song properly starts), you can hear a droning version of my voice singing along with the words. This second vocal is singing exactly the same things but all on the same note, to make it sound like a droning zombie - something very stupid stupid in tone to go with the song. I originally had a third voice, as well, which was softer and sweeter; it goes back to me reading a Walt Disney biography and learning about how staff described the Three Walts. People said there was Walt the Dreamer, Walt the Realist and Walt the Cynic. Because he did so much himself, he had to be all three people at different times, adjusting to different mindsets - and you never knew which one you’d be meeting with on a given day. I found that a really powerful image and wanted to pay tribute to it with three vocal lines, each reflecting one of the tones of the three Walts, but in the end it was a bit much and we just left the two (realist - the strong lead - and cynic - the mocking drone).
Before the chorus, the drum pattern is an adapted version of the intro of Enter Sandman by Metallica. It was one of the first songs I learned on drums and I used to play it incessantly on the drum kit at my mum’s house.
I wanted the song to feel quite like a cartoon, hence the artwork - that’s also why I have the sound effects for things like the doorbell, the screaming, my mocking voice saying “it was on TV” etc. The lyrics themselves aren’t based on anyone/anything specific, I just tried to think of things I could do that wouldn’t genuinely bug you but would make you shake your head in disbelief. (Actually the screaming when the toast pops thing is one of mine, I totally do that. It always gets me.) I’m also not a Sagittarius, I’m an Aries, but Sagittarius fit the lyrics better. I think that’s my favourite part of the song actually: a person lamenting someone’s faults and saying “it’s because you’re a Sagittarius”, but then getting angry at them for not doing what’s expected and not accepting that excuse the other way around.
The drum beats on “you don’t make time for me” were borrowed from a new Green Day song called Nuclear Family, the first track of Uno. It happens just over a minute into that song, there’s a little skippy-drum bit that I liked and adapted.
And of course, it was important to spin the song around … otherwise I was worried it’d just seem arrogant and a bit mean, so I had to say that I was stupid too, and help put people in my shoes. The “we’re stupid stupid” is straight from the way Bowling For Soup have all their friends shout the chorus in “Come Back To Texas”.
Those are all the stories I have, and that’s how Stupid Stupid came to be. =)