“Spies”

Who are these youthful spies with double-breasted trenchcoats so very smart?

Some of the inspiration for “Spies” came from comic artist Antonio Prohías’ iconic “Spy vs. Spy“. Some of it came from people I knew years ago when I used to spend a lot of time at Border, an artsy, Burlington dance club currently in its latest incarnation as Club Metronome. The rest was just, y’know, me makin’ stuff up.

Do these people really take extreme measures of identity protection, maintaining perpetual surveillance or conducting espionage in the service of their mother countries? Are they natural-born secret agents no matter what they do for work, living in a delusional haze in which there are plots and conspiracies in every official explanation for the way the world works? Maybe they’re just twenty-somethings who feel so alienated from their peers and communities that they invent undercover personas as a narrative that explains their painful isolation?

Regardless of the explanation you like, for me the song is a sort of sympathetic ode to these people, sharing their existential conditions in a waltz-time, vaguely country music bed. With lots of soft-loud-soft sections.

Spies

Spies try to booby-trap their partner’s desks
Spies push their know-how with a daily test
Spies got so much that’s going on
Spies do the worst and call it best

Spies look for signals in the grocery aisle
Spies keep their shades on when they go to trial
Spies talk in riddles, talk in tongues
Spies are never photographed with smiles

   Sun-starved skin and love-sick eyes
   Leopard dresses, leather ties
   Double-breasted trenchcoats, very smart
   Classified tattoos over their hearts
   Excuse themselves before the movie starts
   And slip away

Spies try to syncopate their every step
Spies disappear for days to build their rep
Spies got too much they wanna do
Spies always leave a tiny tip

Spies bug and document each place they stay
Spies change their iris color every day
Spies keep one hand just out of view
Spies make a point to lose their way

   Sun-starved skin and love-sick eyes
   Leopard dresses, leather ties
   Double-breasted trenchcoats, very smart
   Classified tattoos over their hearts
   Excuse themselves before the movie starts
   And slip away

Mysteries are oceans, enigmas shallow bays
They’d keep on wearing wetsuits even if it didn’t pay
Conspiracies are mountains, and secrets little hills
They’d keep on climbing even if it didn’t pay the bills

   Sun-starved skin and love-sick eyes
   Leopard dresses, leather ties
   Double-breasted trenchcoats, very smart
   Classified tattoos over their hearts
   Excuse themselves before the movie starts
   And slip away

© Copyright 1999-2012 Nate Orshan

Who’s that guy playing all the tasty electric guitar? None other than my friend and musical hero, Matt McCarthy, who also recorded and assembled the tune on a desktop PC in a bygone age where they laughed at you if you even thought of doing anything creative in a non-Mac environment. Matt: 1. Mac: 0.


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