Nick Eng breaks down the 10 tracks on his new album, Long Shot, to be released in CD and digital versions on April 6:
CD cover for Nick Eng’s Long Shot. Photo courtesy of Tweaking Reality Studios
- For Tonight
Probably the crown jewel of this album. Very late ’70s Billy Joel and solo McCartney in nature. There are some jazz chords and offbeat patterns in there that add sourness and tension. It’s more or less a one-night-stand song. You spend the evening with them, get infatuated, get strung along, but you kind of like the way it feels. I’m a glutton for punishment. It’s definitely a single. There’s a music video coming out for this one very soon.
- Too Good For Anyone
It wasn’t really about anyone in particular. I had the riff, and I was going for a combination of Weezer and Revolver-era Beatles. There’s a dash of Tom Petty in there, too, with the yelp before the solo. Dope Nose, She Said, She Said and You Wreck Me were influencers from the respective artists. It’s out as a single now; we just polished it up for the album.
I’d written it a while ago. Always liked it, but didn’t want to release it as a single. It’s a nice breather from the two opening tracks, which kind of hit you hard. I was going for a folksy Eagles vibe with that wall of harmony. I used a 12-string guitar to mimic a mandolin to get that breezy, warm feeling. It was written during a sad bout and not an angry one. In rehearsals, we actually joke around and say, “That stupid *insert explicative*,” so we have fun with it!
- Between You and Me
I was trying to capture the frustration of a long and loving relationship that’s reached its end. The honeymoon phase is long over, and you start pointing fingers and blaming each other for your own insecurities. But there’s also that knowledge that both of you are probably to blame for something, and you’re both upset that it’s ending. There’s still an attachment there, which is maybe why I still sound likable in it.
- Mad Abby
I like this one a lot, it’s one of my favorites. I think it’s probably the track that’s closest to my earlier work. Very clean, lots of chord changes, and driving, but the lyrics really cut. They’re very intricate actually, it’s got a good rhyme scheme. The end of the pre-choruses go into the end of the chorus: “. . . I gave it time and slowed down my advance” into the chorus “. . . Now she won’t even spare a passing glance/I missed my chance/With Mad Abby.” Advance, glance, chance. I don’t think I was going for any style with this one, which is maybe why it feels so . . . me.
- Right For You
This one is very personal to me, it’s another favorite. After I broke up with my last girlfriend, I couldn’t write a thing. I couldn’t gather my feelings properly, and I was just trying to move on with my life. Finally, this one came along and it was very effortless when it did. I think I was influenced by Ed Sheeran or Jim Croce with the stylistic approach. Very percussive guitar playing. It’s got that little bit of palm slapping with the rhythm. It’s my Yesterday.
Yes, this one didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. It’s pretty self-pitying and a little wimpy. It’s a needy and whiny song, but it fits with the album. This one had a lot of studio hang-ups, too, so it’s kind of the ugly duckling. I based it off of Tom Petty’s Learning to Fly, the Beatles’ I’ll Be Back, and Rayland Baxter’s 79 Shiny Revolvers, all of which are far better songs.
- Maybe Tomorrow
This one is another filler, but I really like it a lot. It just sounds so good. We were scratching our heads in the studio on what to put in to spice it up, and just a simple vocal delay did the trick. It’s a great, atmospheric track. 12-string, huge drum fills, good effects. It’s about a guy who’s coming onto a girl who’s already in a relationship. They both kind of want one another, but there’s a nonchalant-ness to their feelings. It’s a hookup song.
- It’s Alright
I was listening to a lot of the band Cake during the making of this album, and I loved how much synth and keyboard modulation they use in their tunes. “Long Line of Cars” has a great, almost theremin-like keyboard melody. So we went into It’s Alright with that in mind. It just seemed to hit the spot. It’s a little bit punk, in the most watered-down form. It goes back to that denial theme and the enjoyment of the chase.
- Nobody Knows
Not my favorite track, but it’s a good closer. It was written the night before our last studio session, and you can hear my exhaustion in it. It’s very tender compared to the other songs, so it’s got good variety. I think I was trying to do an acoustic White Album track, like Julia or Blackbird.