Sometimes it takes a couple listens for a song to sink in; to grow on you. Then a there are songs you just can't get out of your head after one listen. Germans call that kind of song an ear worm because it bores into your brain and begs another and another listen.
"Human Drama" by Truth Panel is somewhere in between. I call these kinds of songs brain itches. They kind of emerge. You like a song on the first listen but it doesn't blow you away. Then, after another listen or two you find yourself humming it and you realize you want to hear it again. Then again. Then again -- like a tingle that will only go away after enough scratching.
The story behind this song is interesting. It was penned in a Toronto bar on New Years Eve 1989 by Bill Nygren and over time he's played it with a number of bands. While writing the lyrics, Bill was immobilized with a plaster cast on his leg which prevented him from participating in the revelry so he sat back and watched as his friends, who worked at the bar, and his fellow patrons celebrated the turn of the decade.
As Bill explains in his notes about this song, "... and the image that caught my attention? It was that of a very hard working waitress, struggling with the insanity of the evening's demands, who never the less, kept her cool and good humour with a grace, dignity and ultimately beauty that was hard not to be fascinated by.
And because I actually knew her and her life story quite well, this lyric jumped from pen to napkin over the course of the balance of the evening, the melody waiting to be born back home once deposited there by an equally hard working and harried cabbie. He actually stopped for me on the street, un-hailed as he had noticed me meandering down Bloor Street on crutches; negotiating the growing snow banks with little success in the dawning hours of a new decade. That kindness? Yet another example that the observation of a "tiny human drama" can drive someone to action.
The recording of this song has the feel of a demo, not a completely polished track but the essence, energy and feeling come through and make it obvious to the listener that the song is a keeper. There's character in Nygren's voice; a rough, raspy fun bar-band sound that makes you want to hear more music by these guys.
To hear the song and learn more about the band click the button below.
"Human Drama" by Truth Panel