Neon Bedroom / Cruel Moon – Glasvegas

I wanted to record my own version of Neon Bedroom by Glasvegas ever since learning that it was originally written for a girl – apparently, a “female pop star…”

 


Neon Bedroom – Taken from  Later…When the TV Turns to Static
Cruel Moon – Taken from A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) E.P
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 Track Image by Louise Karlund

As Glasvegas songwriter and frontman, James Allan explained during a performance recorded exclusively for the Deluxe Almanac ~ Later…When The TV Turns To Static –
Neon Bedroom is about “a teenage lassie that has a forbidden love or crush on an older man, and she takes the long cut home from school everyday to try and look in his window”
Ultimately, James decided to keep Neon Bedroom for himself and has also refused to name the female pop star that the song was intended for.
During an interview with The Quietus  he explains, “I think it’d be funnier just to not say, because then it was like a wee secret.”

Glasvegas by Dean Hindmarch - I missed this secret gig, at a festival I was asked to perform at. Devastated is NOT the word. :(

I missed this secret gig, because I am an IDIOT. Photo Credit: Dean Hindmarch –

After then being asked what it was like to sing from the perspective of a teenage girl he laughed and said,

I guess what the essence of the song is a crush, like a forbidden love, like touching something from afar. And I’m sure in some ways it’s about fantasising. And, aye it’s maybe in a creepy way, and maybe a way that’s… no sordid or anything like that, but I guess everybody’s got some touches of that in them at some points in their life. So I feel alright to sort of imagine watching somebody from afar. There’s almost something quite secretive about the song, and I’m sure there’s points in my life where I’ve no felt like a teenage girl, but I could still write the song and get into it.”

By lyrical contrast, “Cruel Moon” – which features on A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) E.P addresses the subject of homelessness during cold, harsh seasons.

Neon Bedroom / Cruel Moon are two Glasvegas songs I spliced together; a few verses of Neon Bedroom with a tiny bit of Cruel Moon added onto the end. I’ve always been interested in the way songs can change or be played out differently depending on whether they’re sung from a male or female perspective. For example, the time I recorded “Wives and Lovers” – a Burt Bacharach song which most consider to be extremely sexist (toward women). With Neon Bedroom, I mostly just liked the idea of fulfilling the song’s original intention and singing it from a female perspective. I went for a slightly different approach in rhythm; a 6/8 gentle sway with a slight 50’s vibe. I ran away with the song’s Del Shannon, “wah, wah, wah, wah wonder” reference and I also wanted to add an excerpt of Cruel Moon at the end because I felt that it added an interesting dark lyrical twist to the overall theme of Neon Bedroom; the final words serve as a warning to all that obsession isn’t just for teenage girls; it can happen to anyone of us.

You can download my little Glasvegas tribute here for no pennies.
Please check out the originals of Neon Bedroom and Cruel Moon by Glasvegas if you don’t already know them.


Glasvegas at Meet The North / Hit The North Festival 2018

I’m admittedly quite oblivious to lots of things; the media and ‘things that are happening in the world’ so I actually got into Glasvegas some time after the initial success of their self titled debut album. I found myself to be very taken with them after watching footage of their live performance from Glastonbury 2009.

I loved their intense, raw energy, their simplistic – yet highly complementary rhythm section, Rab Allan’s guitar; singular sustained notes drenched with reverberated, tremolando – sometimes slightly reminiscent of bagpipes. I loved that they had an ever so slight 50’s vibe in their chord structures and melodies. Above all – I felt smitten with James’s voice and it’s unique characteristics; his vocals are at times, abrasive and cutting, and yet somehow poignantly so. I love the way his voice breaks; that rasping, growling quality of his lower range. You sense the emotion in the delivery of their music immediately, then later the words sink in – which are masterful and highly empathetic, much like adding the final touches to the eyes of a portrait.
It’s easy to fall in love with Glasvegas.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to perform at Newcastle’s “Hit the North / Meet the North” festival (2018) but sadly had to turn down the offer – for rather stupid reasons may I add.
Upon later learning that Glasvegas turned up as a secret act  –  I was devastated!
I’ve seen Glasvegas a handful of times – the first time was at Hawick, Scotland on their extremely random, obscure Scottish towns mini tour!
I own a t shirt, all their albums, badges, setlists, lyric sheets and a Deluxe Almanac.
James once kissed my hand during a performance of “Be my baby” and another time gave his beer to my friend. (She still has the bottle.)
I’ll be going to see them on their their 10th anniversary of Glasvegas, self titled, debut album tour.

You get the point I’m trying to make here, right?
Yes… I’m a bit of a shameless fan girl; you can probably imagine how I felt knowing I’d missed out on playing the same festival as one of my favourite bands.


Neon Bedroom / Cruel Moon – a fan tribute to Glasvegas by Girl From Winter Jargon

As mentioned previously, the idea of covering Neon Bedroom had already been in my head for sometime – I just hadn’t quite got round to doing anything about it yet. It later felt more appropriate to record my version of it in the wake of such personal disappointment, like a self soothing catharsis. In some ways I think the background story and my personal motivation to perform the song also draws a bit of a strange parallel too. That feeling of awe we sometimes feel toward others can very easily lead to self deprecation. It’s that classic, “but I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo…” thing; feeling like you’re out of your depth and out of your league. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit openly. For years, Thom Yorke felt persecuted by his own lyrical honestly. Who wants to be remembered as a poster child for unrequited love and teenage pining? It’s an unwanted legacy; a shameful piece of clothing that no one wants to wear. And yet, that same honesty seems to be what James Allan thrives on. He taps easily and empathetically into other people’s shoes and skins and gives a voice to his chosen protagonist, whether a social worker, a prisoner or a teenage girl with a serious crush.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to start getting creepy and turning into some sort of stalker-girl, peering from outside into the windows of each member of Glasvegas…
but my performance was still sung 100% from a fan perspective and from a personal feeling of loss; a crushed desperation to ‘touch something from afar’ as it were.

My version of Neon Bedroom / Cruel Moon by Glasvegas can be heard and downloaded for free here:


“Neon Bedroom” and “Cruel Moon” by Glasvegas
Night times falling soon
To your neighbourhood I return to you
A crush clear as your window I’m looking through
A curiosity somehow invisible to you
I wonder what happens in your neon bedroom

I spy with my little eye something beginning with yo
Approaching your home widens my eyes of blue
The flickering of the TV makes a silhouette of you
A strobe, a mystery I want into
Into your neon bedroom

I’m someone younger, I’m someone new
If you must you pretend then I’ll pretend too
Between your four walls I picture me there soon
Still I remain a stranger in your avenue
Still you remain a curiosity I can’t help hold onto
In your neon bedroom

I know its late and you’re thinking I’m crazy
I shared the same dreams as you yesterday
you think this is a world away
beware of darkness
for this could be you someday
under this cruel moon.


My version of Neon Bedroom / Cruel Moon by Glasvegas can be heard and downloaded for free here:
Track Image by Louise Karlund