The Millennium's "Prelude / To Claudia on Thursday"

Songwriting Analysis

11/21/20237 min read

Creativity is one of the most unpredictable and fleeting things that many of us rely on for our way of life. We have such a dependency on the next big idea and without creating something of value we may not be able to put food on the table. That's the short-term day to day reality of a songwriter. There's a certain type of person who feels compelled to create. It has a way of becoming our identity as whole. Creating is our way of giving back to the world and our creative endeavors tend to outlive us as individuals on this earth. It's almost mankind's way of dealing with our own mortality. The works of Bach will be played for millennia to come. The permanence of creating art is really something that's been on my mind a lot lately. It's almost the most long-term investment one can make. Money will come and go. Countries will change, governments will fall, pop culture will change with the times, the currency will collapse. One day everything you own may just burn to the ground. When you start to realize this, something about creating a timeless piece of art really gives you peace of mind. The more you share with the world, the more security and permanence this investment seems to develop. With the digital age things have a way of popping up all over and good music somehow never loses an audience. No longer can music be lost to somebody's sock drawer or an old cassette that's been played too many times to be listenable. It starts to become more than just writing the next song. Writing a song becomes your gift to the world. As technology changes and times change with it, there are artists out there that have really found a whole new audience. An audience that they may have never expected they'd have especially decades later. The Millennium is one such artist.

This is a band that I've been exposed to primarily by younger people in my life. I've had many people bring in their songs as something they'd like to learn, mix references or as songs they would like to play on a gig. It amazes me how many older people and people that were alive during the height of this bands career haven't ever heard of them, yet younger people seem to know this band very well. It may be proof that some bands are just ahead of their times and that audiences aren't limited to how many people you can fit in a live venue or how much radio play you get. The audience is something that grows and develops over time and the creative individual should always be aware of this when they feel they aren't reaching enough ears after a new release.

This band has proven to me a lot of things that I guess deep down I always knew about music. A good song will always find an audience. The cutting edge of music isn't always the best place to be at the moment but it will pay off in the future to be ahead of the times. A good melody will never sound dated or stuck in it's times. Your creative gift to the world has value whether or not you see the return on it within your lifetime. All those beliefs I have are always further reinforced by bands and songs like this one.

"Prelude" into "To Claudia on Thursday" is one of my favorite parts of this album. The album as a whole is a masterpiece of production, audio engineering, songwriting and playing. Everything from the guitar tones to the drum sounds. The production really rivals if not exceeds the work done on Abby Road or Sgt. Pepper but has some of the same "edge" that Revolver has. The melodic sensibilities of Curt Boettcher are pretty unmatched. A lot of songs from this era sound great and are well written but have a quality to them that just makes them sound a bit dated. Curt's writing never feels this way. These songs all sound like they could've come out yesterday. Even Curt's singing style is very modern sounding and he has such a pleasant voice to listen to.

The song starts out with a harpsichord and percussion. When the drums come in you can just hear that vintage compressed drum sound. Even with the drums sounding vintage the drums sound extremely well mixed and punchy for their era. Tubas and organs enter. Soon the harpsichord plays staccato on one note for a few measures while the Tuba and left hand on the piano take over what will become the bass line of the next song.

We fade into the next tune. Nice open acoustic guitar chords greet us with an uplifting strumming pattern while the percussion plays a latin clave type rhythm. The bass moves back and forth from the higher register to the lower register while Curt's vocals do the same. Organ plays very subtly as Curt's voice goes into it's higher register.

For the Chorus we get some very busy bass lines and guitars. Glockenspiel comes in playing it's own melody that matches the doubled and harmonized background vocals that are slowly building. "Love will reflect in your eyes" is where the melody and arrangement really sores high. The chord changes and harmony here is very fascinating to me. It breaks down and falls back into another verse.

This song is so skillful and well executed. There's not a moment where the arrangement feels like it drags on or isn't serving the song. It never distracts you from Curt's vocal. It's all so well done and all of the elements are mixed perfectly. They're present enough without ever getting in the way. The lyrics in this song are just so feel-good. You can't help but smile when you listen to this song.

"Take off your shoes and feel the grass
Lie back and let the hours pass
Don't give a thought to anything in the world but you and me"

This song just makes you want to sit in the sun with your shoes off with somebody you love or with a few good friends. You feel no urgency. Like the world is standing still. Curt is giving you permission to not take the day to day challenges in your life too seriously. I like to play this song during a stressful day at work to kind of bring me back down to earth. It reminds me that no matter what I'm dealing with at the moment, there will be another opportunity to feel the grass in my feet and just relax and think about the people I love. Something so simple but reassuring in times of struggle.

"Let the heavens kiss you with the breeze
Let the sunshine see you through the trees
Don't give a thought to anything in the world but you and me"

This song is telling you to just be in the moment. It's reminding you that the world isn't such a scary place. It's reminding you what it was like to just be a child and go out in the sun and feel the wind against your skin. The song let's you just experience that freedom and tells you it is okay to take some time away from your troubles in life.

"Just take your time and let me get into your smile
Relax and find just what we can feel for a while"

This line serves as a reminder to me a lot of the time. If we really want to get to know the people around us we need to prioritize a relaxed environment around them. So many of my friends I only get to see in the stressful work environment or at a stressful gig. This song reminds you that some of the best moments of your life came when you expected nothing out of the day. You never know what you're going to find and being present and relaxed is the first step to experiencing something. If you close yourself off or have too big an expectation, you will just be disappointed.

"Open up your heart and breathe the air
Let the wind and light play in your hair
Don't give a thought to anything in the world but you and me"

More lyrics about just being present and in the moment. It's very effective in setting the tone for the song. Such a simple message but every time I hear this song it just works and puts me in a better mood.

"Just take a look and see all the love in the sky
And when you do the love will reflect in your eye"

People really are what they see in this world. If you only see conflict or everything that is going wrong in the world you will internalize it. You then externalize it when you meet new people. If you see good in the world, people will see good in you. It's a really simple concept and this is a brilliant way of expressing this phenomenon lyrically. It's great to be reminded that all we have to do to benefit from this world and the people in it is to see the beauty of it all. Soak it all in like sponge and you will shine brighter than anybody else.

"Sing me a song without a sound
And I will hear it through the ground
Don't give a thought to anything in the world but you and me
And everyone"

Sometimes this force and law of attraction works without any action. We can just sense the energy. We don't always have to say things for them to be communicated effectively. When we are at peace we present the best image of ourselves to the world. Truly being relaxed around somebody really changes the way you communicate with them. If you can get your minds and relationship to that level, you just look at each other and know what you are thinking. There's something very real about it.

I just think this a beautiful song and every time I hear it I am given permission to escape for just a moment. I love songs that do this. It's nice to be filled with such wonder and excitement for life. It makes me take a second and feel the grass between my toes or the sunlight on my face. I can just be present with this song in a way that feels truly therapeutic. It's ultimately a song about our relationships with each other and the planet as a whole. How being in touch with this cosmic force can only lead to a happier and more fulfilling existence. Go give it a listen!