City Escape

City Escape

Introduction

City Escape is the first song in the story to feature a full band, somehow still managing to give us a new idea of what to expect three songs in. It’s also the first song to really have an event we can put on a timeline. This is where the core of the story begins to take shape, and this is the cool chase scene that you see in the beginning of action movies. Here we follow Hunter’s mother, Ms. Terri, as she escapes the city with her son. Ms. Terri is a sex worker, working in a brothel called the Dime, employed by the Pimp. (At least with simple names, everything is easy to keep track of). Wanting a better life for her son, she sets fire to the Dime as a distraction and takes haven in the River, which leads her to her new home at the Lake and the Tree.


Into The Lyrics

Lyrics

Please, what happened to the flame?
(It burned down the sides)
With a fondness for cooking history, revealing thoughts of Ms Terri
In the heat of the night, a woman wealthy of a parous plight erased a harlots life

Plagued by practical and a mercenary lust they tear at her skin
(The trouble began, but it never ended)
Clawing at her throat with a smell of desperate and a lack of regret
(The trouble began, but it never ended)

Free, pardoned by the flame.
(That burned down the sides)
Her feet began to bleed between the seams, but she persisted to the streets
In the heat of the night, the river rendered the chance she surely needs to stay alive

Plagued by practical and a mercenary lust they tear at her at her skin
(The trouble began, but it never ended)
Clawing at her throat with a smell of desperate and a lack of regret
(The trouble began, but it never ended)

Oh, but her breath escapes her
Oh, but the pulse remains
Oh, but her breath escapes her
Oh, but her pulse remains

Places, People, the stage is set
Places, People, the stage is set

Plagued by practical and a mercenary lust they tear at her at her skin
(The trouble began, but it never ended)
Clawing at her throat with a smell of desperate and a lack of regret
(The trouble began, but it never ended)

Analysis

Starting off we already have the Dime on fire. We get a few lines with some wordplay on fire, finished off with a line that's quite a mouthful. 'A woman wealthy of a parous plight' leads us to believe that Ms. Terri is either pregnant or has just birthed. I'm personally leaning towards Hunter already being born at this point, but I could be wrong. By running away and cutting ties with the Dime, she's erasing the life of a harlot that she has lead up until now.

The whole chorus I think is just to set up how she felt about her work life. It seems like something she is not fond of, but did anyways as a means to get by.

I’m not sure whether the fire becomes large enough to cause real damage, or if the employees at the Dime are able to put it out. Either way it buys her enough time as she runs through the city. By now the Pimp has sent people to go looking for her, so she hides in the river nearby.

In this next part, people have said that she was caught and beat by the Pimps men, reasoning why she can't breath, but still has a pulse. While a large number of people seem to agree, I always interpreted this line as her simply being out of breath from running. My copy of the Act I graphic novel is in storage so I can't double check for details at the time of writing this.

'Places, People, the stage is set', is Casey setting up the theme for the story. With Act I there's a lot of relating the story to a play or musical, although he seemed to move away from this idea after Act I. The later albums seem more set into the story and setting, rather than portraying a third-person perspective watching these events.


Into The Music

This song jumps right into a hard hitting melody, subtly moving out of the Dorian feel we had in The Lake South into D harmonic minor. The drums lock in with the guitars, hitting notes at the same time while also playing quarter notes on the cymbals to keep time. Even the fills that the guitar plays are matched up with drum fills playing the same sixteenth note groupings together. After a few measures another guitar comes in on top tremolo picking to add more layers in the mix.

 The guitar doesn’t play any direct progression, but I labeled what it felt like the guitar was outlining in this section.

The guitar doesn’t play any direct progression, but I labeled what it felt like the guitar was outlining in this section.

When the vocals come in we have the rest of the instruments take a backseat. The drums play a softer beat with some side stick, while the guitars and bass play some syncopated notes. This section goes into using natural minor instead of harmonic, although we do see that leading tone come back for the A7 at the end to give us a strong resolution back to the tonic. The first time around, there’s an extra beat thrown in before it repeats the verse section.

The prechorus brings some vocal harmonies that layer in on top of each other to create some chords. There’s a faint piano in the background that can be heard playing some arpeggios, along with a bass line moving around the same chords. The chorus brings back the same rhythm as the intro to the song, but with the guitar playing chords instead this time. Right after the chorus we get some backup vocals moving around Dm and A7, accompanied by some percussive sound effects.

The next time we come to the verse, we have a piano accompanying the other instruments, giving us a little bit of counterpoint to the guitar at times. Instead of a prechorus this time, we move into a section where the guitar has multiple effects stacked onto it, as it slowly detunes over time. After a while the pitch comes back up and meets some sound effects to drive us back into another chorus.

The piano arpeggios from the prechorus comes back here in the bridge, this time singled out. When the vocals come in, we hear Casey sing the phrase ‘Oh, but her breath escapes her. Oh, but the pulse remains’, but behind that we also get the vocals and bass from the prechorus to join the piano again. After that it goes back to the piano piece alone, but with this time an added left hand part to outline the chords with it.

Next we go into the ‘Places, People’ section. This section is mostly vocal harmonies over the piano part, but I can’t help but think I’m hearing a bit more than that. It sounds like there’s a slide guitar really quite in the mix at some parts, and there’s even one vocal part that sounds like it has separate lines than the rest. The very high melody comes in saying ‘Places, People’ just after the rest of them, but then it sounds like it’s saying ‘Up above me’ right after that. It does it on both repeats, but I’m not sure how to edit the audio to bring it out more. If anyone knows how to do that feel free to let me know if there’s actually anything else there, because now that I’ve heard it I’m going to be bothered until I have an answer. If that is there, I’m not sure exactly what it could mean. In some of the later acts he refers to ‘up above’ being some sort of afterlife, although I don’t know how that relates to this break of the fourth wall section.

We get another chorus after that, and the song finishes off with a piano reprise from ‘The Lake South’.


Personal Thoughts

This song was a lot of fun to go through, learning how all of the parts fit together. I got to practice transcribing some, and playing this song on guitar feels really nice because of all the fun rhythms. This one took me a while to write up because there’s a lot more to this song than the last two, and also I procrastinate a lot. Since my first post I’ve added an email subscription down at the bottom of the page if you want to be notified when I upload these, I promise I’ll only send emails when I post a song and won’t be a nuisance. If you have anything you want to add on for this song, or you have any suggestions for me for future posts, feel free to leave a comment.

The Inquiry of Ms. Terri

The Inquiry of Ms. Terri

The Lake South

The Lake South