Updated: Aug 30, 2020
“Tomorrow may be too late
Make love on a roller skate….”
Perhaps the portion of the lyric I’ve quoted above should come with a “Do Not Try This At Home” health warning. Depends how adventurous you are, or if you have protective headgear available.
The main part of “Tomorrow May Be Too Late” was written around 2008. The “Angry Eyes” section was a separate song fragment that just happened to follow the same chord progression (well, almost) and I thought it complimented the first piece lyrically in its downbeat observation. The whole song developed into a kind of self-help manual. As far as I can remember, I was going through one of those lousy periods of “imposter syndrome” that punctuated my attempts down the years at progress in music, or what I perceived to be progress. I’ve mentioned this before and it is still true - in those days, I was invariably too harsh on myself. I was always trying to do the best I could, but this song was hinting at a negative attitude I had that was persistently lurking beneath the surface and I was trying to talk myself out of it.
Thankfully, these days I don’t give as much of a toss about those self-defeating impulses. Being that bit older seems to have enabled a bit of perspective. I can see the song being a little rallying cry for someone else wanting to positively change their own life.
The recording was created using a mix of guitar amp simulation and a miked-up Fender Deluxe tube amp. The real amp sound gave a bit of extra body to the rhythm playing in the middle eights – the parts beginning “Ring up……” and “Roll up….”. As I recall, I played the Strat on all rhythm tracks, probably using the bridge humbucker option. The picked notes in the verses sound like the Hofner Verythin on a trebly setting. I never made project notes at the time, which is as unprofessional as it gets for anyone claiming to have a recording space. At least I still have all the stems from the original sessions.
I believe the song’s main melodic theme pitted against the “Angry Eyes” section at the end is a half-decent example of counterpoint. Wikipedia defines this as “the relationship between two or more musical lines which are harmonically interdependent yet independent in rhythm and melodic contour”. That sounds, to my untrained ear, like what is happening in the coda. In fact, there are three intertwining motifs occurring very near the fade out when the ascent of the odd-sounding organ kicks in. Howard Goodall, in his BBC documentary about the making of Sergeant Pepper, mentions counterpoint in his assessment of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. When John starts singing “Picture yourself in a boat……etc”, there is his vocal line along with the tinkling melody of the mellotron and Paul’s meandering bass line.
The solo is interesting as it shows off the tremolo arm and Sustainiac coming out backwards. In Cubase, it’s easy enough to flip the audio file around to play back in the opposite direction and, in this case, it gave a pleasing kind of drone quality to the lead break. Adrian Belew – eat your heart out.