Fundamental approach to The Futurist: 1 track @ at time

Apologies in advance if this is the millionest time I’ve discussed this album or Robert Downey in general.
As long as he makes me feel like this, I’m not changing any time soon.

 

Every time I give the album a listen, no matter the circumstances and whatnot, I always tend to worry that my first impression of it will tank… that I won’t like the first couple songs, or even enjoy my personal favorites… because of some personal drama or the fact I picked a horrible time to listen to it.
Usually when my mind is somewhere else.

 

It always kinda starts in the realm of uncertainity. It takes me a long time sometimes to determine if the ride will be good or not.
Sooner rather than later, it’s going to get repetitive. But on the positive, despite the fact I know most of the tracks like the back of my hand (as they’re always in the back of my mind somewhere), that isn’t getting in the way of it.

In fact, although it took maybe 30-40 seconds to completely settle down into the realm of that first track, I got the most of this listen to the voice of this wonderful man that I have in the past couple months.

And for the record, personal things were coming to the foreground here, but the mission wasn’t aborted, nor did I divert too far off course that I couldn’t find my way back.

Those following my blog (don’t know how many are out there) know that I’ve been working off & on with sporadic periods of passion to find an agent to publish Jonas’s Story. Otherwise titled as “Nina & The Voice in the Wind”
I write it more from Nina’s perspective even though it’s in the 3rd person POV, but the story is more about “the voice” than her. Finding more about him the way she is.

The title track often makes me think about the future, taking the walk while the likes of Robert and his wife Susan “sage the world” because they’ve already taken the walk, know what they want in life and are quite comfortable with it.
Without my intention, the song slowly made me consider my position and whether or not I want to proceed with it. Mentally and even physically (my body was reacting in response to the insinuation), I felt weighed down and exhausted… like “I don’t know if I can continue doing this if nothing is going to come out of it.”

I want to say that I got a good feeling about it and I know that this time something is going to happen…
but I’ve been here so many times that I can’t afford to get too hopeful. Or invest too much of myself in this, or otherwise everything about me, body & mind is going to crash to a point where it might not recover…

or it’ll take a couple years for me to attempt this again.

I just got to thinking that I really ought to work to not only enhance/finesse/fine-tune my vision, but I’ve got to promote the hell out of it.
I gotta carve that bar of soap and sell it like I’m selling… eee… my life’s blood… blood, sweat and tears probably works just as well… selling soap as if my life depended on it to the point of a crash and burn if nothing comes of it. I kinda wish I could make this habit last longer than a week or even a month, my usual. I tend to put in more hours per day than days per week/month into these things. That adds to the crashing potential.

 

My curiosity and even a little eagerness came out of the woodwork during the next set of songs as I considered my options.
Publication or Bust! That’s about it… and I’ve got a huge list of brand new agents to the industry to get through. For sure, that’ll put me in a better position than approaching the agents with obscene workloads to the point I won’t be considered cuz of every other query in their slush pile

I actually felt hopeful rather than brought down by the end of “Little Clownz” which is about wanting to have hope. and I started to believe his words as if they could be mine.
might just turn the world around…

Some songs were more interesting than others, but I’ll get down to the reasoning behind my entry’s title.

I’ve been having the greatest amount of trouble not only finding the words to write about a character remotely similar to this guy (can’t hang on Julian’s “coat tails” forever)… writing poetry has been a letdown (yeah, after only 2 unproductive days I’m giving up for the time being)…
all because I know for a fact that nothing I write will be anywhere near what his record holds. It describes every aspect of him so well, despite the incoherent lyrics, that I couldn’t even fathom the idea of trying to write anything about him to describe him.
Much as it is with songwriting, it’s an impossibly daunting task because I’m in so in-tune to other people’s music, heck I figure a lot of it out on my keyboard that it’s impossible to write anything original . Cuz I feel like something I’ve heard will come in and hello copyright infringement.

Everyone else I know in the industry (through their music, not personally) is so talented and articulate at what they do that they will describe situations I want to write about so well that I could basically say the same thing. Our thoughts and feelings literally overlap.

 

Prince influenced me in a way (one of many, my friends) that I will sometimes look at certain albums as entire products, rather than my favorite songs and the ones I can’t listen to.
The entire vibe of certain albums has won me over in ways I could have scarcely dreamed about.

Examples of this include “Fearless” by Taylor Swift, heck JMac succeeded with “Right where you want me” for a while… and “The Futurist” and “Born this way” are my two more recent acquistions in which I think this way… The Fame Monster might also join the ranks after I give it a few more listens

I like to see the whole of The Futurist but oddly enough, despite the fact the songs all come from one person and I listen to the whole album so frequently that it’s impossible to think of it as a whole without even one or two songs (“Your Move” doesn’t count in this because he didn’t write it, so I don’t feel as if it adds to anything regarding this personal revolution)

Maybe half way through “Man like me,” I was beside myself. Each song is a different story and therefore I’m starting to see them as such. They come from a different part of him and the message changes with each song.

 

“Man like me” in general is so profound and is so brilliant because it accomplishes it’s goal and conveys its message in 3 minutes… very few songs have that gift, at least the one I’m well versed with.
These lyrics may or may not be connected in this one story, but they all come from different experiences.

the night he’s been dreaming about, I’m still not sure. Is it the night he’s going to propose (which I believe he did propose to Susan just before midnight of the day she turned 30… gotta double-check though, the age difference doesn’t seem all that huge)… or is it the night decides to finally stick to soberity (i.e. “the rat hole”)
I think I also read that the line about him “not showing up on Monday” and them “eat[ing] their hats” wasn’t written by him, it was someone else’s contribution… but it does kinda work… if he’s going to the other side of town to propose and he’d gladly skip work to be with this woman, the committment sounds like a huge step.

5-10 years ago, he wouldn’t have been a safe bet/lottery winner (or so he said to the girls on “The View” the time he was promoting this record)… cuz this is the umpteenth time he’s gone down this path of saying he’ll stay clean but relapses, of course there’s going to be skepticism from the other party. Which I’m assuming could be his gal’s mother… but could also be her sister or best friend that says she’d be “throwing her life away” to be with him…

the 2nd verse starts on a very real plane… all too real for him, where he says he’s been trying to clean up for a long time and is weary from this last time… but in the end the past doesn’t matter because he’s found that happiness he’s been searching for for a long time.

In a nutshell, that’s the most recent chapter of the Robert Downey Jr. story… cleaning up and healing at last after all these years…

Then it seems that the rest of the songs are about the old days, prior engagements, insecurities and revelations.

 

“Broken” he said was about former Mrs. Downey, Deborah (dammit i can’t spell, lol) Falconer… and I suspect that it talks about him trying to find love after her, but it’s hard to open himself up to someone else, not knowing if a separation will occur in which his heart will be wounded beyond supposed repair.
I also don’t know if Susan came into any of the thinking on writing this track… but for the time being I’ll assume it relates to all other relationships and girlfriends after his ex-wife. Saying that he’s not the best person to be around because he’s so down on himself that everyone will come crashing down with him… the searching and the process of healing seem more at the forefront than an actual storyline with this track.
Again the lyrics in some parts are somewhat incoherent to me, in the way I don’t see what relevance they have to the situation

The only thing I really know about “Kimberly Glide” is that it was inspired by the passing of a sister of a friend, someone that seemed to have meant a good deal to him. Oddly, the things coming to mind for me to write about the previous song could also be related this song as well. This song was running through my head while talking about “Broken”

It’s probably been a while since she passed when he’s spending time with her family. She’s still very much alive to them and they’re still dealing with the loss.
He tells somewhat of a bewitching tale of her spirit being with “cactus angels” and how she comes back for “a rare reunion” and in the 3rd verse, he sees her and is spell-bound by her presence. Or rather, knocked for a loop. Then there’s a final bridge where she says she wants to stay forever and in response he said that they were as wary of saying that when she was alive and whenever they got together. The whole idea of not holding on too tight because it’ll make the loss that much more painful. She’s making the journey back to him past “the pitiful port of sandy sunny San Diego”… strangely it sounds like she was able to come back because he was there and she was there to see him specifically

All the while, he’s talking about how he doesn’t want to be hindered by the reminders of the loss or the idea of it because he had just “settled in for the winter”… supposedly in the time that passed after her loss, he has found a way to heal, but I suspect the healing process is more in himself rather having to do with the grieving process.
“I’m a man now, turned out ok, perfect somehow”

I’ve gotten to figure out most of the songs and what it means… but it’s very mystifying and mysterious. As is the realm of the afterlife and angels and all that paranormal stuff.
The piano keystrokes and the strings are an amazing combination to create this atmosphere of infinite possibility.

So I guess it makes good sense that The Futurist follows this track. In a different key and vibe entirely, it discusses the realm of impossibility and the unknown. The future itself being of that nature.
I spent half of this trying to listen to the song (in the back of my mind trying to remain coherently interested cuz this was around the point last time where my mind was starting to settle into sleep mode and I wanted to be awake for the rest of the album)… and the other half considering my position.
Almost as if inspired, I considered that after it was all said and done, I’d fall asleep trying to relive Jonas’s Story, trying to run it through in my head to begin figuring out what it is I’m trying to sell here.

Spoiler alert: my mind didn’t get to go into that conversation and drifted into a non-productive place, certainly not in that particular realm of my story-writing universe.

The message is pretty clear, despite the lyrics making little to no sense (I really hate it when he seems to leave an incomplete sentence at the end of a verse, but there’s nothing I can really do to change that)… for once, his future is clear and Susan is the one he’s discussing in the cryptic verses… he’s content in the fact they’re going to be together for the rest of their lives and they won’t have to search for their missing puzzle piece anymore. They’ll work to “sage the world” while the others take the same walk they did to reach this place of peaceful resolution.
My mind started exploring more possibilities of ways to promote my story and things I can still do to change and continuously tweak it

“[dude], [it] is coming out in 11 minutes, we need to wrap this up.”
Or so Robert heard something similar in the studio when he was trying to put the finishing touches on each of his songs.

I guess perfectionism is something we all struggle with at some point. All kinds of things he said about it were coming to mind throughout the night… on the view he said that he liked being automonous about the record, but the downside is that the only one he can blame if it sucks is him…

I believe he also said the following to Johnathan Ross
“I’ve been writing songs for a long time” and…
“well they don’t suck so I wasn’t ashamed of them”

Also made a comment on The View about probably not doing this again because he didn’t get the money back for it. (of course being the dope I am, I had to wave my hand at a video and say that I put my $13 into it)…

I’m under the assumption, first and foremoust, that he won’t do this again because he deems “young master Indio” as the more talented musician in the family, so there’d be no point in competing with him.
but I believe I heard, unfortunately, that the sales of The Futurist wasn’t as good as it coulda been.

Hopefully if I mention it a few hundred more times people will start buying the record off Amazon.com and he’ll get his money’s worth for his way of tackling “the healing process”

 

There were a couple of times between the 2nd half of the album where I allowed my mind to wander about my next plan of attack… once I decided I was going to put my exhaustion aside and really make something of this struggle for once in my life…

The title track started out about him, but since he was content with his place in the world, I decided my own needed a tad more focus… or else what am I living for, right?

“Little Clownz” started and I found my mind in a frenzy, trying to rush back to the song in time to get my money’s worth out of it.
Somehow I managed to succeed with that AND listening through the song without once really feeling sorry for myself or bad about myself… I was enlightened and enpowered (something that Prince always said music was meant to do)

The beginning’s always kinda cryptic. Either I’m gearing up to listen so I miss a lot of it or it just plain is that. Cryptic, but definitely not cold.

all of this ends
my mountains outlast the summer
our father gave us a number, our very own

[double-checking] yep, that’s right (phew)

I figure the mountains are his demons and he still hadn’t conquered them or has been unable to put them behind him.
and I’ve always kinda thought of the final lyric being about “his number being up” yet again… one thing after another, potholes and skidmarks on the road to recovery and a life free of addiction…

he then couples himself with a number of people (his so-called brothers) who are tired of whatever is disabling them… finally laying down the final line… the way to deal with it is not to punish or reprimand yourself for your weakness, bringing yourself down (which somewhat echoes a sentiment from “Broken”)

there’s another verse that’s mostly about him… a lot of vague, metaphoric imagery.

freeze-dried amends
scalding insinuations
why am I standing
is this my home?

hmm… I still don’t know what to think of a lot of that. Something about emptyhearted apologies to people he’d hurt in the past and he asks why he’s still standing after all this and is he meant to be in this hole of uncertainty

then there’s something about “trees bending to be heard are missing” and why brides aren’t kissing…

One thing I’ve been kinda struggling with in this song as far as the song goes lyrically… the fact I’ve heard it dozens of times, its frustrating how the next bridge comes to mind and it’s not in this part of the song.
I’ve confused the placement of the “apocalyptic” line and the one that ends with “feel me dreaming”

can’t understand how I got myself confused… considering every time I hear the word “apocalyptic” I think about that lyric… I think about him

oddly, despite him predicting what people are thinking of him, he tells them not to give up on him just yet… but considering how much of this healing process he pinned on his own efforts, that might have been a pep talk he was giving himself (Prince made it pretty convincing in “Cream” so the possibility is there)

after the chorus, there’s a bit of a transition… he starts to “preach” his message to those who’ve been in the same place and are dealing with similiar problems within themselves… a pearl of wisdom to give to the next generation of troubled folk

there is something so powerful about this song that of course I will continue to discuss it for months, maybe even years to come… I’m hoping one day I can look back on it and safely say that it helped me and I’m a better person for having lived by it or just getting something out of it.
also something to the orchstration of the final 30 seconds with the repeating piano keystrokes and a whirling string arrangement…
it’s nowhere near as powerful, but technically I guess I could say that if any of his songs accomplished what Purple Rain set out to do, this certainly would be it… it’s not completely selfish and it passes on some strong words of wisdom and encouragement…

 

I further denied my mind from accessing my own stuff and I kept going with the next track…
I’m sure I could fish into it a lot more than I most likely will here… but for the most part, I think I understand it well enough that I don’t need to interpret every lyric.
I listen to it and I get swept up in how fun it is to listen to. It is the most hopeful, happiest track on this mostly somber album… it makes me smile because the only thing that comes to mind is him playing the piano and singing with all of his different facial expressions. Probably some are far removed from the actual recording footage of this, but that’s not important.

Just to have fun was all I really wanted to get out of this.
But to be fair, I’ll quickly summarize.

It’s a transitional piece of work, him explaining how everything is either crumbling around him or is, in fact, at a stand-still (“why is it always 5:30?”)
and in the bridge that takes us through the end of the song he says that he was never really bad, not alone. It takes on the whole idea that all of the things he needed to recover were there but it took this long for him to ultilize them, all of them firing at the same time.
even more mind-blowing is that this song was one of the first he wrote for this record and the evolution took place in the actual recording and finishing of this for the final product

yeah, the lyrics, unlike a lot of others, despite how there is lack of proper grammar in a lot of this… they’re self-explainatory so I don’t need to go into detail

Details…

in the next two songs, there was a lot more of a struggle for me to stay onboard, letting him do all the thinking and I’m just an observer, someone who’s hanging around listening to this guy spill his guts

One of these days I think I’m just gonna write down what I think the lyrics are… and finally I’m going to look at the actual lyrics in the booklet… at some point I’m gonna have to

this song literally screams being something very deep, very personal, coming from a dark place from deep inside that hasn’t really been shown to anybody

it begins with him saying

how/where did I find you
do I remind me of a boy at the Louvre
watching you move
I know, if I followed you

I swear I heard him mention the Louvre but I could be as wrong as I was about him saying “hello” instead of “hang on” in Little Clownz

for the strangest reason I can’t remember how the next quartrain goes…
the only words I remember are

in the harvest of my youth
tell me the truth
do you, does anyone, anymore

I’ve come to believe that if a man does his deeds while he’s missing the wine has already died, has already died… 100 times

do you remember
7 septembers of sacred rendezvouses

only for you

do you remember
10th in November and how we used to go
(unintelligible word)
only for you

and my fear and my pride
shadow aside
with a note on the door
and a card on the floor
from 100 times… before

first he was kneeling
in his belly and now it seems pretty far
when you were tipsy… I was a wizard with a silver star

[I will spare the details, of the rocks and the nails, the times that I lied
can’t lie down tonight, I’ve already tried… 100 times]
(repeat)

My lyric recall with this song really isn’t all that great… I’m somewhat worried once I find out what the words are that it’s going to lose some of the meaning. Heck, a few more imperfections of grammar and sentence fragments to drive me up the wall :shrug:

the mystery of the song is what draws me to it a lot of the time. But deep down I know it comes from a very honest place in him. Perhaps the most revealing of anything on this record.

better yet, it might describe a few sleepless nights he had trying to figure out how to save himself, how to recover… all of those demons that’d been plaguing him for years

 

I guess my mind was a lot more free to wander the next song… because I don’t believe there is much personal connection to him… seeing as its an allusion to “Wonder Boys” and the character Katie Holmes plays, perhaps the relationship between her and Professor Tripp

it is kind of a fun idea, tinkering with a relationship that isn’t explored too much in the movie, but there are suggestions that Hannah means a great deal to him… a person rents a room in your house, I guess I can see that kind of thing happening.

I think to save myself more trouble I’ll rest on the laurels of previous things I’d said about this song… there’s nothing really new or groundbreaking that I need to go into. Just a lot of repetition.

Its strange sometimes when I listen to this song and when it tapers off, I always hear it beginning all over again in my head. Aside from the piano, it and Smile don’t have many beginning similarities.

This time I think I wanted to really heed the song’s message, wanting to let go of everything that had disabled me beforehand.

Hmm… do you think he’d believe me if I said that I don’t need drugs to feel like I don’t have control of my life? I’m not even addicted to anything and I still feel like a mess.

Truth be told, I don’t do any of the incredibly stupid stuff, never did… he isn’t anymore for certain.
It’s about dealing with the more silent killers… for me, loneliness, hopelessness, and living through my celebrity idols and muses
for him, cigarettes and coffee (although I doubt anyone can give up coffee entirely)

OMG… Google Robert and Jonathan Ross and there is a .gif with Robert holding a teacup and there are multi-colored words spelling out “It’s tea, you mad man”

I think when this came up, he said things like

I used to have a triple shot of espresso and went straight to bed because I was conditioned to be wired all the time

and

try doing nothing and see how much of a high that is

to which, Jonathan Ross replies “that’s not true, I have given up coffee and started again very quickly”

finally the ultimate burn:

“you’re rationalizing it, if it’s not bad for you, why did you stop… TAKE your time you don’t have to answer so quickly”

Sheesh can I quote this guy at the drop of a hat

“do you know how easy it is to work when you’re in great shape, my God”

to James Lipton in the Actor’s Studio, Robert is recollecting the shape he was in when he was cast as Charlie in “One night stand”… I don’t remember the exact weight, but I think he said he weighed 130-140 pounds and had no shoes on…

he presses on, talking about seeing other actors exhausted on set and has something to top them:
“try running at a deficit”

 

It’s certainly one thing, in the case of Olive Pendergastt, for you to study a book in school and it having relevance to real life issues you’re going through…
it’s quite another, which has to be more than coincidence that Robert gets cast in roles that deal with similiar issues he’s currently struggling with… and ultimately that’s what made for the great performance he pulled off

Two Girls and a Guy being one (James Toback giving him a hand-out that might help keep his mind off the bad stuff)
One Night Stand, for sure, because he said he knew the director knew he was really struggling with something… again, this would be good for him

Mel Gibson dropped off the script for “The Singing Detective” at his house and basically left him to look it over… seemed to think that him playing the “skin disease” guy who’s bedridden would help him come to terms with… aw hell, I don’t even know at this point… I’m pretty sure he was committed to sobriety or had started to commit at this point, but Mel Gibson paying for his insurance really sent him up the river (opposed to down the river), in the right direction

and aside from that, I guess the rest could be coincidences… him getting these roles that have relevance to things he’d dealt with in life…

but the strangest case of them all, “Iron-Man” was made all the more successful because of the things he chose to put himself through… he pitched and worked his butt off to not only screentest for Tony Stark, on multiple occasions, but to really know those lines “backwards and forwards 150%”

Probably did that thing he started on Ally McBeal
wrote all of his lines in one long run-on sentences, all the cues included… and then proceeded to write it in acronym. therefore if he knew what word each letter stood for, he knew it…

Simply put, there’s no end to this man’s brilliance… or my admiration for him, at least at this current time. He’s pretty cool

 

(laughs) “I’m so not…”
backroom at Jonathan Ross 2005 appearance in response to Jane Krakowski saying he was

 

go out and buy THE FUTURIST on Amazon, guys!
One day you’ll thank me for it… maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon 😉
promise

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