Song-of-the-Week #6: “trophies”: Preview & Discussion

Here’s a preview of this week’s song, “trophies”:

Atlas Trophies beside the Pulaski Bridge in Brooklyn, NY 2011. photo by Diane

the first stanza of “trophies” has been with me for a few years.  it came while i was riding the B62 bus from Greenpoint to Long Island City, as we passed by an extinct trophy shop at the foot of the Pulaski Bridge.  i began thinking about those kinds of places–there seemed to be a few around while i was growing up.  their window displays felt mysterious and valuable.  trophies i encountered were fairly chintzy, though many were a mix of both marble and metal-covered plastic.


Meddlesome Lab in Rochester, NY, 2012.  photo by Diane

i’d been wanting to develop the theme of this song, and with my current feeling being ‘divest of the old’ it felt like a good time to do so. i began thinking about what my personal collection of trophies includes. what junky things do i carry around that are weighing me down ? i’m considering trophies as any award, reward, or point of pride which may be getting in the way of personal growth–roles outgrown, titles, status, attributes or possessions that one over-identifies with. clutter that wants to clear for a renewed sense of adventure about oneself and the world / in the world !

“trophies” was recorded at Serious Business Music in NYC.  i had the pleasure of working with Travis Harrison, who engineered the session, and Isabel Castellvi, who improvised and then honed her accompaniment on cello.  vocals + guitar by me, D.C.  i wrote, arranged, and helped mix the song.

Update: We rerecorded this song at Trout Recording for my new album, Boneset, but liked this version enough to keep it for the album. ((( Pre-order Boneset here )))

i went to the warehouse to trade in my trophies
they scratch off the names and they buff up the plates
and then put the blank bodies back up in the window
awaiting engravings of winners & dates

it’s so nice to see you !  hey…hey, don’t i know you ?
tender green shoots of you grow through the yard
medals hung heavy, my neck wouldn’t let me
so i gave them up good though the giving was hard

i went to the warehouse to trade in my trophies
trumpets and ribbons
my trove and its trimmings

and it’s so nice to see you
hey…hey, don’t i know you…

how good it feels here in this place
pass up the goal for the view now
something opens up
i take in space

fine example of a trophy shop with invisible bling, in Syracuse NY, 2009. film photo by Diane, thanks to Mike & Jerry

Ideas ?  Questions ?  Thoughts to share ?  Willkommen ! →

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14 comments on “Song-of-the-Week #6: “trophies”: Preview & Discussion

  1. i just wanted to tell you that i’m so glad i am a part of your song-of-the-month.

    trophies is my favorite yet.
    so beautiful.

    i hope you’re well.
    look forward to seeing you live again someday soon.
    until then, much warmth from over east.


  2. Thank you!! This song froze me dead in my tracks in the middle of a crazy day at the end of a hectic week. My favorite song in the series so far – which is saying something.

  3. thanks for your notes.

    initially i thought this project would be more loose–sharing rough recordings that were more like sketches–but i’d already done that with the “Monarcana” album ( which i’m proud of ). i also realized that with mass digital sharing, it could potentially be unhelpful once the project is over to have lots of sketches floating around out of context.

    i’ve been spending more time on the recordings, even if it’s slowed things down. i’ve been enjoying learning how to do things like ‘properly mic’ a piano and guitar ( though i’m still happy to unproperly mic them ! ), and with “trophies”, working in a professional studio environment.

    i’m glad that collaborating is slowly starting to come in now, too. sometimes distance and technology are hurdles for me in this area, but at least it’s happening.

  4. i’m enjoying it! i wish i had known you were going to write this, there’s a funny little trophy store just a 10 minute walk from Meddlesome Lab… oh well, next time I’ll show it to you, dear friend.

  5. the bass or cello player is playing wonderfully and is quite well recorded… tough instrument to translate through microphones. nice one diane!

  6. LOVE IT.

    Keep the music coming Diane. Brilliant as always, I plan on being at the Piano’s show. Cannot wait.