SONG: Forgotten


“Forgotten” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Nature, 13 Dec. 2018, “‘Transmissible’ Alzheimer’s theory gains traction “, as used in the post “Alzheimer’s can be transmitted person-to-person. (Surgically, that is.)”.

A lot of the songs I do here feel like demos to me – that is, basically finished as songs, maybe suggesting things about next-draft recordings but essentially, they’d be the same thing with slightly shinier finish and smoother edges. This one feels a little like that other kind of demo, like a thing that has something in it that’s going to change a bit the next time someone starts tinkering with it.

I suppose that’s thematically appropriate, it being about what it’s about.

My first thought on reading the study was, of course, about myself. I’ve never had injections of human growth hormone, which was where researchers first realized Alzheimer’s could be transmitted from one patient to another. But I grew up in an area with a lot of retirees – and a lot of dementia-sufferers – and I’ve had medical procedures done in places where I simply know the same tools have been used on patients who were in the early stages of the disease. I’m sure, like, when my wisdom teeth were taken out, the oral surgeon disinfected his pry bars and pliers properly – but now we know that, as far as these pre-amyloid proteins go, that doesn’t matter. Germ-killers like formalin won’t kill the things because they’re not alive. They just get in you and encourage other proteins to start folding in on themselves.

And, you know, I forget things all the time already.

What was I talking about? A song about forgetting. I spent a lot more time with the Radiohead cover this month than with this one, and the two songs don’t have a heck of a lot in common either in the way they work as songs, the way they feel or the way they were put together, but I like ’em both.

True confessions: I sped this one up. I recorded the drums fairly fast – more than 120bpm – then the other bits of it pretty slow – around 90bpm – but didn’t like the mournful dirge it became once the bits came together. I mean, spooky and horrifying is fine and all, but not a trudge. So I mixed everything, then sped it back up, then sped it up some more. I think were I do attack this song again, I’d start out fast, use an electric guitar, and probably wind up trimming some of the words out. I do like the way the “real” chorus is wordless chords on the organ, introduced by the word “Forgotten.” I’m usually too wordy, but it’s good to let the instruments do the talking.

It’s going to be OK.

And compliments of the season to everyone! Enjoy some comet-watching if you can.


There was Novocain.
And incisions nowhere near the brain
Summer never seemed to end
Until it folded into autumn

as it always would, gone for good… and
The physicians, the dentists, the nurses and hygenists.
Put forward their best efforts
Put forward their best efforts

They decontaminate
with formalin, it works great
Except for these precursors
That folded into amyloids

as they always would, gone for good… and
Our fathers, fellow patients, random friends and strangers.
Sharing their proteins
Sharing them unseen

And we will wander in this fog
Lose our language, swear to God
Every sunset we’ll get mad
But not alone

A routine thing
For cavities, skin cancer, even for earrings
Someone opened up the skin
They didn’t let infection in

But older patients’ proteins… were
By physicians, by dentists, by nurses, by hygenists.
Put forward their best efforts