Is it such a big task
Although I didn't entirely plan it this way, I find myself beginning each day writing a little essay about a song or some aspect of the album such as the artwork (for some reason it only works in the morning, I tried one last night and gave up). It occurs to me that these also deserve to be in the blog — even if my intention is to expand upon them later — so here are the ones I've written so far with some minor revisions and extensions.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Virginia Lee Burton’s “The Little House” are both images I was referencing in the cover art for “At Home At Sea” which is much more apparent in the earlier draft on the bottom left.
The version I settled on had some specific changes — the duck was always meant to be there (I just had not bothered adding him because I already knew I wanted to change up the composition) but switching the position of the wave and the house color felt like it worked better, as well as less explicitly copying either image.
Part of this is because the original "Great Wave" is really meant to be read in the opposite direction than westerner's tend to — the Japanese as a language being read right to left also impacts how the image is viewed. But also it aligns with the album's title. As to whether the reference to Burton's work even lands is a bit doubtful, as it is just kinda "generic house," but as far as authorial intent goes, yeah, it's there, so make of it what you will.
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The Birds of "The Albatross Song"
Although the titular Albatross is clearly the star of “The Albatross Song” a whole menagerie of avian friends are referenced in the first verse, including the bowerbird, starlings, saltmarsh sparrows, and chickadees — the visualization for this in the video for the song is being handled by way of face painting.
Aside from the salt marsh sparrow (I'll explain later), like the Albatross, all of these birds have chapters in Noah Stryker's "The Thing With Feathers" which, along with the obvious (and not so obvious) nods to the "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner," is one of the primary inspirations for this song.
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The Secret Origins of
The extended musings of a songwriter.