Not The End

Hey, this is the start of something I’ve been planning for awhile – short reviews of a single wizard rock song that you should listen to.  These first few songs will mostly be from the massively under-appreciated charity comp, From Beneath These Ashes, because I think both the comp and the songs on it don’t get nearly enough credit.  First up, we have Roonil Wazlib’s “Not The End”.

The interesting thing about From Beneath These Ashes is that is was a double-disc set, and a themed one at that – the first disc featured songs from or about “the light”, and the second disc did the same but for “the pudding”, obviously.  I mean, “the dark”.  “Not The End” is the first disc on the dark CD, and while lyrically, it is rather happy and optimistic, musically it’s definitely dark, at least for the first bit.

The song starts off with deceptively simple piano riff: four notes.  That’s right, the same four notes over and over.  However, what makes it interesting is the use of ostinato – the same four notes are repeated over and over, but in a few different keys, turning into a surprisingly complex -sounding cycle, given that it’s one hand playing four notes on the piano over and over.  Not only is the riff musically interesting, it’s also catchy, and manages to create a rather dark opening tone for the song.  If there is one opening piano riff from wizard rock that you’re going to get stuck in your head, it’s this one.  It’s wizard rock’s “Don’t Stop Believing” in that regard.

Then after a full cycle of ostinato, Roonil Wazlib’s voice comes on, and even though the ostinato cycle is long enough for it not to become boring or repetitious, her very able voice adds a nice, slow-tempo counterpoint to the medium-paced but constantly driving piano melody.  And then at about 1:10, the guitar comes in, and it becomes damn near close to perfect.  The guitar part is even simpler than the piano melody, but not only is it a good example of ostinato, it fits perfectly in between the notes of the piano, giving a very full sound to the instrumentation when in reality it’s just two instruments playing very simple riffs.  And did I mention that it’s catchy as hell?  Because it’s catchy as hell.

Lyrically, it’s your basic meta-wrock fare – it’s all about how the end of the series does not have to mean the end of the community – and while that has remained true thus far, at least for the book series, the feeling of things coming to a close is rapidly encroaching upon us again, making this song more relevant than ever.  Also, there are some really nice lyrical callbacks in the section with the guitar, to the section without.  While the song doesn’t really break any new ground in the lyrical arena, it’s still a very nice and heartwarming song to give you a little boost of optimism.

Unfortunately, then the second half of the song starts.  You see, I hold up the first half of the song as one of the most under-appreciated meta-wrock songs ever.  But the second half of the song really fails to sustain my interest, which is why, even though I’ve listened to the opening of the song dozens upon dozens of times, iTunes says I’ve only listened to it ten times.  You see, at about the halfway mark in the song, the absolutely lovely piano section is suddenly removed, and instead of a simple but interesting guitar section, we get just a simple one.

Now, this section is necessary to the song, because it provides the thesis statement:

It’s not over till we let it end

It’s not over as long as we stay friends

Repeat that a few more times than necessary, and then:

And this is not the end

This is not the end

However, while I do like the lyrical message, and Molly’s voice is certainly pretty, but the repetition in this section, instead of being a boon, is just boring.  It doesn’t ever get annoying, per se, but it as soon as I hit the second section, I hit F7 and start the song over again.  So, on the one hand, “Not The End” is a fantastic meta-wrock song with some brilliant instrumentation and some clever lyrical devices.  On the other hand, it’s also an example of the sort of really boring acoustic guitar songs that plague wizard rock (I’m sorry, but after a minute and a half of the same thing over and over, adding a maraca is not going to turn things around).  It’s still well worth the purchase if From Beneath These Ashes ever gets put on iTunes, and at the very least, it definitely deserves a listen.

So, this counts as yesterday’s Snobmas article, and today’s Snobmas article should be up at some point today!  Wrock Snob out.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Arodhwen
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 23:06:39

    Man… Now I want to buy music.
    Also, you know that you can go into the “options” tab of the “get info” and set things to start or stop at certain times? It pretty much MADE my thesis presentation. But it sounds like this is what you want for this song.


    • wrocksnob
      Dec 10, 2010 @ 09:26:32

      Really? Awesome! Thanks – that’s actually a big help (AHEM hip-hop songs that start with minute-long skits that aren’t separated into different tracks)!


  2. plyometric exercises
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 10:54:09

    “My message is the practice of compassion, love and kindness. Compassion can be put into practice if one recognizes the fact that every human being is a member of humanity and the human family regardless of differences in religion, culture, color and creed. Deep down there is no difference.”


  3. 19yearslater
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 21:58:54

    I love that song, and- you like it too? Color me surprised.


  4. Stephani
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 21:14:24

    I agree, the first half is really heartwarming and never fails to get me on a crying jag, but the second half I ussually just tune out.


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