“Card Games and Old Friends” – The Fashion Focus

I’m getting into the drum intro on this one. It’s a simple beat but it sets up a syncopation on this song that you don’t hear often on these earlier albums. The guitar is minimal but playful. Is that a tremolo pedal or a vibrato? I can’t tell. The real spice in this song in the synths. It sounds like it has some kind of effect on it but, again, I can’t tell. The synth hits pulse points that are just a little bit off from what you anticipate. The whole thing carries the illusion of being simple and minimal but there’s little pieces of it that don’t play to expectations. Maybe the song is constructed this way to match the story of the lyrics.

Say goodbye
It’s no life
We never realized
Where we’ve been
Sad ends
We never realized

This song always reminds me of a time about 10 years ago when me, my partner at the time and friends of ours who were also a couple would get together on Friday nights and play card games. We would cook out and blare the ’90s college radio channel on the cable TV. I’m a ruthless Uno player. Eyeing player with one card left, I’d slap a Plus 4 card down while Hole blared in the background. I would join Courtney Love’s guttural drawl singing, “Was she asking for it? Was she asking nice?”

Card games and old friends
Always no sad ends
Card games and old friends
You mess it up

Monopoly also made an appearance often. We played our own variant named “White Trash Monopoly” where we rename all the housing blocks after gutter-butt trailer parks in town. The Chance cards were things like “Pay $150 at the methadone clinic” or “Get $3,000 in tax refunds for all your babies”. I only bought the high class trailer parks and I installed double-wides. I was living the hillbilly high life with all my pastel bills.

No surprise
Different lives
Express the world on time
Sad ends
To bad ends
We never realized

A lot of smoking. A lot of cussing. A lot of singing. A lot of laughing.

It was short lived. As the respective romantic relationships fell apart, the friendships did too. I miss them and love them all still. But people mess up. They pick sides. They run. They move on. You are left to remember what used to be and how it all met sad ends. The only other option is not to remember at all. I think that would be worse.

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