A song a week #9: Tell Me Why

The whole gang during our first photo-shoot in 1989.
The whole gang during our first photo-shoot in 1989.
From left: Jonas Embring, Anders Ljung, Olle Söderström, Måns Jonasson.



Oh, yes! I’m so happy that it was my (Måns) turn to write this week. This is definitely one of the very best songs from In Fact, and I have very vivid memories of recording this song too.

“Tell me why” stands out as a great little pop ditty with, for Art Fact, very well-defined song structure. There is nothing hidden in this track, nothing left to the imagination or that could have been done that wasn’t done. Simplicity, pure pop. I love it! Of course, this is pretty far from synth-pop and I’d say that our influences from Erasure are very clear in this track.

This track is made with Roland D-20, although I am fairly certain that there was an earlier version made on the PSR-70, sadly gone today because it was probably never recorded. There are a couple of cute quantizing errors very typical for how we worked with the D-20, because we never knew if we should quantize in 1/16 or 1/32. Sometimes we did it wrong and there are a couple of off beats in this one.

The bass line is classic octaves, in a bouncy, sort-of slap bass sound. A weird choice maybe, but it works. One thing that is very different here is that we allowed Anders to add a GUITAR to the chorus. Again, I blame Erasure since Vince Clarke was dabbling with guitars at this time as well, at least in the “Sometimes” video, which we loved. I know that Anders doesn’t like that guitar sound any more, but I think it really works and blends in nicely.

Vocals then. The vocals are, in my own opinion, probably the best ones I recorded on In Fact. I did the recording in my bedroom in my parents’ home at Västmannagatan, and I remember that it was fairly late so my little sisters were sleeping and I sang so loud that my step-mother came to tell me to quit. Anyway, I got it done and today I still really like how they turned out. Blues-y, and really “on”. You need to remember that I was only 16 years old or so, which is the main reason I’m impressed today.

The lyrics are nothing special really. It’s all about rejection and not understanding why, in a teenage angst sort of way. The up-beat music doesn’t really match the lyrics.

Listen on Spotify!

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