Howie Comp

Friends – I’m drawing up a tracklist for a compilation of my best songs, and I’m asking for your help. Out of all my stuff, can we write a list of 10-12 songs that make me come off as an OK songwriter?

My thoughts at this point in the process are below, and I’ve already included some stuff I anticpate you would pick (“The Picture Song,” “New Slow Sea”) that I might not have on my own. But what am I missing? What is essential?

This list may end up being a limited-run physical CD release with artwork and everything that I’d sell as a fundraiser to help me take kids to Mexico in June to build a house. Or, it may just be the list I burn for new friends. Either way, help me figure it out.

I also need help with the title, which I’d like to be a phrase taken from a song’s lyrics. (The song doesn’t necessarily have to be included on the comp.)


“You Couldn’t Know Whose Fire It Was”

“No Need To Be Fair”

“A Minor Change in a Major Key”

“It’s Good to See You Home”

“The Weight You Carry In Your Voice”

“Try and Leave and it Kills You”


Songs of -h



Snow is a Bear (XMAS)

New Slow Sea (Sally Ride, It’s A Trap)

Coast & Plains (Furious Instance)

J. Cougar Mellensong (echoes, Be A Ska Rat EP)

The Picture Song (Tonight the Lone Wolf Rides… Alone)

A Come-On / Relieved (Sally Ride, …Alive!)

Set You Ablaze (Murder in the Nebraska Territories)

Open Columns (echoes, nickel EP)

Back in the Fire (Sally Ride, It’s A Trap)

Tired Chords -live (howie&scott, Summer’s End)

new acoustic track? – 5*C? / I’m Coming Home (Shacker, Knowing Her > Best…)

The Last Song (Sally Ride, …Alive!)

13 thoughts on “Howie Comp”

  1. Songs:

    Prove It – Shacker (I’m not sure who wrote this, but I think it’s a great song)

    I’m partial to the acoustic Open Columns from Lone Wolf

    Album name – This Feels Like An End


  2. Howie! “Stop Walking”, “Major & Minor” on top of the ones you’ve chosen. Def. “New Slow Sea” and “The Picture Song” and “Snow Is A Bear”. I think.

  3. Cory wrote “Prove It” (he and James did everything for Shacker). I’m not sure I can handle it!

    Acoustic Open Columns is a good idea.

    Album; what about “We Won’t Stop ‘Til We Reach An End”? “This Feels Like An End” – that whole phrase is definitely one of my favorite lyrics, but it’s kind of a bummer as a title!

    Cory; there’s a live version of “Stop Walking” that I have that I didn’t put on h&s’ “Summer’s End” – so that would be cool to include, I’ll do that.

    The only “Major & Minor”s I have are from signs, and from Nebraska Verses. Neither is a particularly good recording I’d want next to some of this other stuff… maybe I’ll try for an acoustic one.

    I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU GUYS TO HEAR “THERE IS SOMETHING AND NOT NOTHING.” I just have a few guitar tracks to play, then I’ll do vocals and Matt will come do drums. Mixing will be a snap!

  4. I really, really dig your inclusion of “The Last Song”.

    Whenever I need to give a sample of h&s music to someone, I play “Blues or Astroblue?” from comets. Also, I think “Houston” from signs deserves consideration, and “SOS” from nickel ep always gets my blood pumping. Maybe “Where will I alight?” from Blades of Vengeance?

    Possible titles:
    “There’s a prizefight in my mind”
    “I heard a song…”
    “Would you meet me at the nexus of it all?”

  5. This is an interesting conversation, because I think we all bring different criteria to bear on the body of work.

    (I mean, I guess that’s always an existential reality and not anything unique here, but I’m super-sensitive to it since I know the source material pretty well ;-)

    I’m going to be a little more analytical, since I’m guessing I’m attached emotionally to the tunes more evenly than you all are; I think you’re likely to have a handful of favorites among the dross, where I’m pretty mildly but evenly pumped about maybe 2/3 of my recorded stuff.

    I know Rob Lackey would second your vote for “SOS,” JT.

    Going with the acoustic Open Columns, then I’d probably want one tune from “nickel” out of:
    -God Bless The Strokes (it was mentioned on Pfork, after all!)
    -America Votes 2032

    I goofed around with “Major & Minor” a little an hour or two ago, and think I can do a good acoustic update of that, which has a little twist but is generally pretty faithful to the original.

    I dig the “Prizefight” title!

    And I’m really surprised how much h&s stuff is coming up! I guess that’s just a function of that’s the stuff we shared in real space, while the Sally Ride songs have mostly never been performed for you (or anyone!)


  6. Here’s an update:


    Snow is a Bear

    Tired Chords-live
    Stop Walking-live
    Major & Minor (new acoustic)

    Open Columns (acoustic)
    The Picture Song (acoustic)

    A Come-On -OR- Relieved -OR- What U Do 2 Me
    The Last Song
    New Slow Sea
    Back in the Fire

    (that’s 10…)

    Coast & Plains (this is a co-write with Cory, which is exactly why I want it IN!)

    J. Cougar Mellonsong
    (something from nickel…)


    (that’s 14… getting high in number, I want this to be listenable!)

    I guess I really need input on a song to represent “nickel” (One vote for SOS!) and SR’s “Don’t Let Them Take Us… ALIVE”

  7. For Nickel I say “God Bless The Strokes” I have that on my playlist when I take long car trips. I would say that one over SOS, but they’re both really good. I think GBTS is a bit catchier. I don’t know much from “Don’t Let Them Take Us Alive” but I know I loved Headbone.

    Howie, I like “We Won’t Stop ‘Till…” but I do agree it’s kind of a bummer of a title. I just always loved that line (and quite frankly that whole song).

    I don’t know. It’s a good idea though. Are you going to put this up as a collage of tracks here on MRF too?

  8. Update & beginning of a track order;

    Snow is a Bear
    Coast & Plains
    New Slow Sea
    J. Cougar Mellensong
    Open Columns (acoustic)
    Tired Chords-live
    Stop Walking-live
    Back in the Fire
    Major & Minor (new acoustic)
    SOS -OR- God Bless The Strokes -OR- America Votes 2032
    A Come-On -OR- Relieved -OR- What U Do 2 Me
    The Picture Song (acoustic)
    The Last Song

    I would *love* to have both a new Shacker cover and a 5*C cover to represent those huge parts of my musical life, but that’s starting to seem beyond the scope of this comp. Cory is represented by the melody and lyrics to “Coast & Plains,” and Joel by the melody to “Snow is a Bear,” so that will suffice I guess.

    My favorite titles so far are:

    “The Weight You Carry In Your Voice”
    “There’s a Prizefight in my Mind”
    “We Won’t Stop ‘Til We Reach An End”

  9. I like “The Weight You Carry In Your Voice”; “Prizefight…” is probably one of my fav. Howie lines, BUT, I don’t think it captures the essence of the comp. I also like “We Won’t Stop…” but if it means “We’re going to keep going strong!” it doesn’t seem that deep, and if it includes the sentiment that “this feels like an end”, it’s just inaccurate, as you have a lot more songs in you :) Plus, “The Weight You Carry In Your Voice” sounds like a Nada Surf song!

    What song is that line from, anyway? Should I know this?

    I am totally stoked with having my lyrics and melody represented by “Coast & Plains”. Hurrah!

  10. Come clean
    When you sing through the floor
    I hear what really matters
    The weight you carry in your voice

    “Tired Chords,” h&s

  11. I think all three of those possible titles are awesome. They’d all fit well.

    It’s hard for me to pick a favorite from nickel. As a whole, it had accompanied me in many different parts of life, and meant different things at different times, so I have a hard time picking one out. So I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those songs from nickel. That said, I still go for “SOS.”

    As far as something from SR, I like “What U Do 2 Me.”

  12. I burned a disc of the last stuff mentioned above, and “What U R 2 D 2 Me” is working best for me, too. -h

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