City Paper is not for tourists
Stand-Out Track: No. 6, “New Year’s,” an exquisite balance of stasis and change, topped by a weary yet hopeful vocal by the trad/rock/techno artist. Stand-out lyrics, written by Moscatiello’s longtime collaborator and ex-girlfriend Bev Stanton, include these moody lines: “Poised on the brink of destruction/I’m dancing on the rim of despair/Turning away from the past/And the ghost that lives there.”
Musical Motivation: Stanton was going “through a really awful time,” Moscatiello remembers. “Her mom had just died, and we also broke up, and she was starting to get back into dating and wasn’t having a very happy time with that.”
To add insult, says Moscatiello, Stanton worked at a nonprofit where “there was this one guy who was listening to Peter Gabriel all the time and opening the windows. [And] even though they were working to, like, legalize marijuana, they weren’t allowed to use earphones! So she had to sit there and listen to Peter Gabriel and be cold all day.”
Stanton’s response was a melody Moscatiello calls “anthemic, grand, and sweeping,” but with bad-day-at-the-office lyrics that made it a “sarcastic, nasty little song.” Moscatiello urged a rewrite, with emphasis on her friend’s off-hours miseries.
The resulting “acid cabaret” tune is a far cry from “In Your Eyes.” “Bev really likes gay music, like the Smiths,” says Moscatiello. “I think Peter Gabriel is a little too heterosexual for her. He has no gay sensibility whatsoever. Tom Jones is more gay than Peter Gabriel.”—Pamela Murray Winters