Like a memory on the cusp of consciousness or a dream barely recalled, Pete Yorns second Columbia Records album, Day I Forgot, is like the return of a welcome friend, occasioning a flood of nostalgic reminiscences. It is the logical successor, the second chapter to his critically acclaimed, RIAA-certified gold debut, musicforthemorningafter, the emotional hangover now clearing, a clean slate. Yorn once again played many of the instruments, co-producing with R. Walt Vincent and Scott Litt, who mixed several tracks, as did Andy Wallace and Ken Andrews. "I wanted to get back to a straight-up rock sound, and let the vocal melodies and songs speak for themselves."
It was a hectic two years of activity for Pete Yorn since the release of his debut album, which produced the alternative hits "Strange Condition," "Life on a Chain," and "For Nancy." Within 18 months, he went from a label showcase at L.A.s Viper Room to headlining and selling out New Yorks 4,000 seat Hammerstein Ballroom. Among his highlights: playing drums for a set with Iggy Pop at the Shortlist Awards in Los Angeles, contributing his version of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" to the Were A Happy Family - A Tribute To Ramones album, having his song "Murray" in the hit indie film "Igby Goes Down," and touring the world with his beloved band, Dirty Bird (Luke Adams, drums; Terry Borden, bass; Jason Johnson, guitar; and Joe Kennedy, piano/guitar).
The new albums first single, "Come Back Home," captures the whirlwind of Yorns life with a wall of fuzz-toned acoustic and electric guitars which evoke his Anglo-rock influences -- like T. Rex and the Smiths -- while creating a sound uniquely his own. The song is about remembering who you are and where you come from, a cautionary tale about keeping ones feet firmly planted while following your dreams.
The New Jersey native started singing and writing his own material after crooning the Replacements "Talent Show" during a, yes, talent show, at Montville High School in 1990. Hes never looked back. After graduating from Syracuse, Yorn migrated to L.A., and attracted admirers with his shows at Caf? Largo. After four years of gigging around on the LA club circuit, Yorn was offered a deal with Columbia Records after a senior exec heard an acoustic version of his song "Life On A Chain." When a Hollywood producer caught his act, he placed several of Petes songs in the Farrelly Brothers movie, "Me, Myself and Irene." musicforthemorningafter would be released eight months later in March 2001.
Day I Forgot features a wide variety of different instruments, many, but not all, played by Yorn himself. Listen to the string machine on "Crystal Village," the wheezing harmonium on "When You See the Light," the harmonica break in "Committed," the haunting piano at the close of "Turn of the Century," and the toy glockenspiel that rings subliminally underneath "So Much Work." "I just try to capture it as Im feeling it, when its inspiring me, " says Yorn about the recording process. "I want to get it all down quickly, thats rock & roll to me. You can spend too much time in the studio tweaking those initial basic tracks until you suck the life out of it."
" This record is about remembering," says Pete. "Day I Forgot is the opposite of what it actually states. If I try to forget something, thats when I end up remembering it. Its all about simplicity. People can get too caught up in the drama of their day-to-day lives and lose their perspective, their focus. I just wanted to remember the state of mind I was in before I put the first album out. How it was pure and about the music."
" Im ready," says Pete about getting back on the road for the next chapter of his career. "This record is starting to make a lot of sense to me. Having it in sequence puts it all together. I left some tracks off I was in love with, but it was important for me to make a tight record this time. Shorter, more concise, like two good album sides. I wanted these songs to make sense as an album."
Yorns status as pops romantic troubadour is confirmed, from the wistful idealism of "Crystal Village" to the longing for true friendship and family in "Pass Me By" and the admonition to leave a bad relationship in the George Harrison-like "When You See the Light." The unabashed emo-core punk rave-up of "Burrito" is autobiographical, about "hanging out in front of the 7-Eleven as a teenager while I waited to go over to my first girlfriends house." The mournful Neil Young melancholia of "Turn of the Century" was inspired by director Baz Luhrmann telling Pete about a film he was planning to make about early 1900s Paris, which turned out to be "Moulin Rouge." "Man in Uniform" urges transcending the routine of everyday life to rediscover the initial passion that inspires us in the first place.
" I like when people interpret the songs for themselves," says Yorn. "So that it means whatever it means to them. I wont say what it has to be about. Im just trying to create a catalyst to make you feel something to connect with yourself or someone else? I just want to create music that makes me feel good," says Yorn. "I was trying to make a record that I would be proud to listen to ten years from now."
Like the memories Pete Yorn taps for his inspiration, Day I Forgot lingers long after the music is over.