Shame, Shame

Album: Shame, Shame (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This admission that sometimes it's best to admit your mistakes and move on is the title track from the sixth album of Philadelphia-based psychedelic rock band, Dr. Dog. Co-frontman Scott McMicken explained to Express Night Out why the disc was named after this song: "[The album] took the name of Shame, Shame because as we were getting farther along in the recording process - and we started off the recording process with way more songs than we needed for a record, which is kind of a common thing for us. As we were getting farther along in that we were able to see this common thread in the songs, which is something we've always enjoyed about the album making process: looking for these common threads that aren't part of the design. Fate being the best example: it's closest thing we've done to a concept album, but none of those songs were written with that notion or anything, it's just a matter of creating a meaning afterward. So we started doing that and realized this was a much more human set of songs for us, it's a lot of personalities and a lot of emotion for a Dr. Dog record.
    And it seemed like 'Shame, Shame,' being this kind of story of a guy who starts one place, experiences a change and ends up [as a] complete transformation of that character from beginning to end - that to me became a really valuable thing: looking at all these songs and defining them as a bunch of characters in stories because I see all things as a process of transformation. Consider 'Stranger,' the first guy, who's just that kind of decadent misery. I would hate to view that state, though it is relatable and I've been there, many people have been there, as a fixed one, as an internal state that you just are and will be forever and you just disregard the notion that things could change or might change. For whatever all those little characters are worth, the most important aspect tying them all together is change and transformation.
    Sometimes you've got to be that decadent guy in order to find that point that's going to inspire you to change, even if that point is your lowest point, whatever is going to get you there. So that song 'Shame, Shame' became important for that. By defining that spectrum in that song from Point A to Point B you could take any of the other characters in the other songs and place them inside that spectrum."
  • Jim Jones from My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk contributes vocals to this track. The other Dr. Dog co-frontman Toby Learman explained: "I had done three different versions of that, and only one of them did I feel like I liked the way I sung the high harmony. I couldn't replicate it I was thinking that I would kind of like to get someone who is airy and loud, and Jim just happened to be in town the night we were mixing that. He was playing with the Monsters of Folk down the street, and I just called him up and he was like, 'Yeah, I'll come over after the show.' So it took all of 20 minutes, and he got back on the bus. It was pretty painless."

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