In the Meantime

Album: Resident Alien (1995)
Charted: 29 32

Songfacts®:

  • Lyrically, there's a lot going on in this song, which gets rather existential right in the first line:

    And in the end we shall achieve in time
    The thing they call divine


    Spacehog frontman Royston Langdon wrote the song and divulged its meaning in a Songfacts interview. "It's me trying to reach people," he said. "It's using some kind of metaphor of a worldly or inner-worldly search for the end of isolation, and the acceptance of one's self is in there. At the end of the day it's saying whatever you gotta do, it's OK, it's alright. And I think that's also me talking to myself, getting through my wan anxieties and fear of death. That's what it all comes down to."
  • The opening tones were sampled from a song called "Telephone and Rubber Band" by an experimental British group called the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. The section sampled is a recording of a phone line when wires get crossed, along with (as the title implies) the sound of a rubber band. Langdon told Songfacts:

    "I was about 12 when I started in that band, and we just played and recorded in my friend Paul's bedroom. Paul is a few years older than me and he had an educated recorded collection, shall we say, and one of the artists that he introduced me to was the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. They had a song called 'Telephone and Rubber Band.'

    Every now and again when you made a telephone call in the UK, you would get a crossed line while you were calling someone. It's the sound of the phone ringing and then the sound of the phone being engaged at the same time. I liked it, and it just stayed in my head. I knew it was one of those things.

    I don't even need to be around a musical instrument per se. I can figure it out in my mind, and that was one that I knew would slot into that thing right there. It was the very early days of audio time-stretching and all of that stuff, and we time-stretched it. On the actual phone it's somewhere between E-flat and E, so there was some speeding up going on to make it in tune with E. And then we changed the chorus to A, and it worked for the whole thing.

    It was the early days of Logic, when it was pretty much just a sequencer and there were very small amounts of audio. I was into samplers. There was a whole movement in the UK that came out of dance music, and there were bands like Tackhead I was really into, and a lot of stuff from the US that would occasionally come through Leeds. I would be in the front of the queue - I was fascinated by it.

    Of course, being financially challenged to say the least, it was really difficult to get your hands on that gear at that time. And in fact, my first sampler was actually a reverb unit. It cost about £60 and was a chip that would basically turn the delay into a one-second sampler. It was an electric quad reverb, and you could turn it into a little sampler, and you could only play it with the button on the front of the device.

    So 'In The Meantime' came from me sort of messing around in that way, and that was a big change for me because I started to really play with these themes. I could mess around by playing on the keyboard a little one-second sample, slowing it down and playing it backwards. I loved that stuff - I still do actually. I still think it's an interesting way to mess around with time and sound."
  • This went to #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart thanks to consistent airplay on radio stations with "alternative" or "modern rock" formats, of which there were many in 1995. It made #32 on the Hot 100, but was the band's only entry on that tally. After two more albums, they split up in 2002. A year later, lead singer Royston Langdon married Liv Tyler, daughter of Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler. Around 2008, they split, at which time Spacehog got back together. The group released another album in 2013 but were inactive a few years later. In 2018, Langdon started recording as LEEDS (the name of his hometown in England), releasing an album called Everything's Dandy.
  • This song is somewhat unusual in that the title doesn't show up in the chorus, but it does appear three times in the verses in various forms.
  • The video, directed by Jake Scott, got a lot of exposure on MTV. They appeared on the show House Of Style on the network.

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