New York City was the birthplace of this tune and the title seemed so suiting. I’ll start off by saying I love New York, an amazing hub of cultural diversity and at some point in my life I will spend an extended period of time their writing, recording and creating...there I’ve put it out there so it will happen. I’ve been there three times and have yet to completely experience all it has to offer. The island of Manhattan is roughly 2 miles wide and 6 miles long with eight million people commuting daily in and out of Manhattan. It is a living metropolis of flesh, concrete, steel, asphalt and steam.
I had taken a ride on the subway one day and like I have described before I was carrying the weight of an endless sadness that day, that would only perpetuate itself amongst urban scenes. I had rode the train for over an hour listening to music and watching the people. So many connected to headphones, newspapers, books, others looking at their shoes, staring out the window or sleeping. So many people came chaotically walking on and off the train in that hour and all I felt from everyone was a collective feeling of coldness, disconnection, suspicion, fear, hurt, sadness and anger; it was overwhelming. No one was smiling or laughing, no one was greeting one another, everyone was choosing to lock themselves away in their heads living in the fiction that is their minds. I had taken a break from mine to watch others. So many people yet so much silence, the clunk of the train against the tracks provided the rhythm to what seemed like a sombre journey to a funeral for the children that live inside of us all, children that were once so full of innocence, imagination and wonder...now we all sat collectively mourning the loss of something so precious within all of us. I began to cry. I’ve cried a lot on public transit through the years, it’s an interesting feeling trying to hide your tears and your cry face on a bus or train. At the same time you want to be discovered, saved, taken away from the mess that is your life & mind. I would tiptoe around that edge, crying just enough so no one could see and just maybe the most caring and empathetic person in the world would take notice and come to my rescue, maybe it was a sub conscious way of weeding out the disconnects and finding one to connect with who was present and calm...haven’t found that stranger yet, but I’m also crying a lot less in public these days as well. This was a common scene for myself, wrapped up in my head looking outward, taking on the hurt of others, a process that would in turn would trigger my own hurts. I felt isolated and alone amongst thousands of people who I could see were feeling the same. The ride ended with an intense panic attack and me retreating to my hotel room because I couldn't take civilization anymore.
Lacking the skills to self soothe or the courage to reach out for help I turned to my guitar and wrote Too Many People. It came to me in about 30 min. So intense was the experience on the train that it had to be released through sing and ink therapy. I love the words to this song, it’s observational and married to my time in New York. It has turned into a bright dancey electro number contrasting the dark tone of the words. The chorus ‘Stop the world so I can get off / Deceased and I will finally be my self...’ was me wanting to not only exit the train, but this life. I had also saw an art exhibit earlier that week, where the artist on showcase was from the 18th century I believe, (I unfortunately can’t remember his name and I’ve been looking) his paintings were these large public scenes at a time when the world was nowhere near the population we have now. They were these wild scribbled lines making out the shapes of people, but there was no clear definition to the bodies or faces, you couldn't see any clear sign of humanity and the buildings in the background were done with great definition. That exhibit resonated so much with me, millions of people in New York and no one was present at the same time. That’s where the line ‘Too many people I can’t see a face / Too many people they’re just lines and shapes..’ comes from. I also wrote this song as an invitation, to see or plant the seed of awareness of the societal dysfunction we all participate in. When you smile at a stranger on the street so rare is the reaction of warmth and appreciation it is usually one triggered by fear of I this person crazy, gonna mug, rape or murder me...truly fucked up. The invitation is to open to this world, open your heart, open your face, your arms, your breath, your mind, your soul, begin to open all of you and radiate love endlessly, there’s no harm in it whatsoever, only good would come from it and that’s the beauty of love, compassion, generosity and empathy.
Like I’ve said so much of my writing is therapeutic, whether or not the world hears what I am saying it still feels like they do and it’s comforting to the one who has chose so many years of isolation and emotional suppression. I’ve come a great distance in regards to growth and how I approach this world now, those feelings don’t go away, I just have more skills than song writing to self soothe and if I ever need to escape a moment my choices are far less harming and more so than not, beneficial. I may smoke and drink occasionally but when I am at my best I also do a lot of yoga, reading, writing, walking, riding of bikes, painting, talking with with my lover, playing with my pups or mediating. I’ll simply say I have found more rewarding ways of being an addict and dealing with the hard moments in life!
Too Many People
Too many people are in my way
Too many people aboard this train
Too many people and I don’t feel safe
Too many people never say hello
Too many people don’t smile no more
Too many people commuting back and forth from work
Stop the world so I can get off
Stop the world so I can get off
Stop the world so I can get off
Deceased and I will finally be myself
Too many people hate rainy days
Too many people love to complain
Too many people who can only talk about shit
Too many people live in constant pain
Too many people and we’re all insane
Too many people distracting themselves with drugs
Too many people I can’t see a face
Too many people they’re just lines and shapes
Too many people and I’ll never escape them all