David Woodard – Nine Hundred Ninety Nine
…and he also recalled the lone buzz in his ears when, in the course of a protracted hide-and-seek routine, after an hour of uncomfortable concealment, he emerged from a dark and stuffy wardrobe in the maid’s chamber, only to find that all his playmates had already gone home. — Vladimir Nabokov, Pnin
That passage, from Nabokov’s fascinating account of a Russian émigré marooned in mid-century America, is one of the saddest in literature. Which makes it completely inappropriate for the happy tune we feature today. But the excerpt illustrates the essential truths of Hide-and-Seek: the game works only if someone wants to find you, and if you aren’t so well-hidden as to defy discovery.
In David Woodard’s ‘Nine Hundred Ninety Nine,’ the singer seeks an entity who is hiding in plain sight, or perhaps not hiding at all but simply waiting for our man to optimistically open his eyes and commence his quest. He’s delayed it long enough, counting up to 999, a number that, like the Biblical 40 or the seven days of Creation, represents an unspecified long time. One suspects it is the Seeker who has been hiding from the Sought, limiting his
stalking search to social media. Procrastination is a game of hide-and-seek that we play with Action.
You are the girl who got away with everything
You took the long way to my heart and pulled the strings
But I don’t think you know what it means.
Now that I’ve counted to nine hundred ninety nine
I’m counting on making you mine.
Pro Tip: Be careful what you seek; you might find it. Our man is going after the girl who got away with everything. The scenario has all the trappings of someone tracking down the old high school crush, which brings to mind this exchange from a previous geologic epoch…
Old High School Crush: You’re just disappointed because I’m not the way I was in high school.
Me: No, I’m disappointed because you’re exactly the way you were in high school.
‘Nine Hundred Ninety Nine’ is grounded in a simple but memorable 12-string guitar figure. Layer on 60’s harmonies and New Wave drums, and we have the perfect janglepop track, in your head today but retro enough to make you wish you could have heard it over the single dashboard speaker of a mist-green Chevy Impala’s AM radio.
‘Nine Hundred Ninety Nine’ appears on David Woodard’s new six-song EP, Everything in Between. As David tells it, he and the song played a long game of hide-and-seek before they found each other. ‘I started recording the music track with the recurring 12-string guitar riff that opens the song. I would record a little bit then set the track aside, thinking it wasn’t really distinct enough for the EP. Eventually, over the course of about six weeks, I had completed the track almost as is. I had no melody or lyric idea, but I kept revisiting it from time to time. I even tried to give the track away to another artist who was recording a full length CD at the time.
‘Before giving up on the track altogether, I gave it to David Schrader, who came up with the melody and a very clever set of lyrics. My first attempt at recording vocals did not turn out all that well, but a few people who heard even that feeble attempt said they liked it. I dug back in and really worked on the vocals until I got them right. Michael Spears then knocked the bass out of the park (along with the rest of the bass tracks on the EP). In the end, this little track refused to go away and ended up being one of the catchiest tracks on the EP.’
Regular readers will remember David Schrader as the Nashville musician who brought us ‘Pup Tent,’ a previous Song of the Day about hope and love, a track that hits the sweet spot between folk, pop, and rock. Drums on ‘Nine Hundred Ninety Nine’ are credited to Kyle.