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I've Seen Your Picture is a song from the 'Dog in the Sand' album by Frank Black and the Catholics. It was recorded live to two track (without editing) at Sound City Studios in Los Angeles.

The song starts with what sounds like a low, dodgy keyboard tune, of the type that bands like Cake like to play in the corners of seedy bars, with old Mexicans sipping old whiskey. In fact, I can imagine Frank Black fitting that stereotype as well, given his fondness for alcohol, gambling, and hallucinogenic drugs.

A short drum roll signals the start of the song proper. What I assume to be Frank Black starts some quirky guitar work that fits in well with the continuing keyboards, and Black starts singing with his characteristic husky voice.

The song is not hugely up tempo, just enough to stop it from being mournful. I don't have the words to describe the guitar work, but let me say that the several different levels slide in nicely with each other, especially considering that the entire song was recorded live, without editing.

My personal theory is that this song is about a politician that, for whatever reason, Black was continually seeing during some country's election. This is consistent with the fact that he keeps on seeing their face everywhere, and that they were flashing a smile for all of humanity.

I can imagine some politician in the future, making their potential election such an important issue that they somehow contrive to burn their face into the 'stratosphere'. Certainly some already try to do this with skywriting (albeit temporarily).

A good time to listen to this song is when you are sitting on your porch with your neighbours, smoking a little bit of the hoochy-cooch.

Lyrics:

I've seen your picture all over the place
I turn the corner and I see your face
vehicular billboards reserve you a space
flashing your smile at the entire human race
I went a ways on the road that i was on
through many days many nights the miles went on
and still the gaze of your faces carried on
I read the slogans of the sloganeer
I smelled the engines of the engineer
I saw the profits of the profiteer
put your picture in the statosphere
I went a ways on the road that I was on
for many days many nights the miles went
and still the gaze of your
I went a ways on the
and still the gaze of your faces carried on

Sources:

  • the Dog in the Sand liner notes

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