Singled Out: Epigene's The Catch 22
The Catch 22 is the 3rd song in our 25-song rock opera, "A Wall Street Odyssey." The lead character, "Yossarian," is an overworked Wall Street analyst who feels trapped by the "Catch 22s" of his modern city life.
Because I had already written out the basic plot of A Wall Street Odyssey first, I already knew what part of the story The Catch 22 was going to tell. I felt pressure to come up with compelling lyrics and a great melody for this song because it's the basic thesis of the plot and explains why Yossarian eventually self-destructs and ends up homeless. So I went to the top of a great mountain and meditated for many days.
After returning I had a shave and then came up with the vocoder 'hook' melody and guitar response for the chorus. I also had a quirky synth-song-snippit I wrote earlier using Reason software. It was very robotic and dancey...I used this theme as the opening of the song. Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey" was in my mind while composing. Remember Peter's painted monkey face sitting behind his desk in the music video?
In the first verse, Yossarian explains that his work pays for his apartment so he can get the sleep he needs to go back to work to pay for his apartment. This is an example of a "catch 22." He also laments that the more he works the less time he has to enjoy the things that working brings...and because of his debt, he can't afford to stop. Sound familiar?
In the second verse, Yossarian explains that he "helps the rich get richer for greed is gold. If I don't do what I'm told, the bank will leave me in the cold." He needs his job and therefore is in no position to resist the corruption and illegality permeating Wall Street. He's got to work to feed the monkey...right?
I composed a dissident arpeggio riff for the bridge and wrote the lyrics with Mark E. Smith in mind. Mark E. Smith is the lyricist and frontman for legendary post-punk band The Fall. In the song "What You Need" (from This Nation's Saving Grace) he chants, "Get up...Make a buck, Get up...Make a buck" over and over again. It's a very depressing & effective lyric to be sure. Yossarian quotes his lyric before finally screaming, "I've had enough!!!"
So...I am very happy with how The Catch 22 turned out. It furthers the plot, makes a big statement and the melody ain't too shabby. Most importantly, it makes me get up, switch and jerk around like a drunk robot on the dance floor.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!