The Song-A-Day May Thrillogy is complete. This year Michael Hahn embarked on his most challenging of the Song-A-Day projects in the midst of a separation, moving to a new apartment, and continuing to be a dedicated father all while juggling his full time work as an arts administrator and the sound designer/composer for his sixth year at Delaware Shakespeare.
Volume Three of Song-A-Day May has been entitled No Better. The title touches on a multitude of references in Michael's life. "I'm no better" is the powerful mantra repeated in the song Shell (track 12) which is a deeply personal song about the steady downward spiral of a close friend that parallels Michael's own struggles. It's a tongue-in-cheek reference that this album is no better than the last Song-A-Day record Lost on Purpose which is regarded as the strongest entry of the trilogy. It calls out the state of the world, as well as Mike's own personal situation, as being no better than last year. It also references that Michael, himself, is no better than he was - musically, physically and emotionally.
As with every Song-A-Day May album, there are several stand-out tracks that seem to have pushed Michael's songwriting to new heights. The opening track, Hello Again, was inspired in part by The Cure's Lovesong and is a potent jump-start to the record, highlighting the many ways in which Michael's style threatens to evolve. The aforementioned Shell is a powerfully emotional track that wallows in it's own sorrow. Floorboards is a surprisingly moving song that was improvised on the spot as a musing reference to a moment on Day 3 when Michael was mocking the fact that his new apartment's floors were squeaky. The song is simple and general, leaving it open to many possible interpretations - literal and metaphorical. Razormouth blisters with a noisy heaviness reminiscent of bands like Korn and Barkmarket and lyrically tears into an unnamed "fractured daughter." May the 4th doesn't disappoint with another Star Wars-inspired entry in the form of the groovy R&B-meets-Classic-Rock song Lando. The blatantly overt love song, Needs (Whoa, Damn), showers praise on a "fierce" and "redolent" lover with a vibrant bassline and baritone backup. Other highlights include Suffering Time (with a sound that envokes Nine Inch Nails and Stabbing Westward) and Colander (a song literally about the kitchen utensil; one that was politely gifted but, unfortunately, doesn't match the kitchen's decor. With 10 Songs Down and 20 Songs Down, we're gifted a nice ending to the Mean Mike / Merry Mike duels that have become staple checkpoints at tracks 11 and 21 (approximately one-third and two-thirds of the way through each album) that not only continues to examine some of Michael's internal conflicts but also winds up delivering a satisfying message, warning the listener: "don't ever be afraid to be who you are." And, of course, a final entry in the Snow Goose Trilogy; a Wawa song entitled A Ballad of Convenience.
The album (as with all other Song-A-Day May projects) is available for streaming and download on Bandcamp. Go forth and enjoy!