Notes on the new album from Ray Alder

//Notes on the new album from Ray Alder

Notes on the new album from Ray Alder

Album notes taken from Apple Music –

Long Day Good Night

When it came time to record the vocals for Long Day Good Night, Fates Warning singer Ray Alder was living under strict pandemic lockdown rules in his adopted home of Madrid, Spain. “You couldn’t go to a studio and record, but one of the things you could legally do was move,” the native Texan tells Apple Music. “So I hired a moving van and packed it with clothes and a bed and moved into the recording studio. I slept in the vocal booth for two weeks and lived off of microwave food. It was awful, but it got done.” With a total running time of an hour and 12 minutes, the aptly titled Long Day Good Night is the longest album of the American prog-metal squad’s 36-year career. As Alder explains in the track-by-track commentary below, it might also be their last.

The Destination Onward
“To me, this song is about knowing what’s coming and questioning what is ahead. It’s as if you question what’s coming, but it doesn’t matter because it’s coming anyway. It’s not something you can really get ready for. After I wrote it, I realized that it’s about what’s happening with the band, and one day it’s going to end. But for the moment, we keep moving. These are really fucking depressing lyrics, but it’s just what was happening when we were writing the album.”

Shuttered World
“This is another of those things where I didn’t realize what it really meant to me until after I wrote it. Listening to the song, I realized it’s about avoiding reality. It’s similar to ‘The Destination Onward’—you know what’s coming, you know what the reality is of things, but you deny what’s going to happen. And then you somehow kind of realize what is coming and you have to live with it. And you’ve got to come to terms with it. And that goes for anything—the end of a job, or whatever it may be.”

Alone We Walk
“One day I ended up walking from the center of Madrid to where we live, which is way outside the city—about eight miles or so. Of course when I was in the middle of the city, I was surrounded by people. As I got further away from the city center, there were less and less people until it got to where it was just me. I ended up in a park by myself and just kind of contemplating life. It was one of those moments that I think everyone has where you just want to be alone with your feelings.”

Now Comes the Rain
“This is basically saying that when you fail, you have to get back up on your feet. I think it’s happened to all of us before. Of course, everyone’s afraid of failure in some way, shape, or form. And that’s, I think, what keeps a lot of people from moving forward, because they’re afraid to fail. But I think ‘Now Comes the Rain’ is sort of saying that it’s going to happen but you’ll be fine in the end.”

The Way Home
“So this was inspired by Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, that plane that went missing a few years ago. Jim Matheos, our guitarist and composer, and I were talking about it one day, and it happened to be while I was working on this song. I thought it was a really great subject. The very beginning is about a person getting on the flight. The second part is about the pilot and whatever is going through his mind. And the third part is about the families dealing with the aftermath. It’s a weird song, and you’d never know what it was about unless I explained it.”

Under the Sun
“Originally, this wasn’t a full song—it was actually a piece of another song. But Jim sent it to me—that acoustic part at the beginning—and thought we could build another song out of it. So we did. And the chorus melody was actually something I came up with a few months earlier, before I’d even heard this music. But we put them together and it worked really great. I’m not going to explain the lyrics, because they’re weird and I think they’ll just bring everyone down. Let’s just say it has to do with age.”

“This is one of the heaviest songs on the album, which I think is really cool. It talks about how whatever happens to you in your life, everything leaves a scar. There are remnants involved, and there’s things that happen to you when you’re younger that stay with you your whole life.”

Begin Again
“I think this one’s pretty obvious. It goes back to ‘Now Comes the Rain’—you don’t win at everything in life, but you pick yourself up and start again. You can’t let life beat you down.”

When Snow Falls
“When Jim first sent this to me, I didn’t know if it was going to fit on the album because it’s so different from the other songs. We thought it might be a bonus track for a Japanese CD or something, but once we really started working on it, we all fell in love with it. But we were pressed for time and our drummer, Bobby Jarzombek, was still working on other stuff. So Jim asked Gavin Harrison from Porcupine Tree to play drums on it, and he did an amazing job. I think it’s one of the coolest songs on the album.”

“‘Liar’ is about the current situation in America and how the country is so divided. I never wrote lyrics about a political situation before, and I’ve never cared so much about politics as I have in the last four years. Obviously this stuff has been there forever, but the fact that people think it’s okay to be a fucking racist asshole is fascinating to me. I live in Europe now, but I’ll never give up my American citizenship. I love America, but I’m ashamed of my country right now. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Glass Houses
“This is basically about everyone being connected to their phones and how the world has become so dependent on social media. I’m guilty of it myself. The first thing I look at when I wake up is Twitter, because that’s where I get my news. I follow so many journalists to find out everything that’s happening around the world. It’s really ridiculous, but I’m the guy that wakes up and looks at his phone like, ‘Oh god…what? Oh no.’ It’s like a dependency or compulsion.”

The Longest Shadow of the Day
“I think on the last three albums we’ve done, the last song is usually the big prog centerpiece of the album. This time it’s second to last, and this one is Jim’s song. I knew it was going to be a really long one when he was working on it, so I was worried there was going to be a lot of lyrics. But in the end, he sent me three verses of lyrics. As far as the meaning, you’d have to ask him—but personally I think it’s a pretty deep song.”

The Last Song
“It’s funny that this is called ‘The Last Song’ because I think it may have been the last song we worked on. It’s odd because I think it’s the first time Jim and I ever co-wrote lyrics. I started writing about the band itself and what we’ve done all these years—there’s a line about walking down the only path I’ve ever known, which, for me, has been music for the last 35 years. That’s what I’ve lived my life for. And then Jim kind of tied it back to the first couple of songs on the album, because the band is going to end sometime. I think Jim no longer wants to write new music for Fates Warning. I think this may be our last album. And this was a kind of way to say that. We all still want to tour, but as far as new music, I think it’s done.”

By | 2020-11-22T09:25:57-07:00 November 24th, 2020|Interview|2 Comments


  1. parke obrien November 30, 2020 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    I honestly think this is a masterpiece of an album. It has helped my mood which was needed because of this covid. I listen to a lot of music . I believe Fates Warning might be the best band ever. Awesome production and each member is superb. I hope there will be more from Fates Warning in the future. Thank you for ALL your great music.????

  2. Joey Butler December 3, 2020 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Well, drat! All things must end sometime. Honestly, I assumed during the long hiatus after FWX that the band was over and that I’d never have a chance to see them live. The period since Darkness in a Different Light has been such a joy, and I was able to see this lineup three times as well as the ATG reunion. Hopefully there will be more chances to catch them on tour, and everyone has proven that they can make great music separately so we can look forward to that.

    Fates has been my favorite band for over 30 years, and likely always will be. Muchas gracias, gents.

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