Half-Empty (Acoustic Original)


Half-Empty – Ryan Hicks as Kilroy West and the Suicide Twins


I finally got around to recording Half-Empty. I wrote it about five years ago and it’s been through a bunch of different stylistic variations. There are only two chords (E major and an A suspended 2nd, wherever I decide to put the capo) and one drifty slide that make up the entire musical part, so any interest has to come from the presentation of the rhythm and tone, and the pondering and interpretation of the lyrics.


The Lyrics

Half-Empty lyrics

Verse 1
I want the whole bottle
Not a sip or a glass
I need some space for my trouble
To make the time pass

I want the whole bottle not a shot or two
Cause I’m a little hollow on this night without you

Verse 2
So take me to the bank
and drag me to the drug store
Load me into a machine gun
And shoot me at the floor

I want the whole bottle
Just drink it in …
I need the whole bottle but I see it’s half-empty again …

Verse 3
Baby this is the spotlight,
can you taste the heat? You pressed in and out on my chest
I could feel your heart beat …

Bridge Verse 4
So shut the blinds
and drop the shades
No love for the sun
once you know how it fades
be my comfort
when I’m ready to slip …
you’re a good suggestion and my favorite coin flip …

Verse 5
I want the whole bottle
Just let it be
Let’s keep it locked away (inside) You and me

Bridge Verse 6
So close the door
And whisper my name This time spent waiting is a poor man’s shame ..
Just give me a sign
Your perfect look
That quick flash in your eyes —
was all it took …

Outro Chorus x 2
I want the whole bottle
Let’s drink it in
I need the whole bottle but I see it’s half-empty again …

The Video and Audio

The Making of the Video

Two shots used here. One with the Canon 70D from a low angle in the office at the Fifteen, and the other in the hallway with a GoPro. I clamped an iPhone gooseneck thing to the head of the guitar and strapped the GoPro in there, sort of a guerrilla tactic, and it sort of worked. Editing done in Premiere Pro.

Recorded into Logic Pro X on two tracks. Tried processing them minimally and it came out pretty dull and ‘meh’. Added a turntable emulator and some slapback. A little dirt never hurt.

Technical Stuff and Background Story

The Technical Storyline

On the main screen you see what you hear. Main mic is an MXL 990 that picks up mostly vocals and some of the guitar, and then a direct line from the guitar into the interface. And I gotta say, it’s not a good use for that mic. I ended up having to had the crazy loud noisefloor under a bunch of post-processing. The recording sounded like I was in a thunderstorm.

I used an MXL 550 for many years, and though the 990 was supposed to be an update or upgrade, I give it a major fail. So to that end, I ordered the 550/551 package that should be here in a few days (you’ll see it in the sidebar). Quality of mics and interfaces and equipment is a weird topic, because it’s in the dead center of objective and subjective perception, but I’ll report back in a few days and record the next song with the new gear.

Feel free to check out video projects and music in other sections, or wander back through as I plug new stuff into the matrix here.

The Full Acoustic Video Playlist