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about

This is another song (like Extra Ordinary) that kicked off as I was noodling with what eventually became the opening riff — a rockin' bluesy phrase of the sort that sometimes just appears when I pick up my guitar. I can't claim to know what to do to expand on these sonic ideas, let alone tease them out into anything remotely virtuosic (that's Kelly's job). Still, with the opening going gangbusters, in no time I had something for all the different song sections. The trick was figuring out the structure and duration of all those verses, vamps, breaks, bridges and so on — to keep the song's energy flowing and not lose the audience's (or my) attention. Repeated performances with Mr. Rath helped cement all those verses and choruses and bits in between into what you hear now.

I'm not entirely sure what drew me to choose dementia as the song's subject, except that diseases like Alzheimer's seem more and more present in our lives. We all have friends or family members who have been stricken to varying degrees with the erosion of their mental faculties. I've noticed a subtle increase in gaps in my own vocabulary — a mini-struggle to find words that used to be at my fingertips, then on the tip of my tongue, that have since receded further and further from my grasp.*

Not unlike the onset of the disease, writing words to this song felt like a race against time. Having completed the music so quickly without any words, I took the theme of losing my mind as my lyrical launch pad in order to catch up to the music. I started by imagining how losing my mind might manifest itself: lost keys, lost something-else-I-can't-recall and so on. The words came fast after that. I recently watched a documentary on Alzheimer's where one lost ability was that of self-recognition. My song's protagonist looks in the mirror and does not recognize himself, and so it is with sufferers of dementia. I'm not sure how I could face that future, seeing that unfamiliar face in the glass. I hope I never have to find out.

*In an alternating amusing/cruel twist of irony, I have had a devil of a time trying to learn the words to this song — trying to wrap my aging mind around their repetitions. It doesn't help that I like to write songs with competing choruses, that is, choruses that aren't exactly the same each time they come around. "Mystery Mirror" not only has two versions of chorus (with a choice of three different last lines), those choruses are sung in reverse the second time through. Now where did I leave those keys?

- Robi

lyrics

First I misplaced my keys
There's something else I can't find
I've got a growing unease
For faces, places and time

Am I losing my grip?
Overcome by the vague?
Will I go down with the ship?
Before I go up in flames?

There's something familiar about that face in the glass
Where have I met you before?
In a mystery mirror can I unlock my past?
I'm not sure

If I drown in the waves
Would you throw me a line?
Now I'm no good with names
I don't even recall mine

There's something familiar about that look in your eye
I think I've seen you before
I'd feel so embarrassed if I only knew why
Is there more?

Here's me holding a key
To a door I can't find
Just a growing unease
For faces, places and time

When I'm lost in the vague
Who's gonna throw me a line?
Now I'm no good with names
I think I'm losing my mind

There's something familiar about that look in your eye
I think I've seen you before
I'd feel so embarrassed if I only knew why
That's not all

There's something familiar about that face in the glass
Where have I met you before?
In a mystery mirror can I unlock my past?
I'm not sure

credits

from [ samizdat​-​001 ] Thug Nation, released July 15, 2017
Words and music © 2017 Robi Polgar

Kelly J. Rath — guitars
Robi Polgar — guitars, vocals

Recorded at Alta Vista Recording, Austin, TX; April to July, 2017.
Mixed by Josh Allen; mastered by Tom Johnson.

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about

Robi Polgar Austin, Texas

Robi Polgar is a musician, writer, director and unrepentant soccer junkie, living in Austin.

He is one-half of the guitarist-singer-songwriter duo The Study Session (with Kelly J. Rath) and the frontman for Brit-Poppers The Late Joys.

Mr. P pens, plucks and performs punchy political paeans with a deft left hook and massive progressive undercut.

More: www.robipolgar.com/music.html
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