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The Call - Into The Woods


Tracks: I Don't Wanna, In the River, It Could Have Been Me, The Woods, Day or Night, Memory, Too Many Tears, Expecting, Walk Walk

Released 07/07/87 by WEA/Elecktra (catalog#60739)

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FROM THE CALL NEWSLETTER "NOTIFIED" ISSUE #2:

While The Call’s earlier releases - notably “The Call” and Modern Romans” - pointed out the world’s obvious problems, “Into The Woods” takes a more introspective look at life’s tougher personal questions. “Into The Woods” seems to be a study in contrast between beauty and danger where the imagery of the woods becomes a metaphor for self-examination. “This album reflects a bigger picture,” said Michael Been. “Hopefully, it’s wiser and more mature A more psychological attempt at understanding why we humans do the things we do.”

“I feel the worst human among us isn’t that much worse than the best human among us. Like the person convicted of a crime - - if you follow that person’s history - - you’ll find that there were circumstances in their life that led them to that crime, and given those same circumstances, any one of us may have turned out the same way.”

It could have been me
Living in that prison
Locked in a cage
Damning the walls
Damn the division
Wondering why it had to be me
Well it could have been you.
- “It Could Have Been Me”

As always, the lyrics are challenging, and this is especially evident on “Into The Woods”. “It Could Have Been Me”, in particular, challenges people, and questions why some people are less fortunate than others. “I wrote that song because a very good friend of mine is the chaplain at Vacaville State Penitentiary. Another friend heads up the food project in Berkley for the street people and homeless.”

“We’ve been poor as musicians, but we’ve never had to experience real poverty. We’ve never been racially discriminated against, and never been religiously discriminated against. We’ve had a pretty cushy life, relatively speaking, compared to people in Calcutta and Guatemala. So you try to live your life with a bit more consciousness than what is demanded of you America. You try to push beyond that.”

Michael admits that “It Could Have Been Me” might be more of a challenge than most people want from a rock song. “But you’ve gotta do it anyway. I was told something by Scott a few years ago. I was writing these songs and I said, ‘God, I don’t think anybody wants to hear this stuff,’ and he said, ‘Well, do it anyway.’ So, I’ve been going on his advice ever since.”

It’s easy to listen to “Into The Woods” several times in a row without feeling you’ve heard enough. The energy of The Call provides the initial kick, but it’s their sense of melody and Michael’s provocative lyrics that hold you. However, Michael is not the only one in The Call writing songs for the group. Three of the songs on “Into The Woods” were co-written with the other members. Scott collaborated with Michael on the lyrics for “Into The River”. Tom and Jim co-wrote the music with Michael on “Day and Night” and “The Woods”, respectively.

On each album, the songs have just seemed to dictate the way they are to be played and recorded. “I wrote “I Don’t Wanna” one night in a hotel room in Boston at 3 or 4 in the morning,” says Michael. “We rehearsed it the next day during sound check and played it that night as an encore.”

“Into The Woods” clearly transcends, both musically and lyrically, the synth-pop genre of today’s music. While most bands seem to be more concerned with their marketability than their integrity as musicians, The Call continues making music with power and vision.
The All Music Guide had this to say: Coming off the success of the previous year's Reconciled, the Call returned in 1987 with Into the Woods. The slow-building "I Don't Wanna" is a bit ragged at moments but reaches an impressive sonic swell and Michael Been's vocals are passionate as always. "In the River"'s tone is forlorn, but backed by a solid, smoldering melody and gospel background vocals. A tumbling, percussive beat drives "It Could've Been Me," a rumination on fate that is simple, yet effective. "Day or Night" probably comes the closest to best capturing the band's usual anthemic style. Much of In the Woods has a darker, more serious feel to it. The somber, introspective nature of the lyrics and the lack of a track with a hook as memorable as the radio hits from Reconciled undoubtedly doomed a further commercial breakthrough. However, Into the Woods is a worthy and challenging artistic follow-up.