Today’s request comes from me, as this is one of My Top 10 Features Songs.
“Untitled (Failed Attempt)”
Live @ 12th & Porter
November 8th, 2003
All the unrestrained joy and continued frustration that comes along with being a Features fan can be summed up in this one song. And that’s not bad frustration, not at all. It’s frustration that this band is so spectacular that a song like this is forgettable, a cast-off. That a performance as tight and intricate as this can be called a “failed attempt.” The unrestrained joy comes because when failure sounds like this, success sounds completely out of this world. I can’t think of a new Features song that I’ve heard that hasn’t blown me away. With most bands, you don’t want them to workshop material in front of you or you don’t want them to play stuff that wasn’t on the album. That’s never been the case with the Features. Their sound is always evolving, so those glimpses into what’s next are always fascinating and rewarding. The fact that “Failed Attempt” was considered just that still baffles me.
If this was played by any other band, this would be their best song.
That opening keyboard rings of happiness and hope, a breathtaking soundscape that you get sucked into before the entire song locks step and begins hurtling forward. Matt Pelham’s guitar riffs have always been clever but I’ve never heard one as whip-crackin’ tight as this one. Those few notes synch up powerfully with Rollum’s snare drum blasts, as his bass drum goes completely insane below it all. It’s just the two of them with a keyboard hum in the background, and it sounds so robust. And you wouldn’t think that a bassline would elevate this song, but as soon as Roger’s starts with that chorus, it’s the spark that lights the fireworks. The song goes flying high on top of Parrish’s keyboard part, reaching levels of excitement that I’ve never heard on any other Features song.
The segue into the second verse after that chorus proves that just when you think Rollum can’t hit any harder, he does.
The second verse is as divine as the first and the liftoff of the second chorus isn’t cheapened by the fact that you’ve already heard it once. It’s actually a relief, since that’s probably your favorite chorus ever now and hearing it again gives you the release you’ve been waiting fifteen seconds for. And I love a good breakdown, or any part of a song that spotlights a particular instrument, and the breakdown in “Failed Attempt” is far from a failure. By this point, the entire song contains so much excitement that that breakdown feels especially tight and restrictive, keeping you from that chorus for just a few seconds longer so it’ll feel even more magical. And then with those few seconds of the song, the entire band sounds completely invincible.
“Thank you. That was a failed attempt at a new song.”
This song was only played this one time and would never resurface. None of its parts would go on to other songs and it never even had any real discernible words. The song would go on to be called “Failed Attempt” by fans. My love for it was immediately there and I even made a rather odd music video for it sometime in 2005. I’ve accepted that this song is done for, and having this stellar recording of it makes that a lot easier to take.