Album Cover
21st Century Séance
The Green Pajamas
Released: Oct 18, 2005
Label: Hidden Agenda
Track Listing
1 The Secret Of Bethany's Mouth
2 Jenny V.
3 Salome
4 Claire
5 Like A Memory [Blue Eyes]
6 The Black Guitar
7 This Haunted Hill
8 True Lover
9 Chip Chop
10 Gazelle
11 Alibi
12 All The Lost Kisses
13 Pale As The Dead
14 Mostly Alice

Liner Notes

"Twenty years into their career as a band, and following a four-year gap between studio albums, Seattle's Green Pajamas have delivered a superlatively wistful, literate pop album about heartbreak and longing." - Jennifer Kelly,

"... the band's best effort of the new millennium." - MAGNET

" effective elixir for many a sleepless, heartbroken midnight." - Luke Torn, UNCUT

From the Hidden Agenda website...

This is an album about ghosts – those whose hauntings are unbidden but also those that are summoned by a rational mind nostalgic for a first love, or a sweet summer day almost forgotten. It is an album about childhood, but also about getting older, growing up – and not being able to go back. The ghost of Lewis Carroll is here, doomed, even in the afterlife, to unrequited love. And also the ghost of Salome, really just a typical teenage girl but with a wild taste for vengeance. Her stepfather being a king, things just got a little out of hand. There are ghosts of grade school and high school, and an oddly dark specter of happiness looming over one drunken, melancholy night. There are ghosts from stories and poetry, and those horrific revenants that appear only when one is in a disturbed state of mind. This album is about kisses that haunt and secrets that don’t ever go away. With dusky age casting its shadow over life and love, these are about the memories of daylight in all its varied weather. Oh – and this album is also about loud electric guitars.  

The Secret of Bethany’s Mouth 

The first of two songs inspired by a novel called Pale as the Dead by Fiona Mountain, an English romantic mystery involving a young woman who looks eerily similar to Pre-Raphaelite artist/model/legend Elizabeth Siddal.

Jenny V 
Eric says this about his song: Based on a sad, true story of a popular girl I went to high school with who, for some stange and mysterious reasons, loses it and commits a murder. The story has kind of haunted me since, and I wanted to write something about it that wasn't all shock and drama. I wanted the song to suspend the horrorific parts and focus on the more sensitive and personal aspect of what took place that year.

I confess I am not a Bible reader; this song came to me by way of Richard Strauss’s opera Salome, which is in turn based on a play by Oscar Wilde. When the opera was first performed in 1905, many could not get past its sex and violence; and even today many might find it disturbing. But, if you are in the mood for an extremely weird and wild ride, where a teenage girl’s hormones rage scarily out of control, it might be the thing for you. Get the DVD with Maria Ewing! This recording is an abandoned demo I returned to finish because when I had tried to re-record it “properly,” it just did not work (which happens to me a lot).

“ Claire” was a demo as well, with Eric doing a bit of ad-libbing. I convinced him to finish it, for I found it incredibly catchy. It features the Hidden Agenda debut of my two daughters.

The Black Guitar 
We have always wanted this very old song to come out, but it did not seem to fit any previous album. It is a sort of minor ode to the mad.

This Haunted Hill 
This is a tribute to my wife and a specific remembrance of a bittersweet time last summer when, in the warmth of darkness, drowning our sorrows was what I lived to do.

You have here the original version of this song – before it was rearranged for the live band recording on Ten White Stones.

All the Lost Kisses
This is a sort of impression of The Green Pajamas live that was in fact recorded just one track at a time like all the other songs. But the spontaneity is real and certainly the lack of editing is real! I think this is my favorite on the record. We have all known the devastation of a love lost. And the hopelessness when one realizes that the other is never, ever coming back. I don’t know what prompts me to write of such sadness. Somehow it makes me feel good.

Pale as the Dead 
This eponymous song is from the same novel as “The Secret of Bethany’s Mouth.” What is that secret? I have no idea. There is nothing about it in the novel. However, as Mark Lindsay once said: I can almost taste it.

Mostly Alice 
Originally there was to be an album called simply Séance in which we would imagine the musings and confessions of favorite characters from literature and art, this being another of my bright ideas that would be tossed aside indefinitely. So, at this indefinite time comes the one and only song born of this idea, “Mostly Alice.” Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was haunted by the little girl for whom he wrote one of the most enduring and astounding works of literature, Alice in Wonderland. At only 8 years of age, Alice Liddell became one of the great muses of history. Most accounts agree that Mr. Dodgson’s love for her was pure. Yet, famously, there were never recovered pages torn from his diary around the time that Alice’s family told him he was not to see her ever again. Here I have imagined the ghost of Mr. Dodgson in confessional séance, still plagued by her face, and a little more free and easy with his thoughts and feelings (this being the 21st century and all). I’ve since wondered about the wisdom of writing words into the mouths of the dead. And yet…I find his love romantic. And then one asks: what is romance without desire? Is it possible? I wish I could ask him that. Get out the Ouija board!

- Jeff Kelly, 2005


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