Keep It Like a Secret

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Keep It Like a Secret
Keep It Like a Secret.jpg
Studio album by Built to Spill
Released February 2, 1999
Recorded Nov 1997; Apr-May 1998
Genre Indie rock
Length 46:53
Label Up Records/Warner Bros. Records
Producer Phil Ek and Doug Martsch
Built to Spill chronology
Perfect from Now On
Keep It Like a Secret
Ancient Melodies of the Future
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (9.3/10)[2]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[3]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[4]

Keep It Like a Secret is the fourth full-length album released by indie rock band Built to Spill, and their second for Warner Bros. Records. The original tracks for the album were recorded on Nov 1997 at Bear Creek studios in Woodinville, Washington by Phil Ek, with overdubs recorded on mid 1998 at Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle, Washington.[5] Keep It Like a Secret was released on February 2, 1999. The album spawned two EPs: Carry the Zero and Center of the Universe. Pitchfork ranked the album at #41 on their "Top Albums of the 90s" list (1999).[6]

Album Notes[edit]

After feeling burned out from constructing the lengthy songs on his previous album (Perfect from Now On), Doug Martsch made a conscious decision to write shorter, more concise songs for Keep It Like a Secret.[7] Many of the songs on the album originated from a week's worth of band jam sessions in Boise.[8] During these marathon jam sessions, which could last up to five hours at a time, Martsch used a foot pedal that triggered a tape machine to begin recording. He would later comb through the hours of recorded music and find parts that he liked, methodically building them into songs.[9]

In particular, the song "You Were Right", which features a collage of now-cliche lyrics from songs by The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix (among others), almost didn't make the album due to perceived copyright issues. At the last minute, Warner Bros. Records secured permission for the band to use the lyrics.[10] In a 1999 interview with The Onion, Martsch described how he wrote the song: "...I came up with the chorus, 'You were wrong when you said, 'Everything's gonna be all right,' and then I decided the verse would be, 'You were right when you said...' something more pessimistic. And then I knew immediately that it was going to be a bunch of clichés, and I decided to use other people's clichés." [11]



Additional musicians[edit]


  • Phil Ek - producer, engineer
  • Steve Fallone - mastering
  • Zack Reinig - engineer assistant
  • Scott Norton, Juan Garcia - mixing assistant
  • Jeff Smith - photography
  • Tae Won Yu - design, art direction

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Built to Spill except "Broken Chairs," which includes lyrics by the poet Uhuru Black.

  1. "The Plan" – 3:29
  2. "Center of the Universe" – 2:43
  3. "Carry the Zero" – 5:44
  4. "Sidewalk" – 3:51
  5. "Bad Light" – 3:22
  6. "Time Trap" – 5:22
  7. "Else" – 4:09
  8. "You Were Right" – 4:45
  9. "Temporarily Blind" – 4:48
  10. "Broken Chairs" – 8:40

Extra song on vinyl only: "Forget Remember When"

External links[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Built to Spill: Keep it Like a Secret". 1999-02-23. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  3. ^ "CG: Built to Spill". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  4. ^ "Rolling Stone Music | Album Reviews". Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  5. ^ "Built To Spill - Keep It Like A Secret at Discogs". Warner Bros. Records, Discogs. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Acclaimed Music Forum". Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  7. ^ Peisner, David (1999-04-28). "Built to Spill - Interview - The A.V. Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  8. ^ Maffeo, Lois (1999). "Built to Spill: Secret Stars". CMJ New Music Monthly (College Media, Inc.) (March 1999): 22. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Elements of a Song - In the Studio with Built to Spill". 2006-05-28. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  10. ^ Maffeo, Lois (1999). "Built to Spill: Secret Stars". CMJ New Music Monthly (College Media, Inc.) (March 1999): 22. Retrieved 2015-06-20. 
  11. ^ Peisner, David (1999-04-28). "Built to Spill - Interview - The A.V. Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2015-06-20.