Pandora To Pangaea


here we go again
lost another friend
to the real world

but I know that’s not the reason,
the reason why you’re leavin’
you never take the time
to explain yourself

but I know you, I know you well
and it kills you but you’ll never tell…
you’ll never tell

but it’s all-right, it’s over
it’s too damn late to start over

no need to make amends
you’re better off in the end
someday we can still be friends

still the stars will shine without you
and when you look around
you will see all the things
that you missed out on

and that’s all-right, it’s over
it’s too damn late to start over
it’s all-right, it’s over now
just pack your bags and we’ll start somehow again

it’s all-right, it’s over
it’s too damn late to start over
it’s all-right

I’d rather let this fizzle out
no need to hate you anymore
because decisions need to be made

I’ll still respect you as you go
hope to see you in the front row
we’ll miss you always and you need to know
it’s all-right

Lyrics by Paul Friemel


Steps –


Written by:Paul Friemel
Lead Vocal:Paul Friemel
Guitar:Paul Friemel
Bass:Paul Friemel
Drums:TJ Mapes
Recorded at:Twofish Studios – 7/26 – 7/27/2003
Appears on:Steps

Song Notes

Pandora to Pangaea took almost a full year to be completely written! Paul created a few early acoustic demos of the song that featured wildly different arrangements and riffs, but the final studio recording session cemented the parts to tape once and for all. The chorus was the basis of the whole song, and remained basically the same throughout the entire writing process. Acoustic demos of the song exist, but they have not been released.

– One night outside of Peabody’s in Davenport, Paul came across some fans playing guitar on an acoustic and he offered to show them a new song. It was in a very developmental stage, but Paul played a prototype version of the song to about five 2nd Best fans. This is the only time it was ever performed in front of people live on acoustic. Does anyone remember that?

– This song was a true struggle to come to life. It had the largest number of non-repeating segments of any 2nd Best song at the time, and trying to teach it to the band proved to be trying, if not impossible. During a rehearsal where the band was attempting to put the song together, a long-time supporter of the band, Jaylee, was in attendance and suggested that the band abandon this song. Luckily, the band decided to spare his life for this transgression, and chose to give it one last chance.

– Due to the uncertainty and lack of having ever played the song live, when it came time to record the song, Paul took on most if not all of the instrumentation duties to save time and not have to re-track the guitars over and over with parts the other members weren’t familiar with. This proved to be successful and if memory serves, all the guitar tracking, of which there is an overwhelming amount, was completed in rapid-fire succession over the course of two hours. This was the first time Paul had ever tracked guitar parts to a 2nd Best song. We guess that year-long writing and practice process paid off! Luckily, the band had made enough progress on learning the song that TJ was able to give a solid percussion performance with little to no major adjustments. Good job TJ, you did your homework!

Pandora To Pangaea was the only song out of the three recorded during that Twofish studio session that had time to be fully mixed and mastered by the end of the session and gave the band the entire ride back home to Iowa to listen to the fruits of their labors. Paul drove home triumphant that his masterpiece had come to life in such splendor and the other band members had to agree that in the end the trials of completing the song had been well worth it. Take that, Jaylee!!

– Although not the original intent, the final lyrics of the song alluded to the recent departure of the band’s lead singer, Shane. Some of the final verse lyrics were written IN THE VOCAL BOOTH, but turned out quite strong and intentional. The underlying theme was meant to express the frustration that Paul & TJ had felt throughout their tenure in 2nd Best with integral members tending to leave just when things were going in the right direction. This is a feeling the band felt was relatable on a variety of levels beyond just meta-band content. Everyone feels a little let down when a member of their ‘team’ makes the tough choice to leave and follow a different path. The underlying message of the song is hopeful though and the final stanza includes layered vocals expressing melancholy understanding that this is just how life goes and it’s up to you to move on in the face of adversity or just give up. Considering that 2nd Best is the band that had at least 3 ‘final’ shows, they chose the path of light and continue to do so.

– Sly 2nd Best fans may have caught the subtle reference to These Autumn Stars in the lyrics of the song, which was Shane’s last grand opus with 2nd Best and a well-liked song in its short tenure on the band’s set-lists before he left. It was also the closing song of Shane’s last official performance with 2nd Best on May 17, 2003. The line in particular states “still the stars will shine without you.” This wasn’t meant to be any sort of disparaging remark, but the connection was intentional and simply lamented the fact that These Autumn Stars was now part of 2nd Best’s past since the band did not play it after Shane left the band.

– The name of the song has always been a bit of an enigma to most listeners, since neither the words ‘Pandora’ nor ‘Pangaea’ are featuring in the lyrics. The name clearly relates to the fable of Pandora’s Box, which was opened and unleashed all of the world’s evils upon humanity. Pandora’s Box is said to be “a present which seems valuable but which in reality is a curse,” which could be attributed to part of how Shane may have felt about the success of the band and the time having to be spent traveling around to play the shows so often. Don’t forget about the hope that was left in Pandora’s box, that matters to!

– As far as the ‘Pangaea’ portion of the title, it relates to another historical concept which is the super-continent theorized to have existed eons ago that broke apart to form the Earth as we know it today. While less of a ‘fable’ like Pandora’s Box, it is still just a widely-accepted natural theory though rooted in science & observation and less of a human invention to explain unknowable concepts with mysticism. There is a thinly connected dichotomy between to two concepts, and well, they both start with P so alliteration, baby!

– This song is often referred to as simply Pandora on set-lists and when discussing the song casually.

Pandora To Pangaea was written using Paul’s crazy super drop-D guitar tuning where both of the top strings are inversely tuned to the same octave of D to give additional strength to the full neck of the guitar and allows some chord manipulation that is impossible with standard tunings. The signature intro riff is played using only the top two strings and requires this tuning to get the correct tone inflection. It’s also prevalent in the subtle manipulation of the final chords that close out the chorus sections of the song. This tuning was also utilized to get the same desired effect on Corvetta.

– Not only does Pandora To Pangaea have a ridiculously long musical intro clocking in at thirty-five seconds, when the band performed it at their final VEISHEA Battle of the Bands 2004 show, they added a drop of O Fortuna – Carmina Burana to turn heads and get the interest of the entire VEISHEA crowd. ON TOP OF THAT, the band prepared an ADDITIONAL slow build introduction reminiscent of the initial demos of the song that was only performed this one time that preceded the actual arrangement of the song as heard on the Steps split release. Needless to say, the multi-stacked intros did what they were meant to do and the final show slayed demons, virgins, and dragons alike as the band waltzed away with the win of their career.

– When the band is in full-throttle mode, this song crushes like a neutron star and after many years and may listens to the catalog, this song stands out as a shining candidate for favorite song. But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s no 928


The opening song at 2nd Best’s final public performance at Iowa State University VEISHEA Battle of the Bands 4/16/2004
Livin’ that Tugfest life in good old 2003. This was the first stop on 2nd Best’s 2003 Summer tour down to Florida!

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