The same people who inspired Selfish Love--and one girl in particular--inspired Timebomb. She was at work talking about partying, and in the conversation commented that she knew eventually she was going to settle down, but for the present she intended to
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The clockwork chorus was a separate idea, and was written in four vocals against the guitar harmonics. It was the eschatological notion that time is running out that was the point, and it might have been a very different song had it not been for that girl's attitude toward the future. Too, the song about her might well have run into the idea, as the parable says, that her life might be required of her tonight. Yet the two ideas fit together so well that the connection was forged and the music for the words about her was written to come out of an introduction that was originally a power interlude between the harmonics and the verse.
That power interlude became the bridge, and the melody from the bridge was written back into the power interlude to prefigure it. The idea that the vocals would end abruptly in the middle of the line but the clock keep ticking into a fade gave it a live fade ending.
That was when TerraNova was playing, and the song ran in four vocals on the choruses. The lead and bass guitar parts for the clockwork were written then. It was, however, a decade later that Mark thought to delay the alto a beat on the chorus, and added the descant, both of which he thought would help build the song as it moved toward the climax.
7dB started to learn it in a stripped three-vocal arrangement, but when Tyler and Jessica Chroniger left the band it was put on the back burner for some time when there would again be at least three voices. Kyle was always fond of the song and wanted to see it back. That happened when Sara added her voice to Mark and Jonathan in 2013, but Jonathan's departure later in the year tossed it back into the pending file.
TerraNova bass guitar player Dave Oldham said years later that Timebomb was the song he used as an example of how to make the music and the words work together to express the same concepts. The verses are rushed, almost desperate reflections of modern life; the choruses are mechanical, capturing the inexorable progress of time; the bridge, with its vocals in octaves, is majestic, declaring the return of a king with hints of a cathedral choir. It ranks among Mark's favorite five of his own songs.