I’ve been working on a song for awhile and it’s time to commit to the story. Al lot of times in music we write what we want and hope it resonates. That it makes sense to you, where you are, through sound and story and melody. The power of music is truly magical.
A well written story can make someone relate to something they didn’t know existed before the first time they heard it. Think about that for a moment.
Melody is the earworm of Roseanna by Toto or the wail of Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah. Both unforgettable. One moving. One. Well one that is stuck in your brain for the rest of the day after six seconds of listening.
Writing those things is a crap shoot. I can sit here and crank out words and ideas and arguments and sometimes even rhyme things for effect. Writing a great song is different. It’s everything.
Do you start with the guitar or the vocals. Do you write a story next? Or do you write a melody line and try and slam the story into the progressions and the melody notes. The possibilities are endless and complex and sometimes frustrating. When your skill is average, it can feel impossible.
When I started playing and writing again I made a vow that I wasn’t going to slow everything down and write a bunch of acoustic songs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I can do that in my house, alone.
To me playing in a band means being loud. Each song should feel like a race. Like I’m putting g all I can into it every time. This feels great when you pull it off. Like winning or a personal best. When you don’t it’s just like defeat. It makes you look at the performance and improve. It makes me dissect the song. “Is that needed? That note is off. Do it again. Again. Again. “
Music is all math and it’s not at all. But it still is. This is the ultimate irony for someone who fancies themselves a writer and who has a history degree, it completely defies logic, but as all music is. It’s completely logical. It’s an equation of 3rds and Majors and 5ths all divided by the squishiest of coefficients, “(feelings x passion)”
I say all this because I started thisi post talking about a song I’m working on. A story based in truth...from 1984. About a girl I was sure I loved (I mean I was 14), an arcade with a big screen TV playing videos in the background, specifically, Save a Prayer by Duran Duran, and ultimately a trip through a Taco Bell drive through. It’s about capturing the feeling of a summer night (Or maybe it was spring) on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It’s about a parent lost too early. It’s a rock song, leaning more Americana than alternative and I want it to be great.
So I’ll add and subtract and multiply and divide by passion. And hope x=great.