Apr 21

Sorry for the wait between posts, but sometimes you just have to stop and regroup, especially when songwriting. This past week has been full of fodder for tunesmithing. Mike and I have been making strong progress in the first of the songs for the upcoming Obsessions concept album.

Again, that’s its working title which is what you’re supposed to say when you think you’ll have a better one later on. ;-)

So he sent back a more complete arrangement and final structure for it. He decided that rather than starting out with the chorus, he’d prefer starting with a verse, slowly building in intensity until the chorus. That caused me to swap around a line from the second verse with one from the first, and it fit perfectly.

Oh yeah, I’m not planning on anatomizing every step in every tune for this album as that would be torturous, this is just to illustrate what happens in the rewrite process. Secondly, it occurred to me that you would have needed to hear how the vocal was laid over the initial sketch to really see why I needed to rearrange the verses.

There was a vocal intensity that I originally applied to the end of the first line. Adjusting it made it more suitable to being placed before the chorus rather than after the first verse.

I don’t it’s wise to include a link for every stage of the song but I will include some once we get the final vocal track laid down, which should be next week.

This was the re-write:

There’s a silence in the air, and the sky’s turning green,
See the wall cloud rising and threatening the town at it’s feet

I can’t be like the rest, for me there’s no peace.
I’ve got a job to do, and I just… I just… got to get

Closer, closer. Closer, closer
Closer, closer. Just got to get closer, closer

Adrenaline pumping there’s no place like this
I’m a knight on his horse riding through the abyss

Oh that freight train is coming with a loud sucking sound,
Let it hail let it rain, let them go underground


Its a monster that’s growing like a demon unleashed
It’s chewing up the highway and spitting out the trees

There is no tomorrow, there’s only right now
And it’s all up to me, and I just… I just… got to get


I recorded a scratch vocal track with a basic melody and emailed it back to Mike. Now that he’s got an idea of where the syllables fall in the tune he can place his fills, adjust the programming for the drums, add effects etc.

While he’s doing that, I’ll listen to the song over and over in my car singing along and tweaking the melody. Once I have it where I want it, I’ll record another vocal and fire it off to Mike to replace the one I did before.

This is the part where the song is no longer our own. This is the cool part. It’s like when a baby starts to develop it’s personality. You realize then that now you can only guide it in the direction you think it should go in. It will certainly tell you what it needs at this point. I’ve known songs to do that for a long time. Interestingly enough I found the same thing happens with painting.

Anyway, we’ll probably be done with this one in about a week and a half.

So meanwhile, what to do? Mike and I discussed some other obsessions, but nothing gelled for me as yet.

I find myself now “between ideas”. I used to think this was being blocked, but now I call it “incubating”.

Deepak Chopra once talked about the subconscious mind as being a “field of infinite possibilities”. He said when you have a problem to solve or in my case an idea to hatch, you “place the seed in the fertile ground of the field of infinite possibilities”. Click for Sound Effect

Basically, I think he meant “sleep on it”, but his phrasing was much more “oh ee oh, ee oh ah” ;-)

So, while my seeds incubate, I won’t worry about it. The next idea will come when it’s time.

Until then, I’ll leave you with a different tune I’ve been working on called “Recovery”. It’s mainly piano, at least for now, and it needs to be properly mixed and will have vocals, I just haven’t added them yet.