1. have seen a few “I hate lists” posts now floating around. Am concerned this will be the new Charming Hit Meme.
2. As we all know, this will affect me not at all, as I will continue doing precisely what I always do. However, it may affect your feelings about me if you are a person who is affected by what the Internet tells you is cool.
3. In that vein, I hope dislike buttons and -1s don’t appear and become the new Taco.
4. We should quit hating things. Its tacky. See what I did there? I left out that apostrophe. Yes. I did that on porpoise. It’s a learning experience. It’s so we can all grow. Let’s move on. Let it sit there. Or if the urge becomes too great, go back through everything you’ve written in the past year and look for your own little bobbles. Then we can revisit the topic of criticizing one another!
6. At Hall and Oates last night, they played the Making My Dreams Come True song for the 1st Encore (yes my titles are fronk). That’s my favorite one. I could tell they would have liked to play new material. Both of them have current stuff that should be seen. I’ll probably write about that soon.
7. Last night I had a dream and Miss Gradenko was playing in the background of it. So I’m gonna be slurking around the house going “no-body but us in here……”
8. Someone … occasionally sometimes … is wrong on the Internet. Or they will disagree with you.
10. Have a lovely day, filled with tiny hedgehogs and cupcakes and Frolic, or doom and napalm and swear words. It’s totally your decision.
Category: Posts Mentioning Songs
I have a love / despair relationship with SongFight! Nowhere else can I finish a major production in less than a week that makes me feel like an engineering badass because I’ve learned several new skills that it would take a normal person a committee and schooling to achieve…and I did it quietly and on my own. And then in the space of a few people’s comments I suddenly feel like a silly little thing made of candy and fairy spit who cannot put a project together and also yes, probably girlz got no rhythm.
I’m overstating the point. I’m internalizing things. I’m taking three years of comments and sticking them into a big fat cry I’ve needed to have for a long time. I really need to just curl into a big ball and be a huge baby. Also, I am not sure how to explain my artistic decisions without sounding whiny and all… “but! but … ! eeh. eh!!!….”
I will say this. This is Round Six of this contest I’ve been in (I’m DJ Ranger Den). I made seven songs for this contest. This started sometime in April? May? I’ve lost track.
This weekend I slaved over this song that *I*, at least, feel really proud of. I have no idea what will happen to me. I will be surprised at neither outcome. I will be disappointed to be cut, and disappointed if I move on. I’m tired. Also, I am honestly not sure I have more to give. Eight songs is actually a really small album, and it sort of fills me with despair because some of these people in these communities have written albums in one day, or done other acrobatic feats of songwriting that it rips my mind open to contemplate. You could spend your life trying to top this. I’ve spent my last three years writing about this odd little culture that is so fascinated by this life. Because I’ve basically stopped working because I make better music now that I’m sucked into all of this. Better music than I did when I was a professional. I don’t know if that’s sad or just terribly, terribly interesting. Either way, SongFight Live is going to be very interesting this year, just as Nur Ein has been very, very emotional.
So, what DIDN’T I do because I was Nur/Ein-ing-SongFighting this week.
1. Snack copiously while watching TV (I lost about 4 pounds. Over the past 2-3 years I’ve lost almost 40 pounds. I started off calling this the SongFu 15 … and then it became the SongFight diet. They all contribute to this maniacal life though).
2. This one is important:
I did not attend my 20th high school reunion. This was kind of a personal triumph for me, mostly because I forgot that it was on. It was a triumph for me because in 2006 sometime I was sitting in my living room crying, surrounded by amplifiers and recording equipment. I wrote a poem later about how the amplifiers smelled like the house of my ex-songwriting partner, who had dropped off the equipment at my house at my insistence. It was my equipment, all of it, and I wanted it back because he wasn’t allowed to see me anymore and we were not to work together anymore either. I had invested all my energy into a duo with him and I was devestated and didn’t know how I was going to write or record or do anything.
I knew I could write without him but I didn’t know what I would do next and we’d gone to music school together and right alongside him I’d built up contacts and followed him around and just generally walked around in a fog and then melted into my church society and forgot my own existence as a person.
I decided that day that I would never sit in a living room and hopelessly stare at pieces of software and gear; frustrated because I didn’t have a man to help me do something I should know how to do my damn self.
It’s 2012 now. I learned how to work the computers and eventually even switched to Mac and all that. I’ve stopped and started and quit and done a lot of different things since then. I really started the online thing in 2010ish because the Austin thing just wasn’t working for me anymore and I wanted to really concentrate on learning to record.
But I had gone to high school with Him… and he had reconnected with me. He’d started reminiscing about the old days. The band, things that used to be. I guess when the people you used to know start seeming like stronger people, it’s easier to remember the good times. And I am in a MUCH better place.
But I’m not that old girl now.
So the fact that I didn’t wait, and prepare, and obsess, and think about who I was going to look like, and what I was going to wear … the fact that I was thinking about what five other guys, three of who I met in New York and one who I have only messaged but that I’m in a mysteriously organized online band with – and the remaining one overseas (who has a pattern of impartiality/partiality to my work that I can’t figure out for the life of me!) .. the fact I was wondering what THEY might be thinking, doing, having for breakfast…yaddayadda … thinking about three+a group of other guys … wondering what THEY were concocting; what their plans were, what THEY were going to bring to the table, if they were skipping THEIR reunions, getting into trouble at home, if their bathrooms were as nasty as mine, if they needed to be reminded to brush their teeth or take their meds because they were really tired after this whole Ordeal – if any of them were 1/200000576th as Neuro as me ….
well … I forgot my reunion was on. And this was a triumph. I’m crazy because I’m addicted to Songfight. I’m crazy because this is an indicator of personal growth. I’m crazy because this indicates that there is hope for my re-matriculation into Professional Musical Society. But I Do Not Care. Because I Am Happy.
So If I get eliminated. I still won. And I’m not just saying that because I bought the Extremely Pink “Song Love” t-shirt.
As far as feeling bad about the reviews, and enough to cry about it …… I do realize that I am probably just tired and that drinking little but Mountain Dewwhile I vainly struggle Not Getting Paid doing something I am meant to be doing professionally while I learn to do what I used to do less of but better is probably a sure path to whining. I’d say other people on this board do not whine, but I’d kind of be lying. It’s just that when they do it, it comes across as debate, or champions defending territory. When I feel snitty, it comes across as petulance, so I keep my mouth closed. But I do feel this artistic rebellion welling up inside me and at some point it’s going to surge out of me. in a huge way. And if it does and I get more “meh” then I’ll know that I’m ready because I’ve been in the right place. I’ve learned that no one on the planet really gives a crap about what we make as artists and this is a really good place to learn that – where people will mercilessly take your work and completely eviscerate it in front of you until there isn’t anything sacred about it anymore for you. And it is then that you are ready to stop being a show pony about it and really do justice to song writing. It’s then that you’re ready to stop being proud and stop being a hero. Maybe you were wrong about something. Maybe your idea wasn’t that cool, or fresh. Perhaps you are wrong and your reviewers are right.
I always think that when I get teary over any reviews because I am tired and I have laid my spleen before the altar of Cubase and set it on fire again.
But then I think that perhaps I sacrificed not-in-vain to the song faeries, and that I’m fine and everyone else is full of crap.
Only time gives me this balance. And I think this is something everybody, absolutely EVERYBODY goes through. And no one can really know what it means. And where the hell the downbeat TRULY lies.
So I think I’ll put the emphaSIS on whichever SYLaBLE I feel ka-like.
ps. Here is a backwards photo of the Kombucha Tea (or “tea with creatures”) that I am drinking today. It’s a new flavor, made with apples. From Buddha’s Brew.
1. I am SILLY behind on my blog-thing-lets. And music-stuff-lets. Also my house is a mess, and I got food poisoning trying to make cookies. I cleverly neglected to tell my roommate this, and he does not read my blog (this will be the one time he does, and then he will say something about me eating raw cookie dough because I strutted around like a Superdough Eating Cookie Hero (what?!?!)). oh! that reminds me! I forgot to put up the photos of Couch Kitty and I that I took when we were trying to get the vocals done for ‘It Always Gets Better.’ I am SOOOOO forgetful!!!
2. I have:
-Blogathon coming up at the end of April.
-Nur Ein coming at the middle of April
-ongoing stuff happening with Psychotics because it’s going too well not too keep going on with it.
-stuff I really need to finish that I’m in the middle of doing for some other online friends that they’ve probably lost all hope of me ever completing. This is for like three different projects.
3. I have a million blog entries to tag. I tagged some poems in my blog with the tag “poetry” and immediately people started looking at my blog. Activity on my blog increased by a substantial amount. I started thinking “I wonder what would happen if I started including photographs and tagging and tweeting and doing lots of stuff for ALL my entries ALL the time and just really linking stuff really well and publicizing things a lot better.” I realized I may be onto something there because my content, I think, is of pretty high quality and people seem to have a good time dealing with me when forced to hang out in my Precidence. That’s not even a word, but that is how the oatmeal sprinkles, my ducklings.
4. I’m just not that much of a hat person anymore, I realized yesterday.
5. Here is a photo of fluffy’s book which I am reading. more news on that when I have finished it. I was very excited when it came in the mail:
I am really incredibly tired and should tag and link this up. So I’m going to sacrifice any further content for cool-a-bility. Which is killing me. Well, I’ve linked up. So I will now make up a word.
1. The Internet sure can get to you if you don’t step out and go play a pretty grand piano – or get some fresh air.
2. I think I’ve got my eyes on a gig I want.
3. I don’t usually want to go to places, but it IS like me to fall in love with pianos.
5. It’s not too far-fetched to think I could teach myself to play more interesting parts. I think the key is doing more with less. Duality Cupcake went really well last time I played it.
6. Got a couple really late things I’m working on tomorrow; and will be thru the weekend.
7. I’ve scraped the dirt off my schedule and hopefully my routine/lack thereof so I should be getting stuff done now.
I highly recommend this activity; just ditching your dead-end pursuits. There’s some battles that ain’t worth the fight. The one for your sanity though, is always worth both fight and/or retreat.
8. one more bed-thought? Cake. Not a good idea for dinner with my Tea-With-Creatures. Tummy hurts!! (Kombucha. A fungus among’us ): and I’m supposed to be the princess of dessert and all that! Guess I should know better.
9. Both the songs I played Monday were dessert songs! And I coulda played one more. Later I showed Heather one of BLT & my songs we cowrote for the Psychotics thing and she caught my cake reference
Maybe I’m not done with food metaphors yet. Not if I want restaurant gigs, at least
For me, the idea of “drama free” began in a poem which I wrote back in 2006. I discarded it because I grew out of the reasons for writing it.
Later on it came back up and combined with a new reason for writing it. It became a song then, about leaving and coming into my own. It was about something I went through religiously.
I may someday make a ‘story of a song’ over it. I feel like Graham gets it, because he covered it. I feel like Joe gets it, because he is talking about it and remembering it, and it sticks in his mind as something that belonged to me. I feel sometimes like other people get me. Oftentimes, I feel like people … don’t.
EX: raise your hand if you knew that I had never heard of Sue Storm until AFTER the Round One listening party?
This means I should write a Round One story of a song, and I probably will. There’s some golden eggs in there – some intended specifically for Travis Langworthy, but it’s a little silly joke that I was telling. It’s also a very STUPID joke and a pretentious joke that is very much MY sense of humor!!!
Anyway, some people get my little “off” sense of humor and what I’m trying to do. And it’s nice to have any audience among my peers. some people that know that I’m always trying to do something transformative which is about what the lyrics are attempting to reveal about me. And that I’m trying to do it in this particular way. And that when I listen to people too much and try to change what I’m doing into what they think I should be, that it will never work for me.
I can’t really sacrifice what I have to say for audience, for money … for anything. I’m just going to have to find another way.
As a songwriter, I am a diarist. I can only write what I know. I only know – me.
Part of me has learned from these competitions that I’m not really cut out for them. I’m not like Edric, who writes a song that he is told to write, and does it brilliantly. I go through painful transformative cataclysms until it is done. I am not the master of the song, it is the master of me. I invited who I THOUGHT the judges were into the bedroom this time, and then hit on them in a tawdry and clumsy way … then I got REJECTED. Like in an embarassing way. Like I staged this whole cheezy scene. Thinking I was all… beautiful or something and … well … shoulda known better.
It’s a horrible metaphor and doesn’t really fit. But I feel dirty and gross. Nothing worse that raping your own self. That’s just dumb. And I realize that for a piece of something awful, my tune is actually pretty skilled, compared to a lot of things. But this is why everyone is always feeling very sorry for Brittney Spears. She’s not a bad performer, but she keeps shaving her head and gaining and losing weight and flashing her yow-yow every which way.
So my tune was an abberation in a lot of ways. Albiet classier. It’s hard for me to embarass myself. It’s something slutty that I did. And I think that I hate it. I’m ashamed of it. I’m glad that it put me out. Just like I’m glad that my first song in Song Fu six, ‘Rain’ did enough damage to my total score to knock me out of a shot into the Final Round. Because in THAT case, I listened to what someone else told me to do. They told me that my instincts weren’t good enough – and that I had to start all over and please someone else.
I know that I’ll be told that I’m being too hard on myself. I don’t care. This is all just rehearsal for me. I’m doing this now so that I won’t have to do it more painfully later. I don’t think for a second this is it for me. I’ve been saying this since I was 16.
Anyway, with these thoughts, I’ll show you the poem I wrote so long ago. It’s called Lucky Charm
I said I love you and you said it back
You’re the only one
so simple a clean fact
You’re my lucky charm
pulled from the lion’s mouth
with tiny little hands
You made me look so obvious
infants could understand
You were the one who babysat
me through the evening
So now you’ll stay
alone with you
Because I have to
Leave in company with me
the only way you’ll be okay is
Drama free and naturally
you’ll rue the day
And I don’t know
what on earth we’d do
In this flimsy house of cards
I did like the phrase enough to use ‘drama free’ for a hook later in a song.
I don’t know that you can copyright a phrase for a hook. I’m not popular enough to really be remembered enough for doing something cool or clever. But I was at least memorable enough to get covered, and brought up in the memory of a judge when a really cool phrase which I also discovered long ago once got brought up once again.
I wonder if anyone else has also discovered it.
It’s 4:30 in the morning. I have a sea of work in front of me that isn’t REALLY technically work. Deadlines that aren’t REALLY deadlines. A few gigs. Some fun equipment to learn. A house to clean. I’m sick. I’m tired. No biggie.
But I’m at an impasse, because All Is Not Well.
Because I’ve gotten bored. I’ve had a few knocks. A few failures. A few “mediocres” and not enough “Hell-yeahs.” Not enough crazy-wow-s. I need a HIT. Not just a REALLY good. But an undeniable hit.
I need another ‘Bluebeard.’ Or another ‘Cupcake.’ Or another ‘Emily.’ Or I need to spruce up ‘Stranded,’ and get it out there, because that was a good song.
But I do need to do something, and quick.
I’ve had several ideas. Directions I could go in. Things I could do. All the while things pile up around me. I look at the things. And I’ve been here before. And I realize that nothing is going to change and I will be this person for the rest of my life unless I become a person who inspires people.
In order to do that, I’m going to have to get more sleep, and clean my house, and make some lists. And I’m going to need to learn these organ patches so I won’t have a REAL reason to drink as much liquor as the Kings are probably going to feed me on Friday.
Now that I have established that I love myself, I’m going to go ahead and say that
I LOVE NUR EIN … and I LOVE THESE PEOPE and I think I’m going to have a REALLY good time if I can pull myself together enough to really participate. Most of this has been due to distractions and my schedule. This week I wrote what could be a really good song with some awesome angsty emotions behind it which I re-channeled into a fun little -fantasystoryconcept which was a great job. But I’m going to give a critique now. But first, a list.
1. The previous entry was written so that I could continue to insult myself in freedom and impunity like any other good american. (tongue-in-cheek)
2. The previous link I gave for my nur ein stuff wasn’t right. Here is the proper link for the blog entry
3. By the way … what I am hearing is that most of the folks REALLY know how to set up a mix. So I’m going to learn a LOT from this, which I am SUPER stoked about. There was a lot of really good song-training and deadline and networking stuff in Fu/TMA … but I think I’m going to get REALLY on the ball from these Song Fight/Nur Ein folks.
4. In closing of list 1, it is REALLY tough to FULLY enjoy these when some fool is cutting down trees with a power saw outside of the LOUDEST STUDIO IN AUSTIN and there is some weird-assed bird CAW-CAWing outside my window. *sheesh*
So, without further ado:
A LIST OF IMPROVEMENTS WHICH COULD AND MIGHT-SHOULD (later) BE MADE TO ‘STRANDED’ (my nur ein round 1 tune)
1. I need to recut the vocal track using a frickkin pop filter.
2. I need to take the time to design a REALLY good eq for myself for different situations
3. Same goes for different reverbs.
4. I could have spent more time on the pianos
5. I went a little over the top on the accessory keyboards
6. The lyrics were a bit all over the place. I think this would have been tightened up with another take. In the absence of that, I could have run the pitch things on the tips of some of the words and it woulda been fine – sounding more deliberate. This happened in my SongFu 6/Round 1 song ‘Rain‘ a little bit, which was a similar sort of song.
7. My piano chords were good though, so it would have benefitted from being played more smoothly. There were some jumpy transitions in the chorus, which I repeated thankfully from chorus-to-chorus. At least I sounded like I meant to do it that way.
8. The structure is a bit arbitrary, but I made it work.
9. I’m not really singing to the best of my ability, and am a bit warbly. I dunno. I wasn’t comfy with my voice that day. I haven’t been feeling the sexy lately … I’ll get it back sometime soon – you mark my words
QUOTES FROM FAVORITE LYRICS THUSLY FAR (the ones that spring to mind, from Billy’s Little Trip)
“Give me peace love and rock
sex love and BBQ …
I’m just a simple guy
trying to swim back to shore while caught in the undertow”
This is my LAST MINUTE Nur Ein entry. The challenge was ‘Whispering,’ which I did … plus I mentioned whispering as well. The title was Stranded. I wrote it about being left at a space station by some jerk.
It’s at the Nur Ein, website and I’m DJ Ranger Den.
Slide over here
you look like not going anywhere for a while
It’s an understatement that it’s cold in space
Besides your smile reminds me of the way
he used to smile
You know I stare at the stars to pass the time
I try to hitch rides
Maybe work my way back to earth to
divert the attention from the situation of mine
I bide my time, station-side
well I need a little distraction
From this heartbreak, plan my revenge games
let me whisper a little irony in your ear
I’m stranded / you left me stranded
All alone at the edge of space and disaster
you severed the wormhole that tied us together
put so many lightyears between you and me and forever
Now I’m stranded … I’m stranded in time
… and space
Remember I didn’t even wanna come here
I like the earth on my feet, I like the breeze whispering
I like the water rushing under me
It’s out here that I feel like I’m drowning
In a sea of uncertainty
and I’m not where I want to be
Remember that night, when you lied
were you just passing through while I planning our lives
what’s the hell’s the matter with you?
You know I’ve waited for you … for many triple moons
You don’t even remember what that means, do you?
I wish you could see how it’s been
here at the end of the universe waiting at some restaurant
staring at a check that’s never ever gonna get picked up
while you blast off,
by yourself … with who-knows-what
While I’m stranded
This is a blog about my SongFu shadow entry. It’s going to be very stream of consciousness, as I go …
One of the things about this story is that it’s DIFFERENT from the original Bluebeard song! This is because it is a different wife. The first wife I envisioned for my king I had to make up. This is because Joe made me very, very nervous.
Joe isn’t just older than me agewise, he’s fuller and richer sounding than me. He has a more sophisticated sounding accent to me (to my ears). When he records himself, he often does this “man on the march with a very large army” thing with chorus-type effect and it makes him seem very present. Whereas I sound often very young and thin. I often wrinkle around the pitch and I haven’t quite come into the bottom-out of my range. I can feel it coming, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I think we work in a duet sitch because our vibratos just happen to match up. It’s odd because our voices do not. The only way I resolved this problem was to make a character piece till I learn the puzzle around our vocal chemistry better.
The basic thing is that he’s a remote cold ruler of a country and my first wife is a young and easily impressionable childlike slip of a girl that is completely overcome by this man. He teaches her EVERYTHING about love and she is lost in him. But yeah, curiosity kills the cat. She finds the key and all the women are hanging on the hooks.
It makes me want to finish it, in a trilogy. How did he become a serial killer? Hmmm. I swear I’m not a psychopath! Maybe I want an album of feminist fairy tale songs.
The story didn’t feel over. I wanted this king dead. And the real story is about the wife that is saved. I don’t like that. I want the girl to save herself. So I change the story. I want her to poison him. I think poison is very romantic. Maybe she has a cool ring that she keeps poison in. Maybe it’s the ring that the previous wife (who was her friend, after all!) didn’t have the good sense not to use at the first awkward breakfast after that stupid business trip to the orient where he went to get the textiles or whatever it is he does overseas …)
There’s an argument happening in a development happening between this husband and wife leading up to the line “what will you kill me for / I’ll kill you for – curiosity” The characters are not in sync. The facade of the marriage is starting to fall apart. It’s all based on sex and mourning for a mutual love. The wife was too fascinated with the intense love story of the original Bluebeard marriage (“I watched you love her” – from the first stanza), and Bluebeard was kinda (sorry!) sexing his troubles away with her. This new wife is very sensual … but not “the one.”
This is because Bluebeard has a problem with women. But he screwed up because he fell in love with the one from FuSixRound 2 and now he’s acting out. He really should stop killing his women. Perhaps he needs a ‘shrink.
In the blues part, it’s pretty certain that they do have a bit of a thing for each other. They certainly are addicted to propriety, an ideal of marriage, sex, the mourning of an idealized love that they both witnessed (and he experienced!) in the previous marriage (the ‘Something Very Horrible’ one). They need the One More Night. But this girl has her head on a bit straighter and she’s got follow through. She rises to the challenge and remembers that he can drink himself a bit and that she’s just got to suck it up past her fascination with this man. What’s her lie? Maybe that it’s okay. Who knows.
They both know it’s not okay. The whole situation is easy. It’s like a duel.
I have a little scene in my mind about the “ties that bind.” Like he imprisons her and then lets her out for one more night. This tracks with the Bluebeard story where she begs for ten more minutes. Mine becomes one more night. This is admittedly why I drag out section two a bit. I’m trying to stretch it out like you try not to say goodbye.
But onto the next section. The compositional ideas are, once again for me, not coming across in the recording … yet!
1. I haven’t had a guy vocal in my songs since … before …. I’m experimenting with a themed thing. I have access to a lot of tools I’ve never had before as well.
3. This song is not finished. I’m not happy with it yet.
4. I think the engineering is very “tentative.” I think that this is because I am at a very tentative point in my life. I’m both confident and unsure.
5. I am also taking more risks and trying to bring together all the “things that I wanted to be when I grew up” into one cohesive style. It’s hard to amalgamate everything.
6. Joe has this opinion about the first Bluebeard tune. He said other people have shared this opinion, and I have since had that confirmed. It’s that my vocals are buried back in the mix and should be louder. This got into my head on this recording. I think I over-compensated. As a result, my vocals are too loud.
7. Joe’s vocal is not loud enough. His reverb is not right yet. I need it to come up and I need to spend time finding the right reverb for him. This is still in discussion. I fear I will never find the right effect for him; although I have gotten pretty good at editing his position and his wave when need be. I did it REALLY well in Bluebeard. Although … he hardly needed a thing because the man can lay down a track …
8. I want another instrument in here. Or three. I ran out of time, simply that. Also, I really wanted a real drumset. SXSW intervened. Maybe I’ll get my wish sometime.
9. The vocals are also out of sync a bit, in my opinion.
10. It was hard to line up the track to the instrumentals. Usually it is not hard to do this. Cubase has been acting up. The computer fully crashed twice during this and I actually lost a lot of data once!
I think I was having “marital problems” with the song! Just like they were.
Sometimes things don’t come quite as easily. However, I like the concept a lot and I think this has a lot of potential. It feels right. More mature. It’s worth a work-on. So I’m gonna keep at it. Which feels weird to say, because I can’t play it live or anything.
Anyway, the listening party is soon and Joe is casting so I’m off. I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous about this one, so will post this blog now.
Thanks for listening.