Archive for February, 2010

Week Eight

February 26, 2010

Glad To See You
By Kim Davidson
(c) 2010

A friend recently told me about running into his ex
He hadn’t seen her since he’d left her two-plus years ago
He’d long dreaded the moment, but he needn’t have done
They talked and caught up and she seemed pleased to see him again
And so it got me thinking about running into you
So far it hasn’t happened, but if did what would I do?

CHORUS: Maybe I’d scream and curse and cry
Maybe I’d have to ask you why you said I love you then didn’t stand by me
Maybe I’d punch you in the heart because you tore mine apart
Maybe I’d push you just to watch you fall
Maybe I’d just be glad to see you at all…

Part of my soul died on the day you left
And maybe it’ll be different someday, but nothing’s revived it yet
The truth is I still miss you, which is hardly right or fair
After all the time that’s passed it shouldn’t be possible to care
And how can I be thinking about running into you?
So far it hasn’t happened, but if it did what would I do?

CHORUS: Maybe I’d scream and curse and cry
Maybe I’d have to ask you why you said I love you then didn’t stand by me
Maybe I’d punch you in the heart because you tore mine apart
Maybe I’d push you just to watch you fall
Maybe I’d just be glad to see you at all…

BRIDGE: I miss the you that used to be my friend
Sometimes I wish that I could have that much back again
But I know I could never watch you love somebody else
‘Til the end of time I will always want you all to myself

And how can I be thinking about running into you?
So far it hasn’t happened, but if it did what would I do?

CHORUS: Maybe I’d scream and curse and cry
Maybe I’d have to ask you why you said I love you then didn’t stand by me
Maybe I’d punch you in the heart because you tore mine apart
Maybe I’d push you just to watch you fall
Maybe I’d just be glad to see you at all…

Well, first let me apologize for faking you out with the title. You guys have probably come to expect more happy than sad songs at this point, and this title is definitely misleading. Though that’s what I like about it, to be honest.

This one was kinda rough. Still is, actually. I don’t think it’s finished. I think I’ll revisit this one at some point down the road when I can manage it. Believe me when I tell you I didn’t WANT to write this one. It wanted to be written, and there was kind of no getting out of it. I guess my subconscious was calling the shots on this one. Or something.

Exactly as written, a friend of mine recently ran into his ex. Their breakup was not particularly happy, and he’d always thought that if they ran into each other it would be a disaster. He expected that she’d be really mean, or not talk to him, or God only knows. Instead, they bumped into each other and she was really nice to him. They had a nice conversation and she even told him he could keep in touch if he wanted. He was really relieved. I made a joke at the time that if my ex were to bump into me he would NOT fare so well.

Of course, humans being as complex as we are, the more I thought about it the more I realized it would never be that simple (which is why, frankly, I hope I never run into him). It’s one thing to fantasize about drop-kicking someone to the head (when they are totally deserving, naturally), it’s another thing to actually do it if you happen upon them. The reality of seeing someone you used to love, but haven’t seen in a long time, is a lot more dicey than whatever you can come up with in your imagination. I have no doubt about that. I mean, just having the thought put into my mind made tears spring to my eyes out of nowhere. It made me think about things I haven’t allowed myself to think about—like how much I just miss his presence in my life. How much I really would LOVE to see him, if I wasn’t so devastated. It’s like bringing someone back from the dead in a way. Who wouldn’t do that if they could? But then again, there’s so much more to consider… what if he’s with someone else? I couldn’t deal with that. I’d rather he stay dead. I’d rather not know. And even if he wasn’t. Even if he was just himself, alone, and chatted me up politely… it would never be enough. All these things were in my head. And then I dreamed about him.

On Monday night (or morning I guess) as I was sleeping in preparation for my writing day, I had a dream that I ran into him at a store. He was going to leave without talking to me, because he assumed I was so angry at him I wouldn’t want him to approach me (Damn straight, says the waking Kim), but in the dream I ran after him and talked to him. Told him I forgive him for all he’d done to hurt me. He asked if I wanted to be friends and I said no. It’s funny, even in the dream I knew I was full of shit. I was forgiving him because I felt like it was what HE wanted, and what I was SUPPOSED to do, but I still didn’t really feel it. Still. I did it, and in dreamland all was as right between us as it could ever be expected to be.

For the record, in reality–for anyone who’s interested–I have tried a couple times to forgive him, just to myself in my own heart, and I just can’t do it. Maybe someday. Maybe never. I don’t know. I don’t know when. I just know not now.

At any rate, I spent most of the day thinking of all of these things, thinking of HIM, fighting tears, working on this song that was begging for life, and I think it’s only a fraction of what it probably could be. We’ll see. For now, this is what it is.

Advertisements

One Little Rhyme

February 25, 2010

While we’re in Revision Land, I decided to make a tiny adjustment to my Timmy Riordan song as well. I liked the challenge of writing a song without any rhymes in it; unfortunately, I feel like the tag line gets kind of lost in the shuffle. Perhaps down the road I’ll find a melody or different supportive structure around it to not need to add a rhyme. For the moment I wanted to try simply rhyming ONE line with the tag line to see if it helped it pop. I think it does. It’s a step in the right direction, at least.

EVEN THE STARS LIE (REVISED)
By Kim Davidson
© 2010

I’m lying here in our bed all alone
And you called to say that you’d be working late
And I’m trying not to let my mind go wanderin’ too far
But this is something I’ve been hiding from for far too long

They’re all piling up the little hints that I’ve ignored
The scent of perfume I don’t wear in the laundry
The phone rings late at night, but there’s no one on the line
Unless the office calls for you to come back in

CHORUS:
Oh it’s so hard to pretend with my intuition screaming
As I stand outside and look up to the stars
And I wonder gazing at the shining lights twinkling above
How many of these glimmers sources died out long ago?
You ask me to trust and to put my faith in you
Against all odds and evidence, well I can try…
But you are just a man… so how can I take you at your word when even the stars lie?

And I can’t go back… to that time of innocence
To that blind belief I always had in you
So I must decide if I can live with less than what was promised
Or trust myself enough to walk away

CHORUS:
And it’s so hard to pretend with my intuition screaming
As I stand outside and look up to the stars
And I wonder gazing at the shining lights twinkling above
How many of these glimmers sources died out long ago?
You ask me to trust and to put my faith in you
Against all odds and evidence, well I can try…
But you are just a man… so how can I take you at your word when even the stars lie?

Save the Puppy!

February 25, 2010

Well, this is kind of exciting actually. Because this is a songwriting blog, it’s perfectly allowable (according to the powers-that-be, namely ME) to break up the weekly format with a little bit of additional info on any given song at any given time. This week brings my first New Song Weekly revision. Here’s how it went down:

I belong to this songwriting group that meets once a month. I actually haven’t been to a meeting in a few months, but now that NSW is up and running, there’s plenty of stuff for me to bring to the group, so I went to the meeting last weekend and brought “Snow Globe.” I was feeling a little cocky, I admit it. I thought it was a pretty good song and I wasn’t expecting there to be much for anyone to dissect too deeply. But I should have realized the emotional impact the mention of a mere puppy could have.

Oh my God—you would think I’d sacrificed a live puppy then and there! It was ALL about the puppy. WHAT happened to the puppy? Why was this poor little puppy out alone in the cold? It distracted EVERYBODY and there was no getting away from it. My cute little plot device had the completely opposite effect from what I expected. To my credit (yes, I am patting myself on the back here—it’s my blog, I can do that) I immediately recognized that everyone was completely right and I had done the song (and the imaginary puppy) a disservice. I didn’t need to put an innocent little puppy into fake danger. I had written about a snow storm, after all. There was plenty of opportunity to create the scenario that would bring sexy, tow-truck-driving Alejandro back into the mix.

So I mulled it over and retooled the bridge and saved the puppy, and I think it’s definitely a better song and story because of it. There was also some resistance to the word “hot” in the second half of the first verse… it just didn’t quite seem to fit to some people. I’m not one-hundred percent sold on losing it, only because it’s very “me” and very descriptive of the actual, real-life Alejandro, and it’s the artist’s prerogative to take the group’s advice and not utilize it. However, for the sake of argument I thought I’d try a new word on for size. So that’s in there, too. I like it. It grows on me a little more with each listen. We’ll see what happens when I start playing it out live.

What do you guys think? I noticed my listens were way down last week compared to previous weeks. I wonder if distress over the puppy factored in? If so, hopefully you’ll find the new version a more repeat-play-worthy tune. Enjoy!

SNOW GLOBE (REVISED)
By Kim Davidson
(c) 2010

I can smell it coming in the air. The snow that I’ve been waiting for is almost here
As I step outside the office, heading for a local restaurant
I’m alone so I sit at the bar, beside a man so chiseled he could be a movie star
We share a friendly toast, read our menus, deciding what we want

CHORUS: And there atop the bar is a snow globe
Tiny figures walking through a tiny town
Lost in my imagination, I shake it hard and fast
And all the glittered snow starts coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind.

The man beside me turns to me and smiles. His name is Alejandro and he’s lived here for a while
But he still has an accent, sexy as his dark brown hair
We talk over dinner and some wine. And when we both walk out, he goes his way, I go mine
But I can’t stop the feeling, there is magic in the air.

CHORUS: And at home on the mantel is a snow globe
Tiny figures walking through a tiny town
Lost in my imagination, I shake it hard and fast
And all the glittered snow starts coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind.

I wake up and the world has turned to white. A fluffy blanket covers all that I see far and wide.
So I dig out my car and make my way slowly down the street.
The world is quiet, no one is around. And snow flies at my windshield on its journey to the ground
I’m rejoicing in the cold, in the winter sky between the naked trees

CHORUS: And through the window it looks like the snow globe
Everything is frozen like that tiny town
And in my imagination someone’s turned us on our heads
And all the glittered snow is coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind

BRIDGE: Just then a hidden patch of ice throws me off my course
My tires slip and make no claim, braking makes it worse
I steer as best I can, panic making my moves swift
The car is moving sideways til it spins
And slides
And lands
Right in a giant snow drift….

I’m not hurt, but I am stuck for sure.
It’s inconvenient, yes, but not the worst I could endure. So I call AAA, and listen to the radio and wait.
They get there in a half hour or so. And who’s behind the wheel, but dark and sexy Alejandro
And who can really say? Is it coincidence or is it Fate?

CHORUS: And standing in the street feels like the snow globe
Like we’re the tiny figures in that tiny town
And all my sense of reason has been turned upon its head
As all the glittered snow keeps coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind.

Week 7 – A New Milestone!

February 19, 2010

SNOW GLOBE
By Kim Davidson
(c) 2010

I can smell it coming in the air. The snow that I’ve been waiting for is almost here
As I step outside the office, heading for a local restaurant
I’m alone so I sit at the bar, beside a man so hot he could be a movie star
We share a friendly toast, read our menus, deciding what we want

CHORUS: And there atop the bar is a snow globe
Tiny figures walking through a tiny town
Lost in my imagination, I shake it hard and fast
And all the glittered snow starts coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind.

The man beside me turns to me and smiles. His name is Alejandro and he’s lived here for a while
But he still has an accent, it’s sexy as his dark brown hair
We talk over dinner and some wine. And when we both walk out, he goes his way, I go mine
But I can’t stop the feeling, there is magic in the air.

CHORUS: And at home on the mantel is a snow globe
Tiny figures walking through a tiny town
Lost in my imagination, I shake it hard and fast
And all the glittered snow starts coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind.

I wake up and the world has turned to white. A fluffy blanket covers all that I see far and wide.
So I dig out my car and make my way slowly down the street.
The world is quiet, no one is around. And snow flies at my windshield on its journey to the ground
I’m rejoicing in the cold, in the winter sky between the naked trees

CHORUS: And through the window it looks like the snow globe
Everything is frozen like that tiny town
And in my imagination someone’s turned us on our heads
And all the glittered snow is coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind

BRIDGE: Then something darts out in the street
I barely see in time
A cold and frightened puppy
From the corner of my eye
I swerve the wheel as best I can
And narrowly I miss
The puppy who runs right on by
My car
Which spins
And slides
Into a giant snow drift….

I’m not hurt, but I am stuck for sure. It’s inconvenient, yes, but not the worst I could endure
So I call AAA, and listen to the radio and wait.
They get there in a half hour or so. And who’s behind the wheel, but dark and sexy Alejandro
And who can really say? Is it coincidence or is it Fate?

CHORUS: And standing in the street feels like the snow globe
Like we’re the tiny figures in that tiny town
And all my sense of reason has been turned upon its head
As all the glittered snow keeps coming down
And you can laugh if you’re so inclined
But I am in the snow globe in my mind.

Okay so, true story: I wake up on Tuesday and discover it is snowing out. This is a surprise to me because I don’t ever watch the news or pay attention to things like the weather forecast (which is how I’ve seriously ended up in flip-flops making my way to the car through an inch of snow once or twice at the end of the workday), so I honestly never know what’s going on in the world until someone mentions it or I see it for myself. Luckily I glanced out the window before getting dressed, thus insuring I’d wear my boots and not the aforementioned flip-flops. It was coming down in big, beautiful, sticky flakes, accumulating on the ground and on my car rapidly. I was loving it. I’m a native New Englander, born of hardy Finnish stock, and I think an innate love for snow and cold is probably in my blood. I know plenty of people who complain about every flake that falls in Massachusetts every year, but I just can’t get enough of it. Especially when it’s pretty snow (versus the dreaded wintry mix—I admit that is no fun) like this was. I was so excited that I had the day off and could get out and enjoy it.

Since it was my scheduled writing day, my basic plan was treating myself to lunch (which I sometimes go for instead of the Starbucks trip), reading a little of an old Debbie Macomber book I found in the bookcase in our upstairs hallway (I’ve been obsessed with her since just after Christmas and have been voraciously reading pretty much everything she’s ever written), and then writing my two tunes. Yes, I had to write my Timmy Riordan song that day in addition to my New Song Weekly song. I actually had to record and upload the song for Tim as well—talk about piling on the pressure! But I was feeling up to it, and the snow definitely boosted my energy and spirits.

I cleaned off my car, which I find oddly therapeutic, and made my way to the T.G.I.Friday’s in Everett. I recently discovered they have this sick deal where you can get an app, an entrée and dessert for $12.99. I know! You take half of it home and it’s two meals in one. And the menu options for that price bracket are really good. I mean, it’s not like you have to bump up to the 3-courses-for-$16.99 option to get the good stuff. It’s a really sweet deal. And I write better on a full tummy, and a little indulgence.

I end up in this cozy booth near the front. It’s past the lunch rush, so it’s not particularly crowded, and the snow has people staying mostly home (because not everyone is like me—I LOVE driving in the snow), so I feel like I’ll really be able to relax and enjoy myself. My waiter comes over, leans against the booth-back across from me and introduces himself. Alejandro. He says his name with this deep sexy, accented voice that just makes me want to sigh and lean my chin on my hand right in front of him, and just stare up at him dreamily while he does exciting things like inhale and exhale. He was really something. I couldn’t identify the accent, but who cares? It was almost like a non-silly-exaggerated version of Hank Azaria’s accent in “The Birdcage.” (Agador-Spartacus!) Which of course makes it sound like it was comical, but trust me—it was NOT. Just sexy as hell. He had me at “Welcome to Friday’s.”

So he was very attentive and yet very respectful of not being in my face, which I can appreciate. It’s a delicate balance, and you don’t even always know you want it that way until you experience it. I was just quietly reading, waiting for each course, and anytime he came over to place anything in front of me it was “Oh, excuse me,” as if he were disturbing me by doing his job. He kept addressing me as “My lady.” NOT everyone can pull that one off, but he just said it like it was so natural. I was quite smitten, truth be told. I think he is married (hard to tell with those Europeans. Is it a wedding band on your right ring finger, or just some ring you like to wear?), but it was an enjoyable meal at the least, and that was more than enough for me. When we were finished and I was handing him the bill he bid me a sweet farewell, “Be careful in the snow,” and told me his schedule (Tuesday through Saturday), which I thought was a nice touch. You take ownership of that lunch shift, Alejandro! I’ll be back!

Now I had started to work on Tim’s song the evening before (after midnight! I’m not a cheater!) so while I was taking a little rest and trying to decide between the three dessert options, I did a little more work on it and got it pretty much finished. That left me free to start thinking about the second song I had to write. And it ended up coming right out of my day, as you heard. The snow was really working me, like an old boyfriend who knows all your sweet spots, and I DID feel like I was living in a snow globe. So that became the inspiration for the song. I sang bits and pieces into my DVR as I drove through the snow. I kept thinking maybe I should stop somewhere else and get it down in my notebook, but I didn’t want to miss any of it, and being in the car is the next best thing to being out walking around in it (only much, much warmer), and the ideas were coming so I didn’t feel I should interrupt my groove. I got a good head start that way, and then decided to grab a cup of coffee and find a place to sit in the car and transcribe what was on the DVR and write in a bit more organized fashion. I ended up at the far edge of a parking lot near my house, facing a line of snow-covered trees, and that was when the idea of making it a romantic encounter song came to me. And at that point I just had to steal Alejandro’s name because, first of all, it’s beautiful and rhythmic and evocative, and also because he had kind of inspired the whole mysterious stranger idea in the first place. So Alejandro, if you ever come across this blog, I dedicate this song to you (and your wife, lucky woman), with my thanks.

I have to say this song was so much FUN to write. I couldn’t wait to sit with my guitar and get the chords going and sing it for myself. I admit feeling like I had something to prove as well. Let’s face it, the past two songs have not been light or fluffy, and I can only imagine that some of you were a heartbeat away from thinking, “Here she goes, back into the dark and disturbing trend again!” Well shows you what YOU know! Just when you think you know me… I’m in the west. (Name that reference!)

Meanwhile, I have to say I had a hell of a time recording this song. I did a great audio pass of it last night after I’d fleshed out the chords and just wanted to hear it all in context. Then tonight while I was making the video it seemed impossible to get the guitar rhythm going without messing it up. At least that was my experience in the moment. I was convinced the one “passable” take I got would have me settling for “good enough.” But after all the editing and time away from it, I have to say I think it came out pretty good after all. And the outtakes even had ME laughing. That might just have to do with it being really late and me being really tired… I don’t know if it’s noticeable, but they’re kinda backwards. I pulled all the videos from last to first this week because I already knew that the last one was the best take, so then everything got kind of jumbled from there. I think it works either way. I mean, they’re outtakes. Who cares what order they happened in, right?

So that’s “Snow Globe.” I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and I hope the next week brings more inspiration. We’ve passed last year’s milestone. I feel pretty good about that. Just gotta keep on going…

Mid-Week Bonus Song!

February 17, 2010

What?! You heard me right! My friend Timmy Riordan is crazier than I am, in that he has challenged himself to write not just one measly song a WEEK, but a song A DAY for every day in February (and a couple extra days at the end of January/beginning of March). Yup. A SONG A DAY, kids. My hat is off to him. I could not do that.

But I did want to be involved when he opened the project to guest musicians, figuring it would be more fun to have a different person along for the ride with him everyday. We figured out our schedules and this was the day assigned to me. I didn’t want to cheat by making my Timmy song my regular weekly song, so this is a bonus song; my regular Week 7 tune will show up here on Friday.

In the meantime, here is my Timmy Riordan Song Bomb 2010 contribution:

EVEN THE STARS LIE
By Kim Davidson
© 2010

I’m lying here… in our bed all alone
And you called to say that you’d be working late
And I’m trying not to let my mind go wanderin’ too far
But this is something I’ve been hiding from for far too long

They’re all piling up… the little hints that I’ve ignored
The scent of perfume I don’t wear in the laundry
The phone rings late at night, but there’s no one on the line
Unless the office calls for you to come back in…

CHORUS:
Oh it’s so hard to pretend with my intuition screaming
As I stand outside and look up to the stars
And I wonder gazing at the shining lights twinkling above
How many of these glimmers’ sources died out long ago?
You ask me to trust and to put my faith in you
Against all odds and evidence I’ve found
But you are just a man… so how can I take you at your word… when even the stars lie?

And I can’t go back… to that time of innocence
To that blind belief I always had in you
So I must decide if I can live with less than what was promised
Or trust myself enough to walk away

CHORUS

This song is a mish-mash of three different ideas colliding into one song attempt. I had the idea quite a while ago to write a song using “even the stars lie.” I just love that image. Like, you can’t even count on the cosmos because that star you’re looking at right now might actually have died out eons ago. So cool. So I’ve been wanting to find a way to use that for some time. Additionally, I’ve been feeling this pull lately to write Other People’s Stories in my songs (whether made up or inspired by friends and acquaintances), and the idea of a wife becoming aware of her husband having an affair is just my latest idea that I decided I wanted to write about. So there was that. Then Tim has been doing this thing all month where he’s trying to share some kind of theme or common thread with his co-writers all month. So I decided a fun concept to play with would be to write a song that was completely non-rhyming. I had the idea initially when Tom Eaton brought it to my attention that Rowland Salley’s “Killing the Blues” (covered beautifully by Tom’s wife Susan Levine on her album “Atlas”) doesn’t have a single rhyming phrase anywhere in the lyrics. Except of course for the repeated title/tag line. That blew my mind. Because I’m a definite rhymer. And because it never made itself obvious as I’d listened to the song–and I’d heard it quite a few times at the point when Tom mentioned that. I feel like the key in a situation like that is to have a really strong melody line and rhythm, so that the listener is fooled into thinking they hear a rhyming structure. So that seemed like a great thing to try and accomplish somewhere along my songwriting journey.

So those three ideas all came together this week as I sat down today to write a song for Tim.

Let me tell you something. It’s one thing to write a song in a week’s time. Especially when you have free reign over the structure you’re going to use. It’s quite another to write a song within a one-day span, while imposing a very challenging structural demand on oneself. It was WAY harder than I expected it to be. And I’m not sure I feel the finished product is, well… finished. I fully anticipate that this one will hit the drawing board again at some point before it makes its way into my live show repertoire. That being said, at just a few minutes before midnight, it has been posted “as is” and it’s just fine for the purposes of the project, which is all I need it to be right now.

It’s funny, you’d think that not needing to worry about rhyming would make it easier. I mean, I had COMPLETE FREEDOM to write ANYTHING. And yet it was so tricky! I discovered today that I really LIKE rhyming. I find a kind of fun and comfort in trying to come up with the best or most clever or most apt rhyme at any given moment. Much like a child unconsciously desires structure even while rebelling against it, I found today that so do I. Having the option to write ANYTHING was too overwhelming. I had to literally stop myself from rhyming things at times. It was a very interesting experiment. I may try it again someday, but I don’t know that I’ll force it on myself.

As challenging as it was, I did enjoy it, however. And predictably while I was wracking my brain trying to write this specific song for today, I came up with my song idea for this week’s NSW song. And that, fellow writers, is the lesson I keep learning and learning and wish to share with you: write SOMETHING. Even when you’re blocked. Even when you hate it. Write “I hate this!” over and over if you need to. Write “I don’t know what the hell to write!” Eventually you’ll get through what’s blocking you, what you’re hating, and the next thing waiting to be written, the thing you may LOVE, will pop out. Sometimes you just need to clear the pathway and purge the crap. And the only way to do that is to put your butt in the chair and put pen to paper (or hands to the keyboard). I firmly believe this. I have been living it for seven weeks now. The day may come when it fails me, and if that happens I’ll write about it, believe me! Until then, I wish you all happy writing, and for those who are just here to read and listen, I hope you’re enjoying yourselves! Did I tell you I’m working on New Song Weekly T-shirts? Yeah. They’re coming. Yay!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

February 12, 2010

Greetings, my little blog readers!  I have decided to make a couple changes to this blog’s format.  Unlike Facebook, I think my changes will actually be improvements, and I’ll even explain why in case you are scratching your head.

Mostly it’s because I’m confused by the format myself.  It’s kinda tricky enough doing this whole songwriting/recording/blogging thing on a weekly basis without throwing in the blog-being-a-week-behind part.  Frankly, I usually write the blog just after I write the song, while it’s all fresh in my head, and then it has to sit around for an extra week to be posted… I’m just not sure it’s worth it.  I mean, I think we’re all grown-ups here (except for me).  I think if I post the info about the current song at the same time as the video is posted, you can all decide for yourselves if you want to read up on the song first, or check out the lyrics first, or read the lyrics while listening to the song, etc.  I think it will be easier for all of us, don’t you?

So from now on I’m going to post the lyrics and write-up on the current song under the video, and you can scroll or not scroll as you wish.  I’ll post the lyrics on the lyrics page and the video on the videos page as well.  But I think I’m gonna flip it all around so that the most current song is at the top.  Doesn’t that seem pretty logical?  I think so.  I think after a few more months I’ll be glad I did it, and so will you.  I’m also going to go back and put the previously posted write-ups on the pages with their videos, instead of on the pages of the videos posted a week later.  So when you go to “Week Three” or any other week’s video, you’ll have all of that info all in one place.  Instead of having to do math, like “Oh, so Week Three’s write-up is on the page for Week Four…”  Yeah, what was I thinking with that?  I hate math!

Okay, so that’s the new dealio.  I think we’ll all find it simpler to navigate, and I hope it will make you even more inclined to actually read the write-ups (I know some of you don’t.  And I love you anyway.  Just because I spend all that time trying to put my thoughts down for you, and keep it relevant and interesting… ).

Anyway… on to Week Six!

Week Six

February 12, 2010

HAVEN’T SLEPT IN DAYS
By Kim Davidson
(c) 2010

All that I can see is you walkin’ out
And I don’t even remember now what we were fighting about
You punched a hole in the wall, I broke all our dishes
But that’s no surprise, our fights have always been vicious

CHORUS: Like the circle we’re in, where the anger keeps comin’ around
And we swear every time that it doesn’t mean that we are breaking down
But you’ve been gone since you walked out the door, I’ve been sweeping the glass off the floor
And it feels like the notes of our song have started to fade
Oh and I haven’t bothered to call, and you haven’t bothered to come back home
And my mind is so blown, I haven’t slept in days…

Money has always been tight, but the lovin’ was good
We’ve tried to live with our differences, but we both feel misunderstood
We yell and scream far too much for my likin’, baby

And I’m starting to see that you’re not gonna be the one who saves me
CHORUS: In this circle we’re in, where the anger keeps comin’ around
And we swear every time that it doesn’t mean that we are breaking down
But you’ve been gone since you walked out the door, I’ve been sweeping the glass off the floor
And it feels like the notes of our song have started to fade
Oh and I haven’t bothered to call, and you haven’t bothered to come back home
And my mind is so blown, I haven’t slept in days…

BRIDGE:
I’m still not ready for you to walk away
But you’ve clearly decided that you don’t wanna stay

CHORUS: In this circle we’re in, where the anger keeps comin’ around
And we swear every time that it doesn’t mean that we are breaking down
But you’ve been gone since you walked out the door, I’ve been sweeping the glass off the floor
And it feels like the notes of our song have started to fade
Oh and I haven’t bothered to call, and you haven’t bothered to come back home
And my mind is so blown, I haven’t slept in days…

Well, as I mentioned in last week’s write-up, I’d already had the idea for this song at that point, I just hadn’t had a chance to chase it down.  What came to me first was the title, and the melody that went with that line in the song.  I wasn’t entirely sure if it was going to be a mid-tempo piece or a ballad, but it had a basic shape and it was enough to get the inspiration going further.  A lot of different ideas for it popped into my head during the week.  The one constant was that it was screaming to me that it was about a dysfunctional couple.  Two people who clearly were not quite right together, and whatever it was that was going to happen in the song would illustrate that and leave somebody sleepless.

I did not have my usual writing session on Tuesday. That is to say I didn’t sit down at Starbucks and write out the song.  I was running around doing errands and bits and pieces of the verses and choruses kept coming to me in the car, and I was turning my little digital voice recorder on and off and on and off as I sang the fragments that kept popping into my head.  When I got home later I was able to sit at the computer and flesh it all out into something that made some sort of sense.

I didn’t come up with the chord structure until Wednesday.  That was the first chance I had to sit with the song and my guitar.  The melody was already running around in my head, and the chords fell into place pretty quickly.  I wavered a bit on whether I wanted to keep that minor chord in the third line of the chorus (on “dishes”).  I thought there was an argument to be made for keeping that change major and holding off on the minor chord until the chorus.  But every time I tried it that way it sounded a little too light and fluffy and it just wasn’t working for me.  Besides, I’d already given away the minor chord in the intro, so I figured it didn’t make much point to pretend it wasn’t going to be back.

The guitar line proved a bit challenging.  I don’t typically write licks like that into my songs—mostly because I can’t play them.  This was an exception only because after a few minutes I realized I could play it, and it was worth trying because rhythmically I felt it needed to be there.  I had figured out a way to just strum the rhythm of the lick without the actual notes coming into play, but it didn’t have the same punch, so I worked on making my fingers bend to my will.

You’ll notice that even in the finished version, I missed one pass at the very end.  And now I have to say a few words about this project and performance quality.  If I had my way (and all the time in the world, and no day job), each video would be perfect before it ever hit the web.  Let’s be clear here: none of them has been perfect yet.  But I’ve felt pretty satisfied with what I’ve done most weeks.  This week I was really having trouble saying “Okay, I’m done.”  I never really felt like I was.  I never really nailed a take where all the guitar licks were accurate.  My vocals were a bit strained because I was recording late and needing to be quiet.  Ultimately I stopped simply because I couldn’t sing it one more time without risking the wrath of my sister, whose bedroom shares a wall with mine.  The bridge is far from set in cement.  It was different every time I sang it, and I still don’t know how it will ultimately go.  But here’s the thing: all of that is exactly what this project is supposed to be.  These songs are really supposed to be a first draft (and I don’t know if you can call something a first draft after 27 takes, but I do have my standards).  They will not be perfect, they aren’t supposed to be perfect.  In fact, many of them will potentially be rewritten at some point down the road when I’ve been able to get away from them a bit.  Or they’ll change as I get comfortable with them through performances at live shows.  I can tell you that already the bridge to “My Life In Pictures” has changed from what was posted here a few weeks ago.  It’s the nature of the beast.  And it’s how I live with what gets posted, imperfect though it may be.  I know it will only get better as I take the song into my life and add it to my repertoire, if appropriate.  It’s why the outtakes get posted every week.  They’re a testament to the fact that even if the video isn’t perfect, it’s the best I could possibly do in the moment.  And it’s a brief moment, believe me.  And even so it takes hours.  So I have to kind of take what I can get at some point.

Another thing about this song is that it’s a regression into my dark side—which is really where I just love to be.  I’ve gotten five positive (or four positive and one humorous-take-on-dark with “Stupid Wedding Ring”) songs posted this year, and really it was just a matter of time before this happened.  But what’s different is that this isn’t a song from personal experience.  It isn’t a whiny piece about whatever is sucking in my own life.  It’s a snapshot of this couple’s life, and their misguided relationship, and that to me was interesting.  And I think there’s plenty of room for both the light and the dark, and I’ll be writing my share of both as the year continues.  So for now enjoy a brief dip into the darker side.  And if you need a break, well… go back to weeks one through five!

Oh, one last thing!  How annoying is my neighbor’s dog?!  Luckily you could only hear it when I stopped playing, but that dog barks ALL NIGHT most nights.  And with the window cracked (‘cause it was “warm” out), it’s even worse!

Week Five

February 5, 2010

Stupid Wedding Ring
By Kim Davidson
© 2010

I spot him in the mirror that’s hung above the bar
Check my hair and check my teeth—which is stupid—‘cause I can’t really see that far
My war-torn heart is weary, but there’s something drawing me in
So I head on over and then I see it, his stupid wedding ring

CHORUS:  Little circle of gold… you stop my heart cold!
All the good ones are wearing you, so what’s a single girl to do?
Little circle of gold… no use in bettin’—I fold!
You ruin everything… stupid wedding ring!

But then the next day in the market, while cruisin’ the dairy aisle
I feel like someone’s watching me, so I turn around wearing my best smile
There’s a tall and handsome prospect, who looks ripe for the picking
I wave and he waves back—and there it is, his stupid wedding ring

CHORUS:  Little circle of gold… you stop my heart cold!
All the good ones are wearing you, so what’s a single girl to do?
Little circle of gold… no use in bettin’—I fold!
You ruin everything… stupid wedding ring!

BRIDGE:  I wonder why I bother, it seems there’s no one left
Unless I want to rob the cradle, or marry someone on the verge of death!

So I focus on my work life, my family and my friends
I figure Fate will step on in if the time is ever right before I meet my end
Then he finds me at a party, and my lonely heart goes “Zing!”
But as he shakes my hand, I feel it burnin’, his stupid wedding ring!

CHORUS:  Little circle of gold… you stop my heart cold!
All the good ones are wearing you, so what’s a single girl to do?
Little circle of gold… no use in bettin’—I fold!
You ruin everything… stupid wedding ring!
You ruin everything… stupid wedding ring!

This week’s song doesn’t have all that much specific to its back story, so I want to talk about writing in general for a moment.  I’m finding that writing (at least for me) is 99% putting my butt in the chair.  I’m serious.  I used to be a huge proponent of Divine Inspiration and dancing with the Muse when she arrives—and believe me, I still take those moments and run with them when they present themselves—but what I’ve been learning via my weekly writing sessions is that in setting up a situation based entirely on the mechanical aspect of things, inspiration is finding me; as if I’ve hung a placard outside the office of my mind saying “open for business.”  It’s very interesting to me to be experiencing this.  I’ve read various bits about this sort of approach over the years, but somehow I never took the time to instill the discipline in myself to give it a try.  With this project I’m finally giving it a test run, and man… I’m sold.  I’ve not had a dry week yet.  Granted, some are more challenging than others, but something always ends up on the page.  And what’s even more exciting is that it’s like I’ve opened some kind of creative gateway in my head, and random ideas and inspirations come to me throughout the week—far more than they ever have before.

This week’s song is a classic example of following the discipline.  I spent the day out doing errands, letting my spirit breathe a bit, and waiting to see if anything jumped into my head.  It didn’t.  So when the time came, I sat at Starbucks and pulled out the little notebook that I always keep with me, and I started flipping through it.  After a few minutes I found a snippet of a verse that I’d scribbled down during a show a few months back (any live music event is another regular place that the Muse likes to come chill with me—hence the notebook), and I decided to see what I could do with it.  I actually didn’t finish it all at once, which I totally forgot about until the day before I was set to make my video.  That was pretty funny.  I was all cocky thinking I had this week’s song in the bag and then I opened up the notebook to type it all up and was like, “Wha-huh?”  I got as far as the bridge and then apparently never finished the final verse.  Luckily it didn’t take long to come up with something, and I was able to get the chords all figured out so the song was ready to go when I headed up to Green Tea Yoga for my recording night.

So now here’s some top secret info for you (so don’t tell anybody): I’ve been a week ahead up until now.  That was intentional.  After last year, I figured I wanted to give myself whatever edge I needed to keep myself on track.  Being one week ahead seemed like just enough.  However, at this point I am suddenly not a week ahead.  The song I thought I was going to be posting this week has yet to come together from a melodic standpoint.  I’ve been trying and trying and I just can’t get it to where I want it.  So instead of having that padding of one extra song, I’m heading into Week 6 needing to write a song for Week 6 (instead of Week 7, which would be ideal).  It’s okay—I already have a song idea that I haven’t had a chance to sit and work with just yet, but I’ll get to it on Tuesday at the latest.  And then I’ll keep plugging away at that other song and see if I can beat the melody into submission.  If not, I’ll have to try and write a second song to get myself back into that cushy place of less pressure.  After all, we’re coming up on the point where it all fell apart last year.  And I am damned if I’m letting that happen again!