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
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…
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
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!