Archive for May, 2010

Week Twenty-One

May 28, 2010


RAIN FROM A CLOUDLESS SKY
By Kim Davidson
(c) 2010

We chose this life
We said that we would walk together
And as long as we had love
There’d be no storm we couldn’t weather

So how is it
I find myself in this position
Suddenly all on my own
When no one asked my permission?

CHORUS: And it just goes to show
No matter what you think you know
Things can always change before your eyes
And you can’t be prepared
No matter how you try
‘Cause sometimes rain falls… from a cloudless sky

No warning bell
I thought that everything was fine
Until you gave another
What I’d always thought was mine

Pick myself up
Amid the wreckage and the ruins
Take a long deep breath
And figure what I am doing

CHORUS: And it just goes to show
No matter what you think you know
Things can always change before your eyes
And you can’t be prepared
No matter how you try
‘Cause sometimes rain falls… from a cloudless sky

BRIDGE: So I guess this, this is the test
In how I reemerge from this mess
It’s one thing when you know it’s coming and you hunker down
It’s another to be caught off guard and try to turn it around

There is no choice
Because I will not fade or wallow
So I’ll try to gather sun
Until my heart’s no longer hollow

I will give thanks
For any good that may find me
And keep my faith
Until the Universe reminds me…

CHORUS: And it just goes to show
No matter what you think you know
Things can always change before your eyes
And you can’t be prepared
No matter how you try
‘Cause sometimes rain falls… from a cloudless sky

So last week I mentioned I was a week ahead, right? I had this song kind of almost ready to go. I couldn’t quite figure out where it needed to lead (it didn’t have an ending) so I took it to my regular songwriting group for a little guidance. I got a lot of useful feedback, but thus far I haven’t been able to really put it to any good use. So I guess maybe that song is going to need a little more percolating before it gets finished.

That’s okay. I had this idea a few weeks ago that I had wanted to chase down anyway. I was driving, which is one of the two most common situations where I tend to get flooded with song ideas (the other is almost anytime I’m out enjoying live music), and it was a beautiful sunny day, so I was completely surprised when it suddenly started down-pouring. It literally came out of nowhere. I mean, one second there’s no rain and then the next it’s POURING. And still completely blue skies and sun shining. It was so weird! I drove for another few minutes and just as abruptly, the rain stopped. And I couldn’t help but think, “Where did that rain COME from?” I mean, I’ve experienced the phenomenon of the sun shower before, obviously. In New England there’s not much we don’t get weather-wise, so it wasn’t like it was so shocking; but I’d never really stopped to think about it before. Rain does come from clouds usually—right? Not in this case. Unless they were crazy, super-high-above-the-atmosphere, totally out of sight clouds.

And so the title of this song popped into my head and I thought it was such an apt analogy for those situations in life that creep up on you when you think everything is totally okay, and then… WHAM. You get kicked in the head by the Universe. And it seemed like a good time to try to incorporate some stuff I’ve been tucking away for the past couple years, which is relationship stuff that has really surprised me.

God knows I had my eyes opened when my last boyfriend left me, and I never saw it coming. It was such a complete blind-side, and such a devastating, unnecessary thing to have happen to me. I still don’t quite understand how the Universe thought I’d earned that. What’s happened since then is that I’ve really started to see that I had it all wrong. What is the exception to the rule is the crazy notion that there are real, good, reciprocal relationships out there that last. I’m not saying this from a bitter place. I’m saying I’ve been observing some really unexpected stuff the past couple years and it’s starting to turn into the majority. I’ve seen the most unlikely of relationships go completely postal, and I’ve learned that even the ones that are called “good” by the people participating in them are kind of being graded on a curve. It’s been sobering, to say the least. Needless to say, I have not rushed to renew my Yahoo Personals subscription. And it seems like more and more when things DO happen, they happen completely out of nowhere. “Everything was good, and now this…” Rain from a cloudless sky. How could I NOT write a song about that?

Week Twenty (TWENTY!)

May 21, 2010

DOUBLE AGENT
By Kim Davidson
(c) 2010

I’m standing over you, and I can see my reflection in the blood pooling quickly round your head
Cold steel in my hand, and I warned you this was coming, but then you’ve never listened to a single word I’ve ever said
Let’s go back to the beginning

Spring, two years ago, at a café on a Paris street I see you for the first time from afar
And I hope against all hope that you are not my target, even though I know exactly who you are
And it’s ill-advised at best, but the work lends an intensity, and Fate every now and then will intervene
So there’s nothing to be done, but to put the ball in motion and hope that I can stick to the routine

CHORUS: And it’s hard to keep my story straight
They tell you not to get your heart involved, well sorry it’s too late
I know everything you’ve ever done
But I understand it all too well, and suddenly it’s fun
Imagining that it could work, and I am on your side
Playing Double Agent on the run

Winter of this year, and I’m so deep under cover that I hardly can remember what is real
I try to focus on the mission, and what I’m here to do, but all that I can think of is how you make me feel
And it’s dangerous for all concerned if I forget myself, thank God for years of training finally kicking in
One dark and deadly night I’m reminded who you are, and I vow that you will hang for every sin

CHORUS: And it’s hard to keep my story straight
They tell you not to get your heart involved, well sorry it’s too late
I know everything you’ve ever done
But I understand it all too well, and suddenly it’s fun
Imagining that it could work, and I am on your side
Playing Double Agent on the run

BRIDGE: We’re approaching zero hour
Every detail is in place, and so is my will-power
I believe that nothing can go wrong
Til you turn and say you’ve known who I was all along

Guns are raised and hammers cocked, we stare across the room into eyes that are fin’ly open wide
And I do not back down when you tell me you will do it, so will I and there’s no place left to hide
And it feels like a movie in slow motion as the past two years flash through my mind just as you draw a breath
Instinct does the work, as I somehow dodge your bullet in the moment that mine sends you to your death

And I’m standing over you…

I love it when I have a song complete (or close to complete) and then I suddenly come up with another song idea. It’s happened to me a couple times this year. For the first time, however, it happened and I didn’t need to coordinate schedules with a duet partner or video cast, so for the first time since Week Four I am AHEAD a week. Yay! Took long enough!

I don’t exactly know how or why this song idea jumped into my head. Maybe because I’ve been watching a lot of “NCIS” lately (LOVE that show!) I can tell you that it was the first line that first appeared in my twisted little brain. It made me want to rub my hands together and make evil laughing noises. “Mwahahahahahah…” I wrote it down and immediately thought, “Okay, now what kind of spin can I put on this so it isn’t just a typical ‘dark Kim’ song?” I mean, let’s face it: dark and twisted and sad and tragic is kinda my wheelhouse. I am kind of proud of myself this year for not having twenty weeks and counting of sad and depressing songs. There’ve been a few, but it could EASILY have been ALL. You have no idea. Anyway, as soon as the idea came to me I started thinking outside the box and it was pretty quickly decided that making the situation involve some kind of secret agent was going to get me out of trouble and into far more creative territory.

It was fun writing this one. I have a friend who always tells me I’d make a great double agent. I’m not quite sure how to take that. I’m as loyal as the day is long, so I think I’d have a hard time with the playing-both-sides-of-the-fence part. But whatever. It’s not like it’s ever going to happen, so the best I can do is write a song about it. And because it wasn’t a poor-Kim-dark-depressing-love-is-horrible kind of song, I could say whatever I wanted to say and it was okay. So that made it even more fun.

Of course, rhythmically it’s a nightmare. I mean, it’s like the strum-part from hell, at least with my limited guitar prowess. I hope to someday fully produce this one. I can’t even imagine what kind of instrumentation we’d use… but it would be fun, I have no doubt.

This is an impressive song for me for one simple reason: there are only three chords in the song. I don’t think I’ve EVER written a song with this few chords in my life. I’ve tried to simplify over the past couple years, after being teased by both my former band-mates and my studio engineer about using too many chords in my songs. I’ve gotten better, but this is by far the most simplistic chord progression. And I don’t think it’s really lacking anything musically because of it. I mean, sometimes less really is more. And sometimes you just don’t NEED a whole bunch of extra chords to get the arrangement across. So yay for me. Growth!

I’ll tell you a secret: this chord progression was actually going to be for another song that I started at the end of 2009, as I was gearing up to start this project. It’s a song that has yet to be finished, and may or may not ever make this blog. I didn’t actually realize at first that I was using the same chords. Once I did… well, it wasn’t like I needed to “save” them for the other song. Trust me. Besides, if that other song ever gets done, it’s not like I can’t reuse the same chords again. God knows I’ve done it before, as we talked about last week. At least they’d be different “same” chords than I typically use!

Week Nineteen

May 16, 2010

I WANT IT NOW
By Kim Davidson
© 2010

Ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah.
Oh it’s makin’ me crazy
All the things that I don’t have
Watching everybody zip by to a place in the future, while I stay in the past
And it’s so close… what I need to get in line
One last piece of the puzzle and I’ll be golden, I’ll be fine
Oh-oh, I’ve never been much for patience, I’m a lot less breeze than gale
Never waiting for the ducks to line up might be my epic fail

CHORUS: So I close my eyes, grab on with both hands, hanging off the back of a speeding train headed
who knows where–‘cause anything’s better than here
And all my learnin’s done the hard way, sometimes two or three times before it’s clear, and I scramble
for a foothold, trying to outrun fear
All these things that I can taste, before there’s time for me to be replaced
I want it now. I want it now. I want it now.
I want it now. I want it now. I want it now.

Ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah.
Oh you’re makin’ me crazy
Always tryin’ to talk me down
Urging me to take a step back and think, but I’m a verb and not a noun
It’s so tired… all your logic and your lists
I run on adrenaline and heart, and all I need is this
Oh-oh, I’ve never been one for holding, I prefer to play my hand
Never gonna settle for less than all that I demand

CHORUS: So I close my eyes, grab on with both hands, hanging off the back of a speeding train headed
who knows where–‘cause anything’s better than here
And all my learnin’s done the hard way, sometimes two or three times before it’s clear, and I scramble
for a foothold, trying to outrun fear
All these things that I can taste, before there’s time for me to be replaced
I want it now. I want it now. I want it now.
I want it now. I want it now. I want it now.

Oh-oh, I’ve never been one for looking, I just cross my heart and leap
Once you know that you can swim, there’s no water too deep

CHORUS: So I close my eyes, grab on with both hands, hanging off the back of a speeding train headed
who knows where–‘cause anything’s better than here
And all my learnin’s done the hard way, sometimes two or three times before it’s clear, and I scramble
for a foothold, trying to outrun fear
All these things that I can taste, before there’s time for me to be replaced
I want it now. I want it now. I want it now.
I want it now. I want it now. I want it now.

I don’t quite know what to say about this week’s song. Every once in a while I have this bubble-gum pop attack, and I think it kinda came out this week. Certainly once I decided to put “epic fail” in the lyrics I’d jumped over the edge. LOL.

What I’ve been noticing over the past few months of this project is that there are habits that emerge which I follow unwittingly. Like writing songs in a similar key or key position (the actual key may change with the help of a capo, but the chord positions and changes remain the same). My friend Beth DeSombre posted about this in her own blog recently, and I can definitely relate to that. I feel like I’ve fallen into that a bit with many of the songs I’ve written this year. I’ve tried to challenge myself to at least turn the progression around where I can, so it’s not exactly the same as another song, but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out.

There have also been some similar themes I’ve noticed cropping up. I guess sometimes it takes more than one song to sift through the complicated emotions of a given issue. Or sometimes it takes more than one try to get the best song out about whatever the given subject matter may be.

This week I guess there was a part of me thinking “write anything as long as it’s DIFFERENT.” So this is what came out. I think it’s definitely different from what I typically write, and that is exciting to me. Even though largely in the world of commercial songwriting you’re best to put yourself into a pretty narrow box, to specialize, and hone your craft within whatever genre parameters you’re writing for, I do like switching genres just for fun. I mean, am I gonna play this one out alongside something like “Still In Love” or “All These Things?” Probably not. Meanwhile, if Miley Cyrus calls, she’s welcome to it as long as I get the writer’s AND the publisher’s share.

Week Eighteen

May 7, 2010

With You I’d Have It All
Kim Davidson
© 2010

It’s funny the things that pop into your head at a moment like this
When the world seems to stop, and you know that you’ve just had your last first kiss
And all that you thought you wanted or needed to do
Suddenly doesn’t mean a fraction of what it used to

I’ve always been a free spirit, never wanted to tie myself down
Wasn’t lookin’ for marriage or babies or waitin’ to be found
I’ve searched the world over for meaning and purpose and something to make me feel whole
Never expecting that you’d be the thing that would fill up my soul

CHORUS:
And I’ve stood before the Taj Mahal, been to Paris, Spain and Rome and seen China’s Great Wall
Now I’m thinking that I could settle down, plant roots and make a home, and with you I’d have it all

It’s funny that words like “let’s take it slow” don’t mean a damn thing
I’m dreamin’ of China and dresses and flowers; you’re shoppin’ for a ring
I don’t know who I am anymore, but it’s not who I was
But I’m happy to leave “me” behind to become part of “us”

CHORUS:
And I’ve stood before the Taj Mahal, been to Paris, Spain and Rome and seen China’s Great Wall
Now I’m thinking that I could settle down, plant roots and make a home, and with you I’d have it all

BRIDGE: It’s a great, big, lonely world out there, but it never bothered me
It’s like not knowing you’re blind ‘til you can finally see

CHORUS:
And I’ve stood before the Taj Mahal, been to Paris, Spain and Rome and seen China’s Great Wall
Now I’m thinking that I could settle down, plant roots and make a home, and with you I’d have it all

This week’s song started with a rhythm and a chord progression. Which is unusual for me. Usually–almost always–I get lyrics first, and sometimes lyrics WITH a melody at the same time. This time I just kinda got this groove… and it fell into a chord progression, and I started trying to figure out what to do with it.

I’d been heading for a totally different type of song when I started. But I couldn’t really find any words that seemed to fit what I’d played. I thought of just saving the music for later, but then I got this chorus idea. It didn’t fit the music exactly, but with some minor tweaking it worked, and that was the jumping off point.

Initially I had the chorus from the opposite perspective, with the character saying she’d never been to the Taj Mahal, etc. But I couldn’t find a way to reconcile the rest of the idea from there. So I changed it and then it flowed a bit more easily.

There’s a lot about this one that I’m really happy with. I actually feel like this song has hit potential, which is why there’s also a lot about this song that I’m not happy with. I made some revisions between the first draft and the video version, but I feel like there will be more tweaking over time. It’s not quite there yet, in my opinion. It’s okay though. It’s a good first draft, and that’s what this project is all about.

The vocals are not my best–I’m gonna own that right now. I could have done a few more takes of this and gotten a better recording, I’m sure. In the end I decided that my sanity (and my sister’s sanity) were more important than nailing that first note in the chorus every time. I know I can do it, and that’s all that matters.