Naming a song is an art in itself. Here’s my favourite attention grabbing, funny or profound titles from this year’s February Album Writing Month
(Don’t Want To Be (Your)) Marginalia – keithbarrette
Adventure Next, Coffee First – dashboardchicken
Aurora Boring Alice – pugetive
Bacon Monkey – stevenwesleyguiles
Burning Down The Outhouse – pfoo
Clutter, or, A Spirited Defence of the Curatorial Disposition – hamiltonpoolhall
Did You Google It? – jodv
Donald Duck And His 4k Ton Death Machine – defaultdave
Drinking About You – melissaschiller
Fermata Over a Whole Rest as a Pun – nuclearbubblewrap
Friday Night Shirt – jamesstaubes
I Don’t Remember Asking You A Goddamn Thing – jodv
I Gotta Make This Belly Disappear – spunky4455
I Should’ve Hoarded You (For the Leaner Times) – danieljacob
I Thought I Got All The Bad Parts Out – beautyspot
I’m Really More Of A Cat Person – adnama17
I’m Sorry That I Killed You In A Dream – vomvorton
I’m The Only Girl Left In Salt Lake City – adforperu
If Poop Could Crap – robynmackenzie
If This Is The Solution, I’d Like To Have My Problem Back – Ampersandman
If You Paid Attention I’d At Least Be Getting Paid Something - wen
Jesus F**k It’s Like 8 In The Frickle-Fracking Morning – wen
Keep Dancing and Ignore the Aliens – pfoo
Lovely Lily Ladies Ululating On The Landing – toms
Maximally Random 4/2 – willoww
Micro Management Man – zecoop and seemanski
Monster Truck Animal – rodeoboats
Mr. Resistible – stephenwordsmith
Narcoleptic Booty Caper – bigmart
Nipples – mattgriffo
Old Black Pickle Balls Revisited – ieatpants
Positive Tweets – katoninetails
Put Some Pants on Your Jesus - yellowgrassband
Put the Dishwasher On – jaegerin
Running From The Too Much Air – slimeminister
Seriously, Cat, You Couldn’t Leave That Alone For One Second? - robynmackenzie
She Came From Away – robinh
Someone Please Send Me A Hurdy-Gurdy – jamesrdevries
Space Boob Yoga Music – santadharma
Spiteful Bloodyminded (That’ll Show ‘Em) – bittersweetdb
Sporting My Travelling Moustache – lightninglucas
Sweet Flower You Don’t Open Easily – brokentooth
The Fault in Our Death Stars – nuclearbubblewrap
The Furious Engines of Heaven – sapient
There Is No Title, But I Guess That’s Probably Going To Be The Title – wen
There’s A Peanut In My Food – drivelmonk
This Is The End, or A Clock That Goes To Eleven Is A Sh***y Clock, But Sometimes That’s What You Get – wen
This Song Is Going Where The Sun Don’t Shine – roelvanveldt
Too Far Gone To Go Anywhere – matthew62
Viking Spelunking Fiasco – headfirstonly
We Love Our Monsters – Susyblue
We Shouldn’t Care About The Colour of His Hair or The Length of His Skin – tinam
Whatdoyoumeanyoudontwanttohavesexwithme – chrishope
When the Sun Finally Warms My Face I’ll Be Free – stevenwesleyguiles
Wow, Look At That Creepy Guy With A Hook Over There. Let’s Split Up Or Go To The Basement Or Undress – zecoop
Yelling Drunk At A Rug On The Wall – deerleader
You And Your Beliefs – popmythology
You Got Butter in Your Car – drivelmonk
You Have Nice Eye Muscles – expendablefriend
I tried to write a track based on Sophie Lynette‘s beguiling Koto instrumental Immigrant Season, but had to admit defeat because the original wasn’t recorded to a click and wasn’t in concert pitch which made editing impossible. I recited my old ‘poem’ The Glass Is Half Emptyover the top just to get closure as the ‘unfinishedness’ was preventing me moving on. That added another layer of failure as I realised those lyrics were never going to go anywhere either.
Steven Wesley Guiles has a FAWM tradition of writing a Valentine’s Day song for his wife and I’ve tried to follow his example. I wrote The Prettiest Girl(NSFW) almost as an act of rebellion against that and Christine Sistineis based on a 30 year old poem. Both pleasant FAILS really. I blame the ukelele.
Pretty much on the final day of FAWM I tried my first skirmish. This is when someone posts a title at a prearranged time and everyone taking part has 1 hour to write and record a song. I, Too, Need Lovewas taking from the autobiography of Leonard Nimoy. It’s a fine if derivative Beatles/Harrison style track.
In conclusion: no song is a true failure – the very act of finishing makes you a better songwriter for next time, but I learned another trick for additive lyrics, have a potential collaborator on Koto for next years FAWM, relearned that writing ultra fast can shake good ideas out and got a great (if weird) spoken word piece out there.
FAWM produced lots of good work and great experiences of collaboration this year. I’d highly recommend it.
FAWM 15 (pt.1) post here
FAWM 15 (pt.2) post here
FAWM 15 (pt.3) post here
As well as all the cool song I collaborated on with Liz Frencham I co-wrote a bunch of stuff with others. Here’s the more normal stuff
If You Screw Up– I sent a very slender lyrical premise to the mysterious Hamilton Poolhall (Texas) and he came back with this incredible bittersweet ballad. I tidied up a few lines and it was done. I said on the fawm site “Hamilton was looking in my fridge and found a small tupperware container of leftover lyrics and he cooked up this magnificent feast – fit for a king! I wish I could play guitar like this, and so do you”.
Daniel Jacob Horine (California) did pretty much the same thing with Whose Side Are You On Jesus?Though he got a whole chorus and part of a bridge from me rather than just lyrics but like Hamilton he took it in a whole new direction and created a cool fully realised demo.
Hug Me, Drug Me with Ben Purscell(Pennsylvania) and A Little SpillagewithStephen Wordsmith (New Zealand via France) were both lyrics that I found late in FAWM and feverishly set them to music. Both were being written as I recorded them. Everything on HMDM is first take, which accounts for the fact that there a D major chord in the first chorus which never appears again. And I only decided to sing in a cockney accent halfway through recording A Little Spillage. Very rough, but fun to do and may have a life post-fawm.
Christ Will Come Againwas a co-write with Steven Wesley Guiles (California). The initial chorus was mine then we went back and forth, Steven throwing in ideas and being a sounding board. After the demo was posted other FAWMers (Petra Cook, Michael Karns, Izaak Alexander, Jon Nelson) came forward to add vocals and other instruments.
Coming Soon: FAWM Experiments – Failed And Otherwise
If for no other reason I love taking part in FAWM because every year I get to discover unsung but brilliant writers and musicians. Last year I came across UK singer/songwriter Expendable Friend, Texan guitaristHamilton Poolhalland Australian upright bassist/singer Liz Frencham. Liz’s FAWM songs were among my favourite music of 2014 and she’ll be making a guest appearance on my new EP but this FAWM I got to write with her! And I think we came up with some fantastic stuff.
Our collaboration started with Don’t Get Too Close. I gave Liz the lyrics to Hard To Love with carte blanche to go in any direction she wanted. The chorus had never worked and she got around that by writing a completely new chorus! On reflection the core problem with the old chorus was it was too close to the song that inspired it. I was never able to get out from under it’s shadow which should have clued me into amputating that part but it’s always hard to ditch the part that started the whole song. Anyway I took Liz’s brilliantly slinky bass and vocals added minimal guitar and done.
Where Did The Time Go?was Liz’s song. She asked me to come up with a bridge for her incredible multi-time signature jazz sprint, so I just tried ‘bridge technique 101′ which is contrast with the rest of the song – slow vs fast, one meter vs time changes, harmonic movement vs rhythmic movement. Liz moved the bridge to a better key and tweaked how we got in and out.
Oh God, Oh Godwas weird. Liz posted a cry for help on Facebook lamenting her lack of inspiration. In true FAWM style Steven Black sang her facebook post acapella. Lying in bed with an injured back I harmonised Steven’s melody. Liz then took it back and added bass and a descant. A fun ride.
Liz also had two tracks she asked me to add guitar to.
The brief for Cold Mind was ‘Jeff Buckley meets Radiohead’ so I played around with acoustic in open D and threw a bunch of electric guitars at it.
Liz wrote the melody for Little Lion as she was about to board a plane, singing the melody into her phone. The song is more straight ahead jazz and just need some extended reharmonisation of the chords from me.
Check out all of Liz’s FAWM 2015 songs here and her website here