For the past few years I’ve been toying with getting additive structures into pop songs. You can hear that in different ways in Different, Fresh Meat, Tear This Temple Down and Vengeance Is Mine. I Want You To Try Telling Me Who Lied When We Said I Still Want You (Version 1) was an attempt to add a word at a time to a phrase and it was a failure to be honest. In fact I wrote Polishing A Turd about this very song! I Want You To Try Telling Me Who Lied When We Said “I Want You” (Version 2) took the same lyrics but laid them out in a different way and though the track is also lame I did get an insight with how I harmonised the key phrase (I Want You) so it stands out each time.
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 Empty over 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 Sistine is 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 Love was taking from the autobiography of Leonard Nimoy. It’s a fine if derivative Beatles/Harrison style track.
I was attracted to Zecoop‘s instrumental by the hilarious title Wow, Look At That Creepy Guy With A Hook Over There. Let’s Split Up Or Go To The Basement Or Undress I figured I could do some comedy dialogue over it. The hard part was not second guessing or making a meal of it. I put a cardboard box over the mic to get the effect of ‘mom’ being outside the door. Wouldn’t you know – I’ve had lots of positive feedback about this track. SUCCESS definitely.
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.