Week #6 – Polishing

I didn’t blog about this course last week. To be honest, I didn’t have much to say. I was deep in the process and not really ready to talk about it. I did complete my assignment, however, but I wasn’t fully satisfied with it. I wasn’t ready to show it to anyone yet, I think. Yes, that’s probably the truth.

Now I am sitting in a bungalow on a Thai beach and I think I’ve ALMOST finished the song. I just needed a star-filled sky and some time. Vacations give us that! Hurray for Thailand—Koh Pha-ngan, to be precise!

Here’s what went wrong with my last attempt at this song. I was feeling like the song I was writing was getting too complicated, lyrically, and so I simplified it. I omitted a large section feeling like it would make a great future song component and didn’t need to be part of this one. Yet, in doing that, I discovered that the real heart of the song is expressed in the part that I omitted for simplicity, therefore the song lacked that “third box” or the really solid “why” of the song.

And why did I write it? This is a love song to my daughter. Without the omitted section, I don’t think that’s evident. Otherwise, it sounds just like a love song to anyone. Don’t you think?

I also shortened the bridge in this revised version. It’s original lyrics were clunky and it, admittedly, lost momentum. But, the bridge is still weak, in my opinion. It’s too predictable and cheesy. I’ve got to figure out some sort of fix for it, not least of all because I won’t have multiple vocals coming in to allow me to go off on that high note when I’m performing it live.

Finally, the original chorus was not only lacking in heart, it had some strange words in it: “sought lost dreams.” They just didn’t work. They not only didn’t sound good while I was singing them, they felt flimsy and false. Really, what was I trying to say, I asked myself? I was talking about having no regrets. I was talking about being grateful. So, I just said it. Much better. The only thing I’m unhappy with is the absence of rhyme for “regrets” in the chorus, but I think I’m getting used to it. After all, in the second half of the second verse, I use a lot of those rhymes. What do you think?

Ah, songwriting riddles. Honestly, this is why I love to write songs. They’re huge intricate problems to solve; when you figure out how to “fix” them, it’s so gratifying! Imagine the hardest riddle you’ve ever solved and how it felt to nail the answer, like you were the grand prize winner at a carnival. That’s songwriting; bells and whistles and spotlights descend upon us as songwriters when the parts finally fit together. At least, they do in my head! It’s the audio equivalent of pure excitement.

Here’s the piece simplified that I submitted two weeks ago that I wasn’t happy with.

Here’s the piece revised that I’m submitting this week that I’m happier with, although still no definitive carnival bells. It’s close, though!

The lyrics below show the part that I omitted in bold and have now re-included. In the end, the song is still less than 3 minutes, so I’ve still accomplished my “pop song”!  I don’t know what I was thinking cutting these lyrics, really.  Those original lyrics not only don’t clutter it, they give the chorus more of a hook, melodically. So, not only did I omit the lyrical heart of the song, I also took away its hook. Duh! Happy to have corrected that now.

~~

As this is the last submission for this course, and I admit that I’m really going to miss the forced songwriting. I’ve decided that I’m going to continue to post new song ideas or developments hopefully monthly from here on in. Maybe by typing that into my blog, it’ll light a fire under me to honour my commitments. Surely!

Thanks to this songwriting course, I have ONE fully finished new song in Chinese called “Nanshou” (recent video of the band performing it here), one (nearly) finished song (this one—“Stars Are Many”) and one that is very close to being finished (“Love Needs No Dictionary”). In just 6 weeks, that’s pretty good!

So, while I’ll really miss the course, I will also take away so much learning that the course will continue to rattle in my head for a lot longer than the sessions themselves lasted. I can’t wait to pass this kind of information on, as well. When there’s another opportunity for a songwriting mentorship or facilitator role for me, I’ll have Pat Pattison to thank for helping me fulfill that role all the more profoundly.

Thank you, Pat!

-es

 

SONG: Stars Are Many

Lyrics:

V1

You know when night hits the sky
and it’s a shimmering star show
into the blackness the light flows
just like my love, love, love

Just always know that this stellar light
Is even there on a cloudy night
Just like the stars I will never go
That is my love, love, love
That is my love, love, love
That is my love, love, love

 

CHORUS

One small change on this path of life
and I gasp to think you may not have arrived
as I watch you rest, I know I’ve been blessed
and I have to wipe my eyes
What we wish, it all can be
When once I had regrets (used to be: “sought lost dreams”—sucky!)
now I don’t have any
I love you as much as the stars are many

 

V2

Try counting sparkles from sunlight
or add up droplets in water
and grains of sand evenl harder
Just like my love, love, love

My love, I know, is as infinite
as is the beauty of your silhouette
Just like the stars and their perfect glow
That is my love, love, love
That is my love, love, love
That is my love, love, love

 

CHORUS (see above)

BRIDGE

Love can be as simple as the stars
As dependable as ours
So if you ever doubt
wait for night
and then look out at the sky

(used to be: “just open your door, and step out, and look up at the sky” – too wordy!)

 

CHORUS (but just the final half of the chorus repeated once)
What we wish, it all can be
When once I had regrets (used to be: “sought lost dreams”—sucky!)
now I don’t have any
I love you as much as the stars are many
I love you as much as the stars are many
I love you as much as the stars are many

 

 

Ocean At Our Doorstep
Week #5 - Mell OH Dee

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