Like Uncle Karl says…

Despite my best efforts to avoid doing my taxes, they did get completed, delivered to the accountant and almost finished (I forgot a few things, okay?). And in the midst of all this addition and subtraction, a song or two got written.

Actually, I had a hand in four songs seeing the light of day this week. If I may quote a famous German fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” And busy, I was this week.

Each of these tunes came off the assembly line in a different manner. Two burst out willingly, almost fully formed with shape and purpose. One loped along, graceful and unhurried with calm certainty. But the last song emerged kicking and screaming, mishapen – cheated of feature by dissembling nature – as one might say. If one were Shakespeare, that is.

So let’s talk about that particular song, the dificult one. In some ways, it seemed to have a lot going for it. As per Jordan Howard’s request it was rife with lust, love, danger and featured a female anti-hero. Check. A nice set of lyrics that talked of love and hinted at destruction. Check. A damned sensual vocal from Kathryn Berry as the spooky girlfriend. Check. The perfect setting for this jewel of a vocal. Chec… not so fast.

Ah, see, there’s the problem. I wanted to feature a heartbeat throughout the song as both a thematic and a literal connection to the title and some of the lyrics. So how to do that and not be repetitive and boring? First I tried a kind of Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” but that seemed too far off the mark for the Week’s objectives. After some positive feedback on two of the other songs that I worked on, I tried their very stripped-down approach on this piece. But the song felt unfinished. Too raw.


How about a little of this and a little of that? Nope. Fine…. how about electric guitar? I don’t think I’ve used that on any challenge yet. Hmmm. Not bad.

Send it off to Kathryn for her take.

Poor Kathryn. I keep trying new versions and sending them to her for feedback.

She approves. We’re good. Yay, we have a song this week. Here is our Week 5 submission:

For two of the other songs I have worked on this week, I provided lyrics and a vocal melody. The music already existed. Very evocative, inspirational music. One co-writer, Scott MacKay had three very promising pieces of music for me to try. I created scenarios or a mood for each of them and he chose one. It came together very quickly. This is how Scott’s song turned out.

The other came from music Craig McIvor created. Again, a really cinematic piece that was great fun to write for. In both cases, I tapped into my melancolic Irsh nature and brought forth doom, malaise and betrayal. I must be a lot of fun to live with, huh? Here’s that song:

The last song of the week I will just tease. It’s for the Matt Dusk challenge from Week 1. I’ve been writing it with the very talented (and extremely well-mannered) Braeden Mitchell and we are both very happy with it.

So soon. Soon. Very soon.

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