Writing a song is like playing a game of Pong in your head…the words bounce back and forth till you settle on the right ones…the rhythmic arc in flux till you settle in to the flow and meter of your thoughts.
Yes it’s true, I am dating myself…and I never really much liked the video game when it first appeared back in 1972…but Pong as literary device is another story…so where do songs come from?
This question came up for me when I was asked by Michael Rosen, the man behind the curtain, that I rewrite the second verse of the song we had just recorded. “It wasn’t happening for him…the first verse was the money verse but the second felt a bit short changed” he said. Twenty years ago I would have told him straight up to “fuck off”, the lyrics are what they are and cannot be changed. Can’t he see the lyrical brilliance before him? Back then my grip on my songs was absolute, unchangeable, unquestionable, those songs were indisputably the best things I had ever done. In hindsight, some of the old songs were just plain bad, no…downright awful. Obviously in need of a rewrite here, a tweak there…and therein lies the beauty of it all.
Like the bouncing ball in Pong, ideas, musical leaps, spontaneous lyrical prose, need to be kicked around a bit to divine and define the essence of the thoughts ricocheting between your cerebral orbs… sometimes you need a rewrite, and it’s ok. Sometimes you need to dump the whole thing in the trash and start over, and it’s ok.
I say this now, after spending the last two months in and out of the studio, as a liberating cry of complete, artistic abandon…what spills out in that creative moment, the wow of the now, may not be so good, yet. Hearing the playback is like looking in a mirror. There is nowhere to hide. But when you listen to your playback in today’s tech saturated world you must face an undeniable truth: 0101010101010101010101’s don’t lie. Welcome to the digital age.
have a wonderful Sunday…