Look guys, music is hard okay. Especially when you can’t use the Great Calculator known as the computer to fill in the technical gaps for you. Such is the case with singing. It’s exceptionally difficult to do well, yet I insist on writing songs and melodies my voice can’t possibly keep up with.
This month’s song is ripe with imperfection, but I’ll call it wabi-sabi to keep the romance. This is a song I wrote six months ago before my first (and so far, only) time “performing”. Although I refuse to regret playing it, I wasn’t happy with it at the time. It was thin, and kind of didn’t have any meaning to me, except a catchy little horns tune. I shelved it after the performance; I had a bitter taste in my mouth about it. But in December, while I was working on the horns in the Christmas Song, I found the urge to open it back up and see what kind of state it was in. It wasn’t good.
I rendered down the same version I’d performed and put it on my iPhone. I used the recording to play around with the vocals while driving around, to see if I could make it into something that I actually could sing. Well, I couldn’t. But I did find a way to at least sort of hit the notes I wanted. Next, I spent a few hours recording vocals before I had a take I was happy enough with.
Although I had a vocal track I felt I could work with, I had an exposure problem. It was an old song and I’d listened to it about a million times. I jumped sporadically from instrument to instrument tweaking this, or modifying that. Constantly finding new ‘problems’. I started the task of writing them all down, trying to work systematically to resolve all my grievances. But the list would grow a lot faster than I could keep up with, and I wasn’t liking most of my solutions over what they were solving. I was starting to like the ways that it really sucked.
I also found myself assigning personally profound meaning to words which were previously just adaptations of melodic grunting. With a mild dose of narcissism, it’s an experience I have since grown very fond of, but one that I don’t think can be predicted or contrived.
There is one clear side effect of this song-a-year project which I’m finding unsatisfying–the consolidation of creative thought. Since defining the plan, I have found myself less ambitious in other creative pursuits. While it’s natural to build up in one’s interests, I would prefer to build out. We’ll see how the dice fall.