No other month this year could have prepared me for how challenging this month in my music project would be. The holidays clouded my mind and chewed up more time than I anticipated. Where every other month the song has been allowed to breath and develop slowly over time, this month was different. I was still writing lyrics as recently as yesterday, and fussing with my levels and hopelessly rerecording vocals this morning.
These are things that make me uncomfortable. But in a lot of ways, you don’t get art without discomfort. So I appreciate the pressure my deadline has created. I’ll be damned if I’m going to fail a year-long project in the last six hours.
So a little bit about this month’s song. It was originally going to be a Christmas song, akin to the one from this time last year. But, as I said, this month it was cloudier in my mind than any other this year. So, around December 10th, I decided that it would be more fun to make this a new years song anyway and I bought myself one extra week to finish.
Then spent that week getting way too up in my head.
What does a ‘new years song’ sound like? Old Lang Sign? I don’t know. I looked at the chords to a bunch of different holiday songs, thinking I would choose from chords that were already associated with that music. This was a mistake. I don’t know music theory, or why notes make us feel the way we do and now I had a big bag of chords from various keys and I couldn’t put them together to save my life. Or my project. Faced with the the calendar tearing away, I threw my hands up and settled for G and C, plus two other chords that now escape me. Keeping it simple. Kind of.
I was alternating between my chords less frequently than I previously have, every 8 bars, instead of 4, and it threw my melodic intuitions way off. That’s part of what made the lyrics and vocals take so long. My muscles expect notes to change, then they don’t and so I had a lot of trouble finding melodies that I liked and that kept things varied and interesting.
I knew when I started this song, I wanted it to have a kind of over-the-top crescendo feeling to it. I don’t know why I love crap that rises so much, but it’s what always comes out if I don’t check myself. So it felt fitting for the last song of the year to just be a run-with-it kind of thing. And while there are a lot of little elements in this one that I don’t like and would probably have changed if I’d had more time, I think this song really does capture my unfiltered style. I like catchy simplistic melodies. I like brass and strings. I like crescendos. I like weird talking. I like a little emo here and there. I think this one has all that, and I’m happy about that.
In the next week or two, I’ll do a round up of all the songs from this year. I may even revisit each of them for a little ‘remaster’ before putting them on a streaming service somewhere. No, that’s not really for you. It’s for me.
If you’ve been following along all year, thank you! See you next year!