Monday, June 18, 2012

On the 2nd day of "pre CD release" Eric gave to me

“To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.” 
 Aaron Copland

You have been trapped in the inescapable net of ruin by your own want of sense.

"The Song Won't Let Her Be Free"

    This song took a very very long time to complete. Unlike "Bird on a Powerline" which I described in earlier blogs as being simple and quick to create, "The Song Won't Let Her Be Free" took more conscious crafting. That doesn't mean I love it less or think it's a horrible song. I just thought it would be of interest (to some bored person) to know the differences between these songs' constructions.

    I had the initial idea for this song years ago when I was a writer at FAME. I remember I was sitting in the lobby with my good friend Dylan LaBlanc after lunch. We were just goofing off and talking about life. As I sat there I began fumbling with the D minor to Csus guitar thing. As we sat there joking about any thing and everything I almost subconsciously spit out the chord progression for the verse. (I guess this part was as easy as any song creation I can't say it was all difficult). 

    I began to really really like the progression. Every time I picked up a guitar I would naturally play this piece of music. Then the difficulty set in. 

    Unfortunately, the "trail went cold". I hit a brick wall and couldn't make it into a song. It was just a small piece of a progression, nothing else. In retrospect I think I loved that tiny musical idea so much that no lyric I came up with was good enough. This is a songwriting error that is crucial not to make. However I am here to tell you I made it whole heartedly. 

   Eventually I was able to form a lyrical idea "worthy" of the music ( I got lucky here. A lot of times when one makes the songwriting error I just spoke of, the song never gets completed). It was a story that seemed to fit stylistically the feel of the music. I imagined a girl that was overly infatuated and in love with an artist (more specifically a musician). The poor girl lets the musician's music change her so deeply that she needs it. She becomes obssessed with the music more so than she ever was the musician. Meanwhile, the musician begins treating her horribly. Specifically, she finds receipts of his infidelities by way of phone numbers written on bar napkins. But in general the guy is just taking the girl for granted and taking advantage of her. 

   That scenario and those characters were linked to that little piece of a song and that's all I had. It wasn't til years and years later (while digging through song ideas for "My Brother's Keepers") that Wendell remembered it and saved it from being forever scrapped.

   With the story begun and a tiny bit of music we set out to complete it. 

   What we landed on was something even deeper than I had initially conceived. We began to think of the other ramifications of being that girl. Imagine being treated wrongly in that way, understanding completely the situation yet being unable to pry yourself out of it. Being in the bad relationship is bad enough but understanding through introspection that you personally do not have the will power and self respect to get out of that situation? That would have to be misery. We imagined this girl to be sharp and anything but naive. She fully comprehends that the musician she is with is unworthy of her and is treating her in ways she doesn't deserve. But she can't imagine a world without his music, a world without his song. She has come to grips with the fact that if she were to leave, his music would hunt her and haunt her.

   To make the situation even worse, the girl is constantly getting told by her closest of friends and family to "leave that man alone". Can't you imagine the anguish of being looked at by your best friend or your mother as they are telling you that you are too smart and too good to stay in that unhealthy situation....agreeing with them yet being unable to comply? It must be horrible. The embarassment that poor girl must be feeling, having her heart make her look like a fool to everyone around her. 

   It was with this in mind that Wendell and I completed "The Song Won't Let Her Be Free". 

   This poor girl's plight as an indentured slave to an asshole musician's song despite knowing she should leave him behind.

(NOTE: This story took a great deal of vivd imagination on my part being as I have never met an asshole musician in all my travels)

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