You’ll Never Know

Tonight I am playing at my first sweet shop – Lickity Split on N Broadway in Chicago. I can (but won’t) walk there for the gig – my digital piano and other equipment can’t, but I like to fantasize about having a gig for which I don’t have to tear down or set up (If there was a way to write that sentence without ending on a preposition, please let me know).

I’m working on a few new songs, and I’m suffering from the same critiues I always give myself during the writing process:

1. I have a few little parts of songs, and I can’t figure out which ones go together – they all sound interchangeable to me

2. The melody sounds forced, but I’m tired of all of my melodies falling into that pentatonic pit (hee hee hee alliteration).

3. I spend so much time writing down what I want to say and trying to mold it into lyrics that I end up with things sounding more trite than just writing what I feel – but that’s always far too many syllables to express lyrically.

4. I write too damn high for my voice, but when I transpose it, it becomes too low for the piano (there’s a term for why you can play a fifth in the middle of the keyboard and hear the interval, but your ear can’t recognize that same fifth when played three octaves lower – it just sounds like noise. Wish I could remember that term).

And I wish I had an answer for these problems, mainly the first one. I can deal with the others, but I feel weird when I have four small pieces of song and they don’t fit together as one, but they work well together in many combinations of pairs. So how do I decide which one makes the best song? Its something you can’t recognize until you’re too deep into the writing process, once you’ve really fleshed out what the song is going to be about.

That brings up another problem I face a lot.

5. The song ends up being about something completely different from what I originally set out to write.

Through the means, I lose the ends…if that makes any sense. I set out to achieve a goal, and I lose that goal completely when I enact my means of achieving that goal.

Sometimes I do wish I had a McJob. Would save me the mental strain of trying to create something perfect.

2 responses to “You’ll Never Know

  1. You didn’t end that sentence with a preposition. You ended it with a phrasal verb. “Up” is usually a preposition, but in this case it belongs to a verb, not to a prepositional phrase, so it’s not functioning as a preposition. You have therefore not broken the unnecessary Latin-based grammar rule that was invented in the 17th century.

    -Your friendly neighborhood English major/ex-English teacher/grammar pedant (aka Kendra)

  2. regarding #3: Have you considered writing rap music??? But seriously, I’m thinking about Cake, or the Barenaked Ladies. They sometimes have very robust lyrics that don’t necessarily follow the underlying metric theme.

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