Looking for the beginning?

Looking for somewhere to start? Check out Song 1 here!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Experiment

I usually start writing a song when a hook pops into my head, usually consisting of just a few words sung to a particular melody.  I'll drone on about this some more at a later date.

But when I don't have a hook to build from I tend to write the music to a song first, and add the lyric later.  This can be a problem.  I'm hard to please when it comes to writing my own lyrics - for me, the line between too cheesy and too obscure is very fine indeed.  It's an aspect of my songwriting I really need to improve, and so for this next song I'm going to try writing the words first, away from the music. 

I don't think I've tried setting words to music since I was doing my A-Levels. It might work; it might be a total disaster.  WE SHALL SEE!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Song Number 3: Best That I Can Be

Here we go! 


I've done my bit - now it's time to do yours!  Click on the JustGiving widget up there on the right, and pledge some pennies to Parkinson's UK!

What an absolute nightmare I've had with this third song.  I work on one idea, get nowhere, and move onto another idea.  Then I get hacked off with that one and move on to another.  I realised today that if I was going to get anything done at all, I was going to have to pick one idea and stick with it until the whole thing was written. 

With time getting on, it made sense to go with the song that would take the least production time, hence the one-man-and-his-piano arrangement this time around.  No banjos here.  

So what have I learnt this week?  Well, if I'm faced with several song ideas,  none of which inspire me, it's best to pick one and hammer it out.  As much as it hurts a songwriter's pretentious artistic pride to say it, a mediocre song is worth more than a great idea that never gets realised. 

OH - while I'm here...

... donations have stalled somewhat, so I need you guys to help me spread the word!  Pass the link around; Tweet, re-Tweet, and Thrice Tweet using the button on the top right or by following my Twitter feed; add a link to your own blog if you have one (I'll happily link yer back).  And on a personal level, please leave your comments on the songs, either here, on the YouTube page, or the Facebook page - it means a lot to hear your thoughts on the tracks.

Monday, 24 January 2011

24/1 update

Nothing's working.  Most annoying. 

As I've said several times before, one of my aims with this thing is to get over my normal routine of:

  1. Work out idea/riff/chords/beat
  2. Get bored with it/feel totally uninspired by it
  3. Give up
I must gone through this at least half a dozen times today.  The trouble is that my aim of just getting the song written is being counteracted by the fact that these songs are being posted online for everyone to hear.  I'm a vain and insecure musician, and therefore I need everybody to love everything I do all the time.  This is why musicians are so annoying to be around.

I need to get over this worry.  Even if I only posted songs I thought were good, that wouldn't be any guarantee that anybody else would like them.  Similarly, just because I think a song's dull and unimaginative, it doesn't mean anybody else will agree with me.  How many songs are there that have sold millions, yet when you hear them you think, "How did anybody fall for this crap?!"

So basically, I need to stop worrying and just get the songs written.  Or, as my dad would say, "Shit, or get off the pot." 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Song Number 2: Long Long Way

Does quarter to one on Wednesday morning still count as Tuesday evening?  Come on - be nice!

In any case, I'm proud to present the second song of the year, "Long Long Way".  Amongst the instruments used was my cigar box guitar (also featured on Country Life), and Jess added some BVs too.




I've done my bit - now do yours: click on the widget in the top right there to donate a few bob to Parkinson's UK!  THANK YOU to everybody who's donated so far.


I had great fun recording this.  The initial banjo riff and the line "Long way to go before I lose my soul" came first more or less simultaneously, and the rest of the song grew from there.  It took a few attempts to get it right - at first It was basically the same thirty-odd seconds of music repeated over and over again, but I forced myself to do something slightly more interesting with the "Citadel" sections until it became a whole song rather than just a riff endlessly repeated with no direction.

I had a spot of bother with the last line.  I wanted to say "You will never take my tea," but felt like I had to say something a bit more sensible than that.  However, nothing else seemed to fit, and so I said bollocks to being sensible and put the original line back in - and let me tell you, folks: it's sung from the heart.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Bear with me!

January being stuffed with birthdays and new students, I'm afraid today's been the first time I've had to work on the song properly.  Got to record a whole load of backing vocals (such as they are - I'm still really snotty) so the song won't be online until tomorrow evening, folks. 

If all goes to plan this week, I should be able to get song 3 finished by this weekend, which means I'll be back on track.  Things start to calm down again in February, which means I'll finally be able to:

a) give these songs a little more attention than they've been getting so far;
b) get to the gym;
c) scratch my arse.

Tomorrow evening - I promise!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

13/1 update

My wife and I have our birthdays this week and we're disappearing for the weekend, which means song 2 won't be posted online until Monday evening, folks.  However, I can reveal it's a White Stripes-esque swamp stomper on which I'm tempted to play the flute. 

Thanks for your comments on Wears The Soap - keep 'em coming - and for your donations to Parkinson's UK.  Remember, you can donate in bulk, or just pledge a few bob after every song. 

I've also had a few requests for songs already - if you want me to write about a specific subject, drop me a line and I'll try to get them written. 

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Song Number 1: "Wears The Soap"

We have lift off!  

Due to January being a pain in the arse, today is the first chance I've had to actually do some recording, so I made the most of it.  Written and recorded in five hours, I present to you the first song of my Song A Week 2011 project, "Wears The Soap."  Make of it what you will - I'd be interested in your comments on what you think of it, and what the hell you think it might be about!

I've done my part - now it's time for you to do yours: click on the widget in the top right to donate to Parkinson's UK!

I'm really pleased with this first track.  I don't think it's a particularly good song, but one of the reasons I started this project was to get over my nasty habit of starting a song, getting upset because it's not Life On Mars or Heart Of Glass and giving up

So here, I started writing the music; had a couple of tantrums, but kept going, finished the music and started on the words; had another tantrum, but kept going; and before I knew it I had a finished song and could start having fun with the production.  Thanks must go to my wife for giving me a stern word after my second hissy fit!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Song A Week now has a heart!

Click on the widget on the top right there and donate some cash for this ridiculous endeavour of mine!

The charity is Parkinson's UK.  I have friends and family who have been affected by this terrible disease, which can hit anybody regardless of their race, background, income or lifestyle.  You can donate a certain amount every time I complete a song, or you can just give a big wadge at the end of the year - your choice!

You can also give at http://www.justgiving.com/songaweek

In the meantime, watch this space - the first song should be uploaded tomorrow!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Prologue...

Hello there!

My name is Peter Falconer, and I am a lazy bastard.

I am also a musician and songwriter - and to be successful as a songwriter you can't afford to be a lazy bastard.  You have to work hard, not just sit around hoping for inspiration to come along and bless you with hit after hit. 

So this year, I'm aiming to write a song a week.

52 songs in 2011 is a pretty tall order - I'm away for a month in the Summer on my honeymoon, for one thing - and with work and unforeseen inconveniences on top of that I think I'll be happy with anything over 45 songs.  I'll be posting the songs here on my blog, and also on my YouTube channel.

***UPDATE*** Did I say 45 songs?  Sod that - I'm going for the full 52.  My wonderful wife has given me permission to take some recording equipment on holiday with us (no not for that, you dirty sods), so there are no excuses.  52 songs or bust!

I'll also be posting my thoughts on songwriting in general, links to some of the songs that inspire and influence me, and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.  Any feedback - positive or negative - on the songs or anything else you read on here is most welcome, so please get in touch!

If you want to hear some of the songs I wrote before 2011, you can check out my website at www.peterfalconer.co.uk or my MySpace site at myspace.com/mrpeterfalconer.  There's also a Facebook page - become a fan and feel all warm inside!
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