Monday, 21 February 2011
Song Number 7: Waste Of My Time
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Exciting stuff this week: you've been spared my voice, as all vocals were done by my wife Jess!
I hadn't set out to write a song for a female singer. The song developed from a drum beat inspired by The Meters, then a bass line to go with drum beat. Around the same time, I was twiddling with a marimba sound on the keyboard, and just stuck the one on top of the other. After that, it was a case of simplifying the drum beat to make the track drive forward a little more, then layer up the instruments like they were going out of fashion. Sometimes I know exactly what I want to put into a production (the harp/strings in the chorus, for example); but other times I'll listen back to a track and hear some harmonics or an accidental emphasis on a particular note I like, then go back and record an extra instrument to highlight these natural accidents. The creepy harp glissandos in the second bridge section are a nod to The Sixth Door from Bartok's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle, because it's one of my favourite operas and I'm a pretentious bore.
Arrangement-wise, we've been working through a box set of James Bond films lately, and I wonder if that's had some influence on things! Have you ever heard a-ha's version of The Living Daylights and then listened to the record after John Barry got his hands on it? Totally different songs, and the bombastic orchestration really lifts it above being an otherwise unremarkable production.
The first vocal line to pop into my head was the basic hook of the chorus. Writing the words for the fast verse at the beginning was the toughest part - sometimes the words you want to use initially don't roll off the tongue particularly nicely, so you have to find a way of getting the meaning across while keeping it pleasing to the ear. When I started to write the fast section, I thought it would be cool to hear a female voice performing it, and that gave me a clearer idea of what the character of the singer would be, and that the 'story' of the song would be: boy sees girl; boy likes girl; girl likes boy; boy too scared to do anything about it; girl gets bored. We've all been there, chaps!
I had great fun recording with Jess (thank you!) - please leave your feedback on the song, the production, the singer... but most importantly PLEASE DONATE TO PARKINSON'S UK by clicking on the JustGiving widget up there on the top right! Tell your friends and family - shout it from the rooftops!