New Song: “Someday Soon”

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Here’s my latest song… It’s called “Someday Soon,” and when I wrote it, I was thinking about what it was like to graduate from college and realize that I didn’t really have a plan. All I had was a degree and a vague sense that my life should be going somewhere. Exactly where, of course, was anyone’s guess, and as I bounced from one soul-crushing job to another, I kept thinking about how the message throughout my childhood was that I could do anything with my life — anything at all! That I ended up editing accounting textbooks was a bit of a letdown, especially since I was shooting for becoming a superhero or a Jedi Knight or something along those lines. I imagine that feeling of being lost and let a little disappointed in where life has led is something that a lot of college grads go through, so if you find yourself in the boat that I was in way back when, this song is for you!

Musically, it has an 80’s new-wave synth-rock feel with strong hints of bands like the Cars, Echo and the Bunnymen, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and Tubeway Army. It also has some classic rock overtones. In particular, I realized as I was recording it that the instrumental bridge in the middle has a similar chord progression to the bridge in Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” In terms of lyrical content, the second verse is my favorite — the one about being thrown from a car. It’s essentially what graduating from college felt like for me.

In any case, if you like the song or know someone who might, you can play it on Spotify or buy it on iTunes or BandCamp. Or if you want a free copy, just shoot me an email, and I’ll send you an MP3 — because that’s the kind of guy I am!

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy the song!

Listen/Download:

 

The Shoot (Part Four)

The story I’m telling myself as Miranda and I drive to the cemetery is that I’ll be home by dinner. Considering that it’s half-past-three and Mike is still, to the best of my knowledge, in the shower, it’s less of a story than a baldfaced lie, but it’s a lie that I cling to as I sling a guitar over my shoulder and start jumping out from behind trees and rising up from behind tombstones per Miranda’s instructions.

“You’re supposed to be a rock star,” she says from behind her camera. “Don’t be so stiff.”

The “rock star” appellation is less a description of who I am than of the role I’m supposed to be playing. There are four characters in the mini-drama that Miranda has scripted: The Hot-Rod Kitten, the Pet Detective, the Rock Star, and Mama. I’m the rock star, and Mike, stretching any and all definitions of the word, is going to be Mama. What doesn’t occur to me is that a Hot-Rod Kitten and a Pet Detective have yet to be cast.

“Move your shoulders,” Miranda says. “Rock out!”

The song I wrote and recorded is playing on her phone. It’s called “Never Talk Back” and tells the story of a prostitute who gets killed because she doesn’t bring in enough money. I think Mama is supposed to be her pimp, actually. Or something like that. It’s been a long time since I wrote the song, and the seven-page shooting script, which we’re pretty much abandoning as we go along, has very little to do with the lyrics. Thank God. Or, to give credit where credit is due, thank Miranda, since she wrote the script.

And, it turns out, is a pretty good director.

The truth, I realize, is that there’s something vaguely comforting about following orders. I don’t have to worry about what to do or say. I don’t even have to run any of my “normal people behavior” scripts. I just do what Miranda says to do and trust that it will all work out in the end, so I try to play some guitar riffs along with the song and start to mouth the lyrics.

“Maybe don’t sing along so much,” Miranda suggests. “We don’t know which clips we’ll be using where.”

“Got it,” I say, settling gradually into the role of the rock star.

“And remember,” Miranda adds. “Don’t be so stiff!”

Track-by-Track: “Don’t Let It Go”

So far, “Don’t Let It Go” is the track from Thank You for Holding that has gotten the most compliments. Not sure if that’s because there’s no singing on it or because people like the guitar playing… Hmm…

In any case, this instrumental started as a fairly long jam that I recorded with — I think — a loop pedal and a Tascam Digital Portastudio that I was using before I started using my laptop and Reason to record. I’m not sure how long the original track was, but at some point I edited the best parts of my guitar solo together and replaced the bass and drum tracks with a combination of live and sequenced instruments.

Actually, if you listen carefully to the bass line, you can probably hear that the first part of the song is a synth, the middle is live, and the last part is basically a single note that I lifted from an earlier recording of the song and repeated until the end.

The title is somewhat of a play on the title of the Disney song “Let It Go,” which was popular a few years ago. It was the kind of song that I was hearing everywhere and just getting sick of, so I gave this song the opposite name despite the fact that there’s no similarity between the two tunes whatsoever.

I made a couple of earlier versions of this song available on BandCamp a while back — maybe a year or so ago — and I almost included it on Garden Variety, but as with “My Head,” I couldn’t get the sound quite right until now.

In fact, of all the tracks on Thank You for Holding, this one gave me the most headaches and took me the longest to mix because I wanted it to sound “live” as opposed to the exquisite corpse of patched-together performances and sequenced tracks that it actually is. One way I did that was to start the song at one tempo and gradually speed it up as the track progresses.

The main reason I included this track on Thank You for Holding is that I think it has a kind of 1970s jazz-rock sound to it that would definitely be right at home on an elevator or on a telephone hold message. And, of course, I also added the robot’s voice to the end of this one by splicing together a few of his phrases from “Thank You for Holding” to make him sound even sadder and lonelier than he does on that track: “Thank you for holding. Your call is the only life I know.”