Wednesday, June 08, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 8: A Song You Know All The Words To

I'll begin with an apology for today's 30 Day Song Challenge selection. I'm aware that it may seem a little like cheating (and a LOT like shameless self-promotion) to choose one of my own songs as the "song I know all the words to." In fact, it may not even be true. As most people who have ever played music with me will attest, the songs that I most often forget the words to are my own songs. But I think this song is an exception to my general rule of lyrical amnesia. I pretty consistently remember all the words to this one.

I don't remember exactly the year that I wrote this song, but I'm sure that it's more than a decade old now. (I know that because I'm sure I played it with the band I was in before graduate school.) Like a lot of songwriters' songs, this one is heavy on the autobiographical. But also like a lot of songwriters' songs, it's a product of a specific place and time and set of circumstances in my life that have, like all things do, passed.

I recorded this song for the first and only time a few years ago here in Memphis. At the time, I had made new friends with a couple of guys (a keyboardist and a guitarist) who were in the process of setting up their own home recording studio. They were trying out a new mixing board the day I was there, and asked if I wanted to lay down a song. We got one take, and this is it. The accompanying video, on the other hand, was shot over the course of 3 days in Memphis by my friend Chris Morgan (of Bombring). We didn't have any kind of budget for the video, so we called in favors to shoot at all of the locations, and all of the "actors" (Max Maloney, Marlinee Iverson, and Emily Fulmer) are friends of ours. Here it is, my song "Heart of Stone":

This is a song that definitely needs a bridge, and I kind of wish that the organ parts sounded a little more "Whiter Shade of Pale"-ish, but otherwise I think it's pretty solid. I think it captures a fairly simple sentiment-- something like "Just GO already!"-- and I'd like to think that's a feeling more people have experienced than just me.

A long time ago, someone (I don't remember who) gave me a little nugget of wisdom that I've never forgotten and have repeated often since: Breakups don't "take" until at least the third time. I've always liked that particular phrasing, because it depicts a breakup not as an "event" but as something more like a "treatment." You apply a breakup to a bad relationship like a topical ointment: sometimes it "takes" and the relationship goes away, but it rarely does so on the first application. I think my song reflects a little of that insight. Sad but true.

I also want to say one last thing about the difference between knowing/singing lyrics to a song you've written and knowing/singing lyrics to someone else's song. For me, there isn't any difference. Or not after a while, anyway.

Also, for the record, I don't have a heart of stone.

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