monday song #2: nadine
the second monday song.
when i was in junior high there was a girl named nadine in my wood shop class. at some point, the boys started taunting her: “nadine, nadine, the header machine.” i never discovered the background, but, though she disappeared before high school, she was forever etched into my brain. years later, she’d occasionally come to mind, and I’d wonder what happened to her.
the main chords in the verse are stolen from the opening of my billie burke estate song “skin”: a sort of modal jazz sensibility that suggested a kind of hypnotic stasis, a sad comfort. from this point of equilibrium, i slowly pushed at the boundaries, exploring a few different harmonic possibilities.
the original vocal hook was “nadine lives in a dream, phone bills and sleeping pills, lost in between.” the character was cemented in this line, and I then drove myself crazy with rhyming couplets in search of further details, until the shape of the narrative fell into place. i got the “god bless the trees” line fairly early, and much of the work of writing and editing was to find a clear path from beginning to end.
the varied paths by which people find god has long fascinated me, and I thought of pursuing a song cycle around the subject at one time. as with most abstract concepts, they inspire an idea or two before the inspiration wears off. the most fertile organizing themes are usually the ones i discover after the fact.
i exploited the piano as guitar motif in the solo.
no clear influences on this one. (at least nothing conscious.) maybe a modest nod to the jazz-pop vets steely dan, or mark almond’s “sausalito bay suite.”