monday song #11: the cure



[special note: playing tonight at the pub at Vios at 7pm (beneath third place books on 65th st and 20th ave in north seattle). i will also be playing there next monday. been trying to put together a number of monday songs for live performance. we’ll see how that goes. i obviously need to find a place for this info that is not in the song posts…any suggestions?]

number 11 returns to the crazy theme. (wait, did i leave the crazy theme?)

this song came as quickly as anything i’ve written in a long time. chords came with the melody. sat down to write words and just wrote them. after a little bit of editing, everything was in place. the result contains my favorite bridge since “i want u” (off the bbe album “let your heart break”).

the opening chord structure reminds me a lot of the high llamas. if you like “smile”-era beach boys, you will like those guys. check out the album “gideon gaye.” then a custom beatles descending bass off a minor chord. i think i use that figure in every third song i write. just love that harmony and its suggestion of sad tension. elo are also great fans of that move. i guess that’s why they are the 70s beatles (minus the edge).

i am really attracted to the theme of mania, not just because of past experience, but because it sets up a wonderful dramatic situation for a character. the idea that the best you’ve ever felt was from the result of being mentally ill is a very difficult thing to accept. the desire to escape the depressing mundane for the excitement of insanity, even if it’s unreal, even dangerous, offers a kind of no-win situation. my favorite. that’s what monday songs are all about.

i used my favorite chord in the bridge. it’s the one that lasts longest and is most dissonant, a minor major 7th, with the fourth in the bass. in this case its a Fmmaj7/Bb (aka Bb9#11). as a theory slacker, this is not a chord i set out to use but one i stumble on at times (i use a variation of it in “skin”). its just full of dynamic tension, not only with the minor opposing the major, but also the #11 of the Bb adding an extra tri-tone to the stew.

after recording this tune, i walked around thinking i had taken the melody from something. after being driven nuts for a day i realized it reminded me of the damned song “melody lee” (possibly my favorite punk rock song). the melody is not similar, but rhythmic morse code is very close. mainly added this as a suggestion for folks to pick up “machine gun etiquette,” one of the best albums from the real early punks.



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  • kristin on

    my kids and i sing this song all the time. they have a lot of questions about what the words mean, and i try to explain what i know about manic-depression. such a catchy tune…

  • Davey Holmes on

    God what a beautiful song. Astounding. Truly. And reading the above only heightens my enjoyment. (Making a mental note to go play a minor major 7th chord w/ 4th in bass.)

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