monday song #20: the devil’s dictionary


song twenty. it took me ten years to release 24 songs on two albums, and it has taken five months to release 20 songs. i am really enjoying this process.

so i had the general idea “shy is just another word for unfriendly” for at least three years now. i just couldn’t turn it into anything. so i decided that this week i would tackle it. it proved to be a formidable opponent. the fact i hadn’t recorded anything by 5pm on sunday says a lot. but there was a late drive that decided the game.

people often say i sound like billy joel. i will admit that i worshipped mr. joel when i was fifteen. i stood in line at 5am on lincoln and colorado in santa monica for tickets to the glass houses tour in 1980. i rarely think i borrow from him. mostly we steal from the same folks, i think, the beatles mainly. but the little melody in the verse is definitely a lift from the aformentioned glass houses and “don’t ask me why” which is in turn a clear lift from mr mccartney. the context i use it in, though, has nothing to do with the sweet refrain mr. joel used it in.

that’s about all i have to say about this one, except that it can be a painful thing to live with an unbridled critic who questions your every thought. each good intention is turned into a selfish manipulation. sad. but at least a song or two can come out of it…

so to be a bit forward looking, i am going to change up the format starting next week. i am going to embark on a larger piece, with the songs adding up a broader story. i have no idea what that story is, but i will provide context week by week and i intend that the narrative add up to something bigger than the individual songs. i listened to tommy a few times this weekend, and reminded myself that i wanted to try something a bit bigger. my last album “let your heart break” was a narrative at core. i like the concept.

also, i’m planning to ease up on the piano plus vocal rules: if the drama demands a harmony, or a bass guitar, then dammit, i’m going stick one in there. just warning you, though i’m pretty sure i’m the only one who cares about the distinction.