monday song #11: the cure


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”).

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monday song #10: fall down


number ten has a bit of a country twang.

i really like songs where there is a simple story, with a more complicated reality lurking underneath. if you take the words at face value, this tune, like “winston please” before it, is a simple heartfelt love song. but after a bit of listening and examination, a second story emerges. it’s like a trojan horse, with the sweet uncomplicated feelings drawing you in, only to reveal a sour and uncomfortable reality.

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monday song #9: the queen of spades


i’ve had the basic melody and chords for this song for some months now. the original chorus ended “she’s a star of stage and shingles vaccines,” which i still enjoy, but try as i might, it just wouldn’t spawn any lyrics i liked.

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monday song #8: the weather


number eight brings us back to the wholeheartedly sad songs.

this one came very fast. the opening chord sequence and the lines “too much history, too much you and me” came almost at once. most weeks, finding words is like stripping wallpaper – a lot of effort for little progress. with this song i had five verses and two bridges in about fifteen minutes. the work then was to edit and pare down. in the end i stripped way back to the minimum information necessary.

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monday song #7: and here i’m standing


the seventh installment and first of 2009.

i wrote and recorded this one a week before the first monday song was released. the musical idea that kicked this off was the opening piano with the A moving up to an unstable Dmaj7. (it’s somewhat rare for me to come up with the beginning of the song first.) the implied urgency in the chugging rhythm suggested some desperation and panic, and when the first line came – “there she goes and here i’m standing” – the arc of the story came all at once.

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monday song #6: the start of something big


number six. that’s an album side so far…

i had it in mind to write something with a new year’s theme. and with the world in the state it is and obama promising a sincere effort but no guarantees, i stuck on the subject of change and how it rarely comes without anxiety.

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monday song #5: winston please


i recorded the fifth monday song a few weeks ago, as i was preparing to launch the site. i had a few ready at the start: “ghost story,” “nadine,” “winston please,” and an up-tempo song called “and here i’m standing” i plan to premiere next week. the song i finished this week was too sad to put up the monday before christmas. maybe after new year’s. winston please, though sad and full of longing, has a sense of redemption to it, and a country folk gospel kind of vibe that seemed more fitting to the season.

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monday song #4: walking away


after starting with three heavy songs in a row, number four is something of a palette cleanser.

it’s an homage to homages: a kind of 20s music hall number that was a favorite of the psychedelic popsters of the later 60s. mccartney was a master of the style (“when i’m 64,” “honey pie”), as was harry nilsson (“1941”). in the 70s, queen followed suit with authentic oldies, tongue firmly in cheek (“lazing on a sunday afternoon,” “seaside rendezvous”).

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monday song #3: birthday (part one)


number three.

the guts of this song – chords, melody, the phrase “it’s your birthday” – came to me a couple years ago on a family camping trip, playing it over and over by the campfire. i imagined paul mccartney singing it, solo, with an acoustic guitar, but as i fleshed out the lyrics and tackled the arrangement last week, things went in a different direction. Continue reading “monday song #3: birthday (part one)”

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. Continue reading “monday song #2: nadine”