Album Challenge: Post 5

This one started as a melody about a month ago. Then I came up with some bitter sweet and music/melody appropriate lyrics. You just can’t marry any lyrics to any music. They might be great lyrics but if their emotional content is not in sync with the song it will sound like a comedy piece. Think Airplane the movie.

I only mention it because it was an issue for me. The verse and chorus have a very different melody. I wondered if they could ever work together lyrically. The verse sounds upbeat and happy. The chorus is more like a Pink Floyd song.  What lyrics tie that together?

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Idea for the album artwork?

The original melody is the chorus (0:36 sec). It starts out bouncing slowly back and forth from the 5 to the 4 (V to IV) then finally resolves to the Tonic. I think it’s in A# major but I’m never sure since I transpose so much for the vocals.

For about two days I tried to write the verse section… or just another section. I wanted something that flowed into the chorus, didn’t sound contrived, and wasn’t just some weak part to fill out the song.

This verse was the strongest I came up with. At first I thought it sounded funny. I wondered, “is this in the same key?”

How to make it flow into the chorus? It was mostly getting that last line right (:34 sec). End on the right note. Have the right phrasing before the chorus.

After listening to it for a while it really grew on me. It’s funny how that works. I’ve had it happen before where the secondary parts end up being the most interesting. So maybe have more faith in them when I’m writing. Record them and see how I feel the next day.

For the music I’ve decided that getting the drums in earlier is better. I was trying to write lyrics with just some chord changes on piano. But I often have a drum pattern in mind from the very beginning. I think that should go in as early as possible from now on. It’s a feel thing but also a structure thing.

The drums were done on BFD 2 again. I like that kick. but then, I just like kicks period. The drums are pretty straight. That is, on the grid. except there is a good amount of swing on the places with 1/8th notes. That’s the kick and hi-hat. I don’t know how Reaper calculates the swing grid but this is about 50% of 100%. It’s obviously different from straight time. And it obviously works.

It worked so nicely I decided to swing the piano on 1/8th notes too. Again totally works. But I didn’t swing it exactly the same amount as the drums. Does that work better then a perfect match? Hard to say. Sometimes lining up perfect is a real yawner.

I was listening to the band Sleigh Bells today. As usual I’m a few years behind the culture. Anyway the album (Treats) is awesome. But I was listening to the way it was put together. One thing I noticed was the 1 count was late in places. Not late bad. Late good. I made a note of it. Listening for “imperfections” in the drums or rhythm of a song is a good exercise. Makes me wonder how many songs I like that aren’t on the grid. Something handy to know if you are programming drums or even playing them.

I still have to write some more lyrics and figure out the structure of the whole song. I played around with adding some guitar and some pad synth. Other ideas: Using samples of my voice in creative ways, Adding live bass.

As for this bass it’s Kontakt 4’s classic bass with some fx. The sound is ok but I can get the timing spot on. That’s important to me. I do like the sound of my Mexican made Fender Jazz Bass Better (especially with some transistor style distortion) but it’s hard for me to nail the timing. The other thing I like about real bass is all the great articulations and transitions between notes. I’m sure there are some great sample libraries for bass out there. I just don’t have them. If I did have them would I really want to spend the time learning to program them? Seems it would be easier to perform the thing myself and fix it up with edits.

I’m trying to find a better way to organize these posts. There is so much to cover from writing to producing. Next time.

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