So 24 weeks and my body’s aching. Well, at least the parts that are important for getting out a song every week. I spent a good chunk of last week feeling kind of lousy and not my normal hopeful self, and so that was the mindset with which I was working. I knew from the get go that I wanted a simple guitar and voice song and I knew that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time writing it. It does hurt to play and finishing up Once Again last week took a lot out of me. (For those wondering what I’m talking about, you can refer to the blog entries of Weeks 22 & 23.)
That first session, I sat down on the couch to play and settled into the choppy strumming pattern that makes up Sooner or Later within about two minutes. I played with it a little bit and thought, ‘This will work.’ Pulled out the handy iPhone, recorded it and that was the end of session one. For the next 24 hours, I played back that little sample in various places and situations - while driving, brushing my teeth, cooking dinner, etc. - hoping that some sort of lyric idea would pop out. One of the first to come along was the ‘Sooner or later I’m gonna know’ you hear this week. I liked it although I struggled with the fact that the melody mirrored the chorus melody from Week 1’s Ready or Not. And for that reason, I initially rejected it.
However, after giving it a little thought, I began to see it a little differently. I felt like the melody worked for the new song’s chorus. And because this new song was turning into a sort of snapshot of how I was feeling approaching the halfway point of the year, I thought it might be kind of cool to use it, making the new song a sort of response to the excitement and ebullience I had been feeling that first week. (Email newsletter folks have heard some of this already.) And so it went.
I spent a few days tweaking lyrics to get it feeling right. I wanted to convey the sense of feeling a bit lost but also knowing that the journey is leading somewhere, even if we’re not sure where. I recorded the song Saturday morning and did it fairly simply. Two guitar takes was about all I was good for which thankfully gave me enough to comp together a final part.
I spent some time with the vocals. It took a while to get them feeling right. Part of this was due to the fact that I recorded the guitar part separately. I think the rhythm of my choppy strumming might have tied to the vocal rhythm better if I’d been singing as I played. I tried to sing along in my head but I don’t know that it’s quite the same, at least at my level of recording experience.
The other issue was one that I’ve mentioned a few times before where the song is so new that you don’t yet have a feel for performing it. It took a good five or six takes before I felt like I had something that was starting to work. At that point, I added some harmonies, gave it a mix and it was out the door. It was hard to leave it as bare bones as I did, especially given some of the recent songs I’ve done. I do enjoy fleshing them out. But it just takes so much time and I needed a little break. This week I was committed to keeping it simple.
That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed Sooner or Later. On to Week 25. The Great Divide is fast approaching. Hmm, that sounds familiar…oh yes, Week 13. Have a great week!