Archive for August, 2015|Monthly archive page

The Dream is Winding Down (Lucid) song biography

After my round 1 song for the new Spintunes-yet-not-Spintunes contest didn’t quite connect on the challenge front (by the way, short version on that: everything except the chorus/first prechorus is part of a To Do list) for some folks, I thought it was worth offering a little explanation on this new one.

So… what was the challenge, you ask?

Just follow this link— okay, actually I have too many links here, I’ll just copy/paste it.  DO NOT FOLLOW THAT LINK.  Ahem.

Tick Tock – Write a song in which you’re counting down to something.  Musically the song should imply that time is getting nearer to whatever you’re counting down to as well.  Once again…avoid going meta.  As an added challenge, you need to collaborate with someone else on your team.  

So!  We’ve really got three challenges here.  As is my custom I sort of “interpreted” some of this, because let us face it, friends: challenge “interpretation” in Spintunes is a thing.

  1. The song is about counting down.
  2. The song has a musical element that SUGGESTS counting down.
  3. There is a collaboration with someone from the Champions slate.

My original topic approach to this challenge, which I admit was probably more creative, was a sort of companion piece to my very first Spintune, from the perspective of a supervillain trying to keep a hero busy while the bomb in the building they’re in counts down to zero (I hadn’t decided if the villain was smart enough to realize he probably needed to get out of the building, or if he was in the building intentionally).  I actually had music for this and some lyrics.  It was a big brassy blues rock type of tune and I might still finish it, but first, I was having some trouble finishing the lyrics and second, I wasn’t sure how to attack the collaboration element.

While I was trying to solve the first problem I ended up writing some lyrics that didn’t go with the music I had and didn’t really go with the other lyrics either (it was that “throwing science at the wall and seeing what sticks” phase of songwriting [That link had nothing to do with this song, so apologies, but it IS hilarious]).  It is pretty rare that I switch ideas mid week, but in addition to liking the new lyrics better I also had a pretty good idea how to handle the collaboration and an idea for the musical element.

To handle challenge number 1, I picked something pretty simple.  If a person is dreaming and realizes that they are dreaming (which is, broadly, the definition of lucid dreaming hey like in the title of the song), in at least some cases it is possible to wake by consciously closing the eyes and counting down from a number, thus ending (or Winding Down, if you will, and I hope you will) the dream.

Okay, so my song is about that moment.  Cool (I thought?).  I made it from the perspective of someone external to the dream though.  Hmm, maybe it’s a coma?  Honestly it could be a lot of things.  Yes, after several straight ahead rock type songs I am firmly back in lyrical cryptical dream imagery land.  I hope you enjoy your stay!

To handle challenge number 2, I had a few ideas.  One was a end-of-song crescendo, which collaborator Jenny Katz used to great effect in her own song, or an almost-full-song crescendo in one of my favorite Death Cab tracks.  For the original song I was writing my idea was a descending chromatic guitar figure (that wasn’t really working, another reason I went with the second song idea).  SO I settled for a litlle guitar motif, basically a series of descending scale tones.  This is again more like “winding” down then a definite countdown.  I will probably get taken to task for this.  I had some other ideas but they were all so obvious as to be blinding.  Just to make it explicit as possible I ended the song with the finally iteration of the motif, while the rest of the music faded off.

For challenge number 3, I had already got agreement from Jenny to do something on the track.  She sent me a version with her singing the whole song (which I’m probably going to post as a remix soon, it is quite good) but I liked how clear the COLLABORATION was with the second version she sent, which was more of a duet, with verse trade offs and harmonies and call and response chorus and all kind of other things I like a lot.  I’ve had a lot of fun with my other Spintunes collaborations and those songs were pretty well liked, so it seemed like a win/win.

This bio is probably twice as long as anybody is going to read at this point so if you made it this far, first, THANK YOU, and  here is something else that was at least twice as long as it needed to be.