Songs Are Like Children

Songs are like children. Sometimes they’re like twins. When I’m on a spree, writing a bunch of songs all at the same time, I notice that perhaps two of them are (in my head) the same damn song. It’s completely accidental, but for instance, right now I have two 12/8 waltzes going. No, they’re not in the same key. No, they’re not even the same tempo. But I was shaving and humming one of them and then when I wasn’t paying attention, I had switched and I noticed I was humming the other one. I’d never thought of them as even remotely similar until then.

Now, the twin thing is interesting. Sometimes one of the songs will eat the other one and there’s only one song left (two songs enter; one song leaves). The stronger one consumes the weaker sibling, uses it for parts, and maybe grabs a couple of lyrics from the weaker one, maybe a bridge or something too.

Other times, I end up with two songs. And maybe I’m the only one who thinks they’re the same, maybe not. But then I play them very far apart during a show so (in my head) nobody will notice that they’re the same damn song. When I was preparing songs for TABLE 10, I played a bunch for my producer Jon Nolan and I told him I was going to play two songs that are the same damn song. He didn’t hear it. He did not hear them as the same song at all. They didn’t both end up on the CD (actually, did either of them end up on the CD?) and I do play them both live. And, based on his ear, I no longer think of them as the same damn song. He wouldn’t lie to me or be wrong.

This leads me to a confession. “Broken Wheels” is an example of a stronger twin. The two memorable hooks in that song came from another song that I now can’t bother to finish because I’ve already used those two memorable hooks in “Broken Wheels.” So, “Average Love Song” will remain on the scrapheap. It’s kinda too bad. I had higher hopes for that one than “Broken Wheels.” Oh well.

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One Response to Songs Are Like Children

  1. Jon Nolan says:

    Man, I have a pretty sizable scrap heap that I pick over from time to time. Never throw out a hook or a good line, right? I mean, if I keep coming back to an idea, there has to be something good in there. I actually find it pretty liberating to quilt together some good ideas into one solid whole. Anyway, cool post, brother! drive on!

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