Ep. 7: Song “I Waited For You” (Influenced by Tom Petty)

This one’s an oldie written back in my high school days. It tells the story of someone being stood up for a date and not knowing what to think or do about it. Did the person not care? Were they in an accident? Should I keep waiting? It’s the uncertainty that kills you.

I was going for a rootsy-rock along the lines of Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”

The recording is fairly simple: acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lead and harmony vocals and tambourine. I may go back and add drums to this some day.

Lyrics:
I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do
I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do

I want it so bad I don’t know why
Searching for answers I just wanna cry
Tell me what it is I can do for you
I just want you to notice that I’m there

I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do

I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do

I wanted so bad to hear your voice
I was convinced there was no choice
You get to the point where you no longer see
Our greatest thoughts and mysteries have nothing to do with me

I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do

I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do

An hour later you stop on by
And waste my time again with another lie
Tell me what it is I can for you
I just want you to notice that I’m here

I waited for you the whole night through
I waited for you and I don’t know what to do
I waited for you
I waited for but it’s too late and I just wanna cry

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Ep. 6: Song “Apology” (Influenced by Beach House)

I wrote this song when I was a freshman in college. It was one of those tunes that came out at 3 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep. I remember playing and singing it super quietly so I wouldn’t wake up my roommates.

Lyrically, the song is about a hopeless crush and trying to sort out whether or not I had a chance.

Originally, I envisioned the song as sort of a early Radiohead style acoustic power ballad like “Fake Plastic Trees.”

As I started recording it and adding elements, it morphed into something a lot more along the lines of Beach House’s “Silver Soul”

and if I’m being perfectly honest, there’s a little bit of Yo Gabba Gabba influence thrown in there.

Some of the elements included are the lo-fi drum machine, the weepy sounding slide guitar, the soft churchy organ, and the heavy reverb effects on the vocals, which are both double tracked and song at octaves. There’s also some interesting spacey synth parts including a really disjointed blippy solo I played by clicking the notes on the screen with my mouse.

This was really left field for me in terms of trying something I’ve never done before. I think the results are pretty satisfying.

Lyrics:

She’s got a perfect smile and she never has the time to see
I’m feeling so alone. I’m withered on my own and she’s not home

Living through the days where everything just floats away into
The corner of my mind and could you be so kind to let me know

Better days are on their way again
And having you there lets me know
That I won’t have to take it on my own
And I’m still acting out my last apology

I’m sick of guarantees and always feeling incomplete, it seems
To hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m dreaming when my time is running thin

She is my only choice cuz when I listen to her voice it’s like
A sparrow in the wind. She whispers out my name and I give in

Being with you I can be myself
And I don’t have to act so strange
Well you won’t ever have to stand alone
And I’m still acting out my last apology

Better days are on their way again
And having you there lets me know
I’m sick of always feeling out of time
And I’m still acting out my last apology

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Ep. 5: Song “Petals and Roses” (Influenced by Elliott Smith)

I wrote this song back in high school. It’s about boldly going into a relationship without knowing what the outcome will be. With the girl I was dating at the time, it became apparent to both of us that we had very different plans for the future and that it most likely wasn’t going to work out in the long term but we still tried to enjoy the moments we had together.

I was listening to a lot of Elliott Smith at the time. Here’s a one of his songs, “Clementine”

A borrowed a lot here from Elliott’s signature lo-fi sound: keeping the melody in a soft, low register, double tracking the vocals, double tracking the acoustic guitar, and a sense of melancholy in the lyrics.

Lyrics

Waiting for the right time to speak
Staring at the ceiling trying to sleep
And I’ll pray for you
I will pray for you

Sitting in the darkness by your side
Hiding all the thoughts up in my mind
And I’ll say to you
I will be your friend

It’s just a chance we take without
ever really knowing how it ends

I’ll be there for you
I will be your friend

It’s just a chance we take without
ever really knowing how it ends
It’s just a chance we take without
ever really knowing how it ends


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Ep. 4: Song “Outside” (Influenced by Coldplay)

I wrote this song when I was was a freshman in college. It is about admitting that you are wrong in a relationship and hoping the other person is willing to overlook your flaws.

The song and the production of the recording is very heavily influenced by early Coldplay, in particular the song “Sparks.”

I emulated a lot of the same elements such as the drum part being mostly a ride cymbal and snare played by brushes, the 6/8 time, the acoustic guitar strumming, and the clean guitar picking part played with a reverby delay effect. Ultimately, I think it succeeds in achieving the same relaxing, leisurely paced vibe.

Lyrics:
The days were passing by
I can see them now
and I was living life outside
on my own

I was wrong when I lied
Please be strong and let it all outside again

The nights were calling me
How I tried to sleep
and I was living life outside
on my own

I was wrong when I lied
Please be strong and let it all outside again
And I can’t complain
Cuz I still remain
And I can’t explain
Why I still remain outside

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Ep. 3: Song “The Golden Age” (Influenced by John Lennon)

I wrote “The Golden Age” back in 2003 when I was a missionary living in New York City. On my day off, I would sometimes head over the church building and play piano and this is one of the songs that came out of those practice sessions.

It’s about where we’ve come as a people and how we define progress. Living in a big city like New York, you clearly see the disparity between rich and poor. We sometimes define success as having a comfortable house in a nice neighborhood and I think sometimes we lose something in trying to have the most comfortable life possible.

It’s influenced by John Lennon’s famous track, “Imagine” as well as Coldplay and Aqualung.

When it came time to record, I keep the instruments sparse with just a piano and vocal with no effects. I think it works for the song.

Lyrics:

Every passing moment spent, my whole world is caving in
Truth evolves in subtle ways, changing slowly every day

In a thousand years from now, drifting to a smaller town
I can’t find the meaning in, words replaced with ignorance

Breaking from the myth that kept us down so many years
Everything erased, exactly how it was before the golden age

Lost inside a crowded street, voices always fail to speak
Comfort from the safest place leaves another another vacant space

Breaking from the myth that kept us down so many years
Everything erased, exactly how it was before the golden age
 
Before the golden age


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Ep. 2: Song “When I Was Young” (Influenced by REM)

This one dates back to long, long ago when I was in high school. It’s over 10 years old and now I’m finally getting around to recording it! It’s about the time when you are a kid and anything is possible. I’m trying to cling to as much of that curious spirit as much as I can. It’s heavily influenced by what I was listening to at the time: REM and Oasis.

I wanted some drums in the recording but I didn’t have a set available so I recorded myself played brushes on a suitcase for a snare drum sound. The rest of the song is filled out with two vocal tracks, acoustic and electric guitars, bass and and a soft organ part.

Lyrics:

When I was young, things used to be so easy
I never had to worry about a thing
When I was young, I used to have crazy dreams
Like I could fly a rocket into space

Well don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, I’m on my knees

Cause I don’t want to be another person afraid to see
That what we are is what we’ll always be
And I don’t want to see another day where I have to be
Something that I know I can not be, I guess we’ll see

When I young, I looked up to everything
Cause everything seemed wonderful to be
When I was young, I went for walks in the dark
To see if there was something in the trees

Well don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, my love
Don’t leave me now, I’m on my knees

Cause I don’t want to be another person afraid to see
That what we are is what we’ll always be
And I don’t want to see another day where I have to be
Something that I know I can not be, I guess we’ll see

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Ep. 1: Song “4th of July” (Influenced by Pinback)

I’m starting off with a project called “50 Songs in 50 Weeks.” Now as the name implies, I will record an original song once a week for 50 weeks straight. Some of these will be old songs I’ve had kicking around for a few years – many of which are only half written. Others will be brand new songs that I write from scratch. I’m hoping there will be a lot of variety in the different genres that I explore.

This first song is called “4th of July.” It’s one of those songs I wrote a few years ago. I jammed on  it a few times with my band at the time, Declaration, but it never really stuck. Since I don’t have access to a drum set right now, I used a drum machine loop, which is something new for me. To enhance the beat, I added a tambourine, a shaker and sleigh bells. I doubled the guitar part with a clean electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. I also double tracked the vocals. I patterned the sound for this after the band Pinback.

Lyrically, the song is about celebrating the fleeting moments. As a kid, I thought back to the all the different fourth of july’s I’ve experience – the parades, and picnics, and firework shows – and as much as I enjoy it, it starts to feel a little bit routine and expected and I guess I get a little restless. So this is kind of me imagining myself, in midst of everyone else celebrating, just sort of taking off and doing my own thing.

Lyrics:

The bright lights, the explosions in the sky
All the comfort of a picnic on a warm summer evening in July

A parade marches down the street
All the people exchanging friendly greetings, rearranging the order

Well I’m leaving, on the 4th of July,
On the 4th of July, I’m leaving

Wooden stands, all the children bumming quarters off their parents
Sipping cold lemonade from a paper cup, it’s so sweet

Well we’re broke, we spent that last $20 on explosives
Now we’re wandering around every corner of their town
Looking for newer forms of entertainment

Well I’m leaving, on the 4th of July,

On the 4th of July, I’m leaving
 
Then I came to the next town over
All the kids in the city, they were pretty tired of the disorder
 
All the pain of cleaning up the decorations,
Well I guess it went well so we can bottle up and sell it to the next town
Well I’m leaving

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