In this episode, I break apart a song called, “Not Easy.” This comes from my album Starting Over released back in August of 2022.
This song is influenced by the band, The Weakerthans, particularly their song “Sun In An Empty Room.”
I like the lead guitar line a lot and the way the other instruments keep things simple and stay out of the way. I also like the mellow but melancholy feel this song has. So, I tried to borrow some of those different elements when I made my song.
To start, here’s the original voice memo recording I made while I was still writing the song. The words are just gibberish phrases while I tried to work out the melody.
I eventually came back to the voice memo and finished writing the song. When it came time to record, I started with guitars. First, there’s the acoustic guitar. Then an electric guitar with a little bit of overdrive emphasizing the lead line. Then there’s a bass part that I keep pretty simple to help ground the song.
For the drums, I took samples from the Circles Drum Library and programmed my own part. I tried to mostly keep it simple but throw in some occasional accents and fills.
One of the last things I figured out was the guitar solo. I took a lot of stabs at it but it kept feeling too busy to me. Then I remember the solo from the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s song, Scar Tissue. I like how breezy and effortless it sounds.
So I tried to do something similar with my own guitar solo. It’s one of those situations where less it more.
Lyrically, this song is about trying to come to terms with your place in the world and getting perspective. Like a lot of people, I have big dreams and ambitions. I used to turn to people like Steve Jobs as a model of accomplishing big things. He was quoted as saying he wanted to “put a dent in the universe.” I’ve certainly had that desire but now I’m questioning the sentiment. It’s made me feel like if I haven’t accomplished something big, then my life hasn’t been worthwhile.
There’s a line in the 1st verse where I reference that quote and say, “Did I ever matter? Did I make a dent? Now I’m second guessing, what it ever meant”
I’ve had to learn to let go of that notion, be okay with where I’m at, and focus on the things I have control over. So in the chorus of the song, I say “It’s not easy to see the forest from the trees,” which is about trying to get yourself out of a rut and gain some perspective.
As one of my friends, Kimberly Knighton wrote in a song, “You don’t have to save the world. Just leave it better than you found it.”
Also, This song is available to license for your projects like podcasts and videos. Find it at archesaudio.com or click the link in the description. Use the promo code “songoftheweek” at checkout to get 50% off your purchase of this song until February 12th.
Also, for listeners of this podcast, Arches Audio is offering 10% off your purchase of the other songs in the music library, as well as any services, including audio editing, artwork, and a new course on podcasting. Visit archesaudio.com and use promo code “makingmusic” at checkout.