Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Strange New Endeavor



For a long time now, I've been writing songs. I get tired of repeatedly stating the obvious, "I'm not a musician." "I know I can't sing well." I'm tired of those things taking precedence over my desire to create something different. Plenty of people who don't have a desirable singing voice create beautiful songs, and I'd like to become one of them. I'm looking into creating some simple music for the ten or more songs I've written, because I'm not going to stop writing them any time soon. I just wrote a new song yesterday. These songs come from a place deep within my heart and soul, and I want them to become something more than melodies in my head I sing when alone.

"The Cat and the Wolf" is a song I wrote recently and wanted to try recording. It's a very low quality recording, but I tried to make it sound like I was in a cave near the ocean. Mainly to mask the low quality of my microphone. I created and posted it last Sunday, and I'm not allowing the response to dampen my spirits. I've showed it to many musicians and friends, and only a handful had anything positive to say about it. I'm not entirely sure what they were expecting from someone who isn't a singer and can't play an instrument -- but the response was mostly bland and indifferent. Some people were very helpful and gave me a lot of tips to help me improve (you know who you are). The people who did seem interested in collaborating with me, were not people I can work well with, or they were clearly wanting something else out of me. Whatever that "else" may have been, it ruins the possibility for it to be a professional artistic collaboration. All I want is someone passionate, intelligent, and who views this purely as an artistic exchange. Apparently, that is more difficult than I realized. So I've decided to try and do this by myself. I'm ordering a higher quality microphone soon, and when I get it I'll be attempting to make a full length album. I'll attempt making some simplistic music, adding ambient sounds, and harmonizing with myself to make the album as atmospheric as I can manage.

If the end result is not well received, and no one likes it - I really don't mind. At least I'll know I did the entire thing myself, and I didn't let anything get in the way of the vision I have for this.

Lyrics to "The Cat and the Wolf" :

You’re not the same boy you once were.
You’re a snake in the sheets.
You’re a wolf in the dark.
And you whisper - “Honey, honey don’t cry..”
But you tore me open, tore - tore me open just to taste my blood.
And you can bet, in these tears you’re gonna drown.

Dark, dark raven.
Cold, cold-blooded killer.
You’re a scratch on my mind.
You’re a hole in my heart.

Well, I’m not the same girl you once held.
I am a cat in the night.
I am no longer a kitten.
I’m not yowling, no - I’m not yowling for a second chance.
I’m prowling the woods, and seeing the lies - seeing the ties that all but ruined you.

Dark, dark romance.
Cold, cold-blooded betrayal.
You’re a scratch on my mind.
You’re a hole in my heart.

The cat and the wolf..
Will they come to blows?
Or will they settle the score with a sigh and a kiss?
If I run from you, you’ll just catch me and hold me down.
And then you whisper, “Honey, honey don’t fight me.”
And I won’t..
‘Cause your claws are digging in deep.

It’s a dark, dark reason..
For cold, cold-blooded murder.
You’re a scratch on my mind.
You’re a hole in my heart.
You’re a hole inside my heart.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Songs of Eerie Nostalgia Eight - Elliott Smith "Roman Candle"


The comfort, familiarity, and solace Elliott Smith's music has given me over the last six years is something I can't really describe. I felt like his music was there for me when I needed it the most, and even though he has been gone from this world for over ten years now, his music will resonate forever in the hearts of those who cherish it. Just the sound of his voice, and the intricate, trademark notes he plucks at the guitar are like little pieces of me, and when I hear it I feel in tune with parts of myself only his music connects to..

There is a part of me that wants to drive alone in the rain; the sky swallowed up by nothing but gray, until the headlights of the other cars look brighter than they should in daylight. A part of me that feels isolated, yet strangely comfortable inside that solitude. Though the strangest part of me Elliott has always connected to is the part of me that feels comfortable in my own skin. Which is almost painfully ironic, seeing as how he was a man who never was. He was consumed with self-hate, until he eventually took his own life in 2003. I find it achingly beautiful that the art he created out of that immeasurable pain can somehow bring comfort and strength to other people. That concept is the only reason why I create art at all.

"Roman Candle" was recorded by Elliott in '93 while he was still in Heatmiser, though it was released in '94. This song has always resonated with me, ever since the very first time I first heard it. It reminds me of a time when I felt trapped between two separate lives I was forced to live. A life where I felt like a prisoner, a puppet - and a life where I felt free to become my own person. Elliott connected deeply with me during some of the worst moments of that time. Times where I'd never felt so hopeless in my life. His music was always like a friend, holding my hand, especially all those days where I was driving alone in the rain.. Days that somehow feel precious, despite the emptiness, because they were days I eventually left behind.

No musician has ever been able to connect with me on the same level. Maybe just as intensely, though in different ways - but in falling in love with Elliott Smith's music, there has always been a part of me that feels like I knew him. Like his soul was immortalized in the pain and beauty of the sound, and every time I find comfort in it, it somehow feels like not being alone..


I wanted to include this video for "The Biggest Lie", as it's one of my favorite songs Elliott ever made. The footage was taken at the wall featured on the cover of his album "Figure 8", after he died in 2003. The response from the people is heartbreaking, but what I connect to the most is the person who wrote, "It wasn't music as much as medicine." It couldn't be any more true. Rest in peace, Elliott. You won't be forgotten.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Love's an excuse to get hurt..


.. As Conor Oberst put it in, “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”. A song by Bright Eyes I loved in High School in the early 2000's, and still do a little to this day, even if only for nostalgic reasons. I loved that song for it’s eccentricity, but mostly for its brutal honesty :

But you.. but you..
You write such pretty words.
But life's no story book.
Love's an excuse to get hurt,
And to hurt.
"Do you like to hurt?"
"I do.. I do.."
"Then hurt me."


Do I think people intentionally seek out love in order to get hurt? No, and I don’t really think Conor Oberst was saying that exactly either. When we love anything we are placing ourselves in a state of immense vulnerability. A state where we are willingly chaining ourselves to a set of train tracks, and praying no train ever comes.

..and the thought of it makes my heart ache..

When we love something we’re signing a contract with ourselves, stating we understand and accept the inevitable, soul-crushing blows in exchange for beautiful, often fleeting moments of happiness. Moments we almost always dive into with mirth and vigor despite knowing they will eventually end.. And it brings me to that cliche, timeless saying - “Is it better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all?” Yes. I believe so. With my whole heart, but it doesn’t dull the sting of knowing nothing we share with another human being will last forever.

I cherish memories. Those can never die. I would never trade anything beautiful I’ve ever shared with anyone, not even if it meant I wouldn’t feel the pain of the end, or the fear of the inevitable.. But does it hurt? Always. Because no matter how beautiful something is, it will never last. It will never endure as we want it to, no matter what we say. No matter what we do. No matter how much heart, energy, time, love, and passion we place into it. It will die. Just as our bodies eventually wither and fade from the passing of time..

This is why I usually stray away from creating anything meaningful with other people, and perhaps this is a bit too candid to share here, but I will anyway.. I withdraw into myself in order to hide from the collapse, and when I don’t... When I choose to stay out in the open and risk that pain.. I either regret it, or live in constant fear of the ground suddenly falling out from under my feet - and when it does, those moments, words, memories, and hours I spent on someone go drifting away into the void. I struggle then with the idea that everything was meaningless. The nagging question returns... “Was it worth it?” I always want to believe it was, but who wouldn’t? Who wants to admit they were throwing pieces of their heart at walls of stone?

I would resign myself entirely to the isolation I claim to find so valuable. Only if I could. Yet I can’t stop loving people. I can’t stop wanting to share my soul, and experience the souls of others. Most of all, I can’t stop chaining myself to those train tracks and hoping, in vain, for the best.

Even when I already hear the horn blaring in the distance..
Even when I can already feel the distant tremble of the end barreling down the tracks..

Like a fool, I so often stay there..
Eyes closed.
Heart open.

Until the collision breaks another piece of me I can’t get back..

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Messages

I sat down tonight with my journal, and I don't know why, but I just started writing messages to many different people. Mostly people I haven't talked to in a long time.. I find it extremely therapeutic to release tiny thoughts onto paper like this, because there's always something more personal about a hand-written message. Even if it's one the person will never read..