Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Ordinary Day

This is a shadow for SpinTunes #4 Round 2. The challenge:
I Heart U: Write a musical Valentine's Day card to someone OTHER than your significant other. (2 minute minimum) (your submission is due February 12th 11:59PM)


Demo track. I'll replace it with something better, as soon I get around to it.
Plan A fell though. Maybe I'll work up to a Plan B.

Meeting a challenge often depends on how you interpret it. This one has a time-based loophole, so for this challenge, we decided to write a song to someone who's not your significant other YET.

We chose to tell the story of a somewhat emotionally dysfunctional person who is pursuing her (or his) infatuation. We deliberately left the lyrics gender-neutral. It works equally well sung by a man or woman. We were also deliberately unforthcoming with information about the recipient of the "card"... it's just, "you".  He can't generally approach the target of his affection, but Valentine's day presents an opportunity. And he imagines that if only he can send this card, then his affections will be returned, and his life will become wonderful. There's a little shrug after these imaginings, with a barely hopeful, "it could happen."

I wanted to produce some music for this that is more recent, modern, and younger-sounding than our usual stuff. So I deliberately for Taylor Swift's sound. This is particularly applied to the last line of each verse. Listening to it afterward I think I maybe got a little Taio Cruz in there, too. The piano style is intentionally intended to emulate a first or second year student... basically just chords with a minimum of embellishment, with a very heavy hand on the bass as the root is played.

Despite the modern style, we borrowed the second-person delivery from The Beatles. It's my theory that part of the appeal of The Beatles' songs in the early '60s was due to their copious use of second-person pronouns... "She Loves YOU", "I Wanna Hold YOUR Hand", etc. In an age where most songs were written to somebody by name, this allowed their fans to imagine that each Beatles song was written to each of them.

The verses are by William, and originally were wrapped around a completely different chorus, but I thought we could meet the challenge a little better. So I replaced the first of the two pre-choruses, and also the chorus. The second pre-chorus and everything else is his. Sometimes William surprises me with a unique turn of phrase. Take this:

Smiling like you're knowing
Many secrets unrevealed

This is a rather poetic way of getting around the cliche'd use of "Mona Lisa smile". I like it.

Performance-wise, I wanted a sort of detached quality to it (especially with lines like "You're there again"). I've noticed a peculiar sort of... ennui, I suppose... among the current crop of teenagers. There's a disconnect between their actions and displayed emotions. The most exciting things fall upon deadened nerves. As good an example as any is in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World". Scott orders a package from Amazon just to get a chance to talk to the delivery girl. He goes directly from the computer to sitting cross-legged on the floor, facing the door. His roommate asks, "Are you waiting for the package you just ordered?" Scott glances over his shoulder and replies, "Maybe." This detachment is what I mean by "somewhat emotionally dysfunctional", and that it's apparently shared by both characters is reflected in the line, "your quiet cool reaction to it all". I wanted to leave that open enough so that the song can be enjoyed by anyone, but there's a reason that the singer doesn't act on any particular day of the year. The point here is that great emotional depth is not required for singing this song properly. Hitting the notes and the tempo are. It should be deliberately paced, with the exception of the long rests. 

The "Conversation Hearts" reference is solely there for my wife, who loves the things (especially the white ones). She sent me out on February 15th to buy bags of the stuff at half price, and they made their way into the song.

No Ordinary Day
by Dr Lindyke

I've thought of you a million times
I think you've never left my mind
And now here on Saint Valentine's
You're there again

I picture you as there with me
On the sands of a shore of a distant sea
Far from this boring destiny
We're living in

Any other day
I second guess and fumble 
What I want to say
And find it hard to start
But now's a time
Of roses red and holidays
And "PLEASE BE MINE"
On Conversation Hearts

So I pretend it's not some ordinary day
Where you won't look my way
And I --
Once again find myself tongue-tied
And I must believe
Though I find it very hard
If I send you this card
You'll read it
And fondly think of me...
Then maybe...
We can meet each other
Maybe we'll go out together
Maybe we'll find common ground together...

(shrugs) It could happen

I picture you as there with me
On the sands of a shore of a distant sea
Far from this boring destiny
We're living in

And through the lonely doldrums
You're a gentle breeze blowing
Smiling like you're knowing
Many secrets unrevealed
And I don't understand
How you got me going
And your quiet cool
Reaction to it all

So I pretend it's not some ordinary day
Where you won't look my way
And I --
Once again find myself tongue-tied
And I must believe
Though I find it very hard
If I send you this card
You'll read it
And fondly think of me...
Then maybe...
We can love each other
Maybe we'll move in together
Maybe we'll find happiness forever...

(shrugs) It could happen

3 comments:

JoAnn Abbott said...

You sound 30 years younger here! Well, what I assume you sounded like 30 years ago. You say Taylor Swift- I was thinking of a blend of Caleb, Travis Norris (when happy) and Graham maybe.
It is very sweet.
Are you going to put all your shadows on the same album for download, or should I grab them as they are posted here? Tempted to go for the latter, easier to find albums though...

Dave Leigh said...

I have an album called "shadows" that I put shadows in. Every so often I do something different to them as well. For instance, I just added drums to this, poorly.

Graham said...

This was quite lovely!
@JoAnn Like moi? Hm...
-Graham

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