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Believe - worth developing?


Oswlek

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Hey all, I have an older tune that recently popped into my consciousness again. As songs often do, it was something I was excited about intially but soured on. Now that it has resurfaced I'm kind of digging it and so I'm passing it through here to see if it is worth the time. Of course any general critiquing or direction on structure and lyric is welcome.

 

If I do build this up, it will be an anthem style tune, not unlike a lot of Bee's stuff. As always, please disregard the sketchy vocals.

 

http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/artist/song_details/11372074

 

 

I won't sit by

Watch this river run dry

Tears won't quench when the ground is spent

I won't sit by


Dark times are at hand

Smoke rising from this wasteland

Better get your story straight as daylight fades

Darkness is at hand


I'm reeling, no feeling

But I believe


I won't stand still

Let them do their will

They can push me down, kick me around

I won't stand still


I am aching, I'm breaking

But I believe


Twisting and turning

Yet I'm alive


I believe

 

 

Here is the background story, copied from youtube. Thanks for any and all feedback.

 

 

"Believe" is an anthem of sorts for me. I am a humanist by nature and prefer to assume the best in people, which has gotten me in trouble at times with those who didn't deserve my trust. Despite this, I choose not to alter my stance. I do not want to go through life expecting the worst of every person I come across, scars or no. I believe in the power of faith and in the goodness of humanity. I believe.

 

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Yes!

 

I really like the image of a river running dry and tears not quenching the spent ground. I'd try and continue that on into the next verse. Maybe make a clearer reference that the river being dry is what caused this to now be a wasteland?

 

Getting the story straight as daylight fades seems a bit out of place unless this is supposed to be based around Christianity or you need to have a story ready to tell the lizard overlords. Either way, you would need to spend more time addressing why you said this, but I think the piece would work without the reference.

 

"no feeling" feels like you were trying to find 3 syllables that rhymed with I'm reeling. Given the cool picture you've laid out, I would think you'd be feeling more. If you are numb because of the extreme circumstances, I think you need to address that and say why before you say no feeling.

 

Last thing. Who is the "them" that do their will and the "they" that can push you down? I think some specifics here would help strengthen the story even further.

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Rhinno, you've clearly been bro'ed by Oswlek. You got some sort of backstage pass to his private vids?

 

 

Sounds kinky, but no.

 

I was just going on the lyric.

 

I had that typed up before I realized the vid wasn't working and he wanted us to "ignore for now."

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Yes!


I really like the image of a river running dry and tears not quenching the spent ground. I'd try and continue that on into the next verse. Maybe make a clearer reference that the river being dry is what caused this to now be a wasteland?


Getting the story straight as daylight fades seems a bit out of place unless this is supposed to be based around Christianity or you need to have a story ready to tell the lizard overlords. Either way, you would need to spend more time addressing why you said this, but I think the piece would work without the reference.


"no feeling" feels like you were trying to find 3 syllables that rhymed with I'm reeling. Given the cool picture you've laid out, I would think you'd be feeling more. If you are numb because of the extreme circumstances, I think you need to address that and say why before you say no feeling.


Last thing. Who is the "them" that do their will and the "they" that can push you down? I think some specifics here would help strengthen the story even further.

 

 

That second verse and the "no feeling" were two of the spots I felt needed help the most. The "they" isn't supposed to be too important, just standing up against an opposing force.

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The "they" isn't supposed to be too important, just standing up against an opposing force.

 

 

I get that, but why not make it important?

 

You have a cool writing style. From what I've seen, you usually err on the side of using fewer words. With that particular delivery style it becomes more crucial to make the most out of each word. In a sense, you have to say more with less.

 

I think replacing the nondescript personal pronouns with some words that extend your metaphor will go along way towards keeping the story going, which in turn will make for more impact when you sing "I am aching, I'm breaking, But I believe"

 

As an example, you could be a farmer in the dust bowl believing rain will come. You don't have to say that explicitly, but one word could imply that with out changing your already established structure.

 

I won't stand still

Let the bank do its will

They can push me down, kick me around

I won't stand still

 

I could see how referencing a bank in a song of this nature might bring unwanted baggage to the table given the current political climate.

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Okay, first of all, the guitar and vocal (yes, the vocal) are fine. The tune is solid.

 

So I'll hone in on the lyric...

 

I won't sit by

Watch this river run dry

 

Good so far.

 

Tears won't quench when the ground is spent

 

That's a bit of a mixed metaphor. Quench relates to thirst, which is fine, but doesn't seem to relate to the following line. And what does that line -- "when the ground is spent" -- mean, exactly? I mean, I get the general idea, that people (namely corporations, who, according to the current Supreme Court, are legally considered to be people) tend to take resources from the land (the ground?) until they're all gone; then they move on to the next parcel. But that's not clear, especially with the lead-in line about thirst.

 

Is it the singer's thirst? The ground's thirst? What are the tears supposed to be quenching? And how do their inability to quench whatever that is relate to the ground becoming spent? Plus I'm not sure this is a song about eco-awareness, which these lines seem to imply.

 

These are tough things to lay out with only a few words.

 

This may seem to be a niggling little detail, of no concern to you or anyone else. And that's fine. I have no problem with that. I just like it when a line either really nails the idea or else is vague in an artful and intriguing way. This lies somewhere in between (IMO) b/c of the mixed metaphor.

 

I won't sit by

 

Dark times are at hand

Smoke rising from this wasteland

Better get your story straight as daylight fades

 

I don't get this at all. The lead-in line -- smoke rising from this wasteland -- seems to denote a tragedy of 9/11 proportions. How does getting one's story straight prevent the smoke from rising above the wasteland? Again, a mixed metaphor, if you will.

 

Also (again), this may not be a problem for anyone but me. So take it for what it's worth.

Darkness is at hand

 

I'm reeling, no feeling

 

This, I like just fine. We do tend to go numb in the face of a shocking event. That's real, that's right on.

 

But I believe

 

There you go. That's what people do. Beliefs are a knee-jerk response to shock.

 

I won't stand still

Let them do their will

They can push me down, kick me around

I won't stand still

 

That's good. That's strong writing. I like that a lot.

 

I am aching, I'm breaking

But I believe

Twisting and turning

Yet I'm alive

 

I believe

 

This is all right on. It hits the nail on the head, emotionally.

 

Good work overall. Glad you resurrected this one...

 

LCK

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I think replacing the nondescript personal pronouns with some words that extend your metaphor will go along way towards keeping the story going, which in turn will make for more impact when you sing "I am aching, I'm breaking, But I believe"


As an example, you could be a farmer in the dust bowl believing rain will come. You don't have to say that explicitly, but one word could imply that with out changing your already established structure.

 

 

I usually take this line of reasoning myself, but I think getting into specifics may rob this song of its power.

 

As I said above, I think there are two mixed metaphors to clear up, and that's about it.

 

LCK

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"Believe" is an anthem of sorts for me. I am a humanist by nature and prefer to assume the best in people, which has gotten me in trouble at times with those who didn't deserve my trust. Despite this, I choose not to alter my stance. I do not want to go through life expecting the worst of every person I come across, scars or no. I believe in the power of faith and in the goodness of humanity. I believe.

 

I'm glad you provided the backstory, because on first reading of the lyric, I got a different direction.

The term 'I believe' tends to be linked with the Judao / Christian concept of a deity.

 

I like the song, but I wonder if there could be some word or line linked with the 'I believe' to imply a humanist faith, rather than a religious faith.

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"Believe" is an anthem of sorts for me. I am a humanist by nature and prefer to assume the best in people, which has gotten me in trouble at times with those who didn't deserve my trust. Despite this, I choose not to alter my stance. I do not want to go through life expecting the worst of every person I come across, scars or no. I believe in the power of faith and in the goodness of humanity. I believe.


I'm glad you provided the backstory, because on first reading of the lyric, I got a different direction.

The term 'I believe' tends to be linked with the Judao / Christian concept of a deity.


I like the song, but I wonder if there could be some word or line linked with the 'I believe' to imply a humanist faith, rather than a religious faith.

 

 

That's not a bad idea for a 2nd verse rewrite, which it seems we all agree needs to happen.

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I really like the lyrics. The vagueness works for me. I agree with LCK that trying to inject a specific story likely would kill the vibe of this song. As it stands right now, the listener has quite a bit of interpretive freedom. Some likely will go for the Judeo-Christian idea, others won't. That's the beauty of a vague song - you get to appeal to a wide variety of people.

 

I do have two criticisms to offer on the music:

 

I found the verse melody to be quite predictable; it follows the chord progression pretty closely. It's not a bad melody, and it definitely helps establish the mood of the song. It's just that that melodic ground has been covered very thoroughly. I sang that exact melody in my head while the intro was playing, before hearing you sing it for the first time. I'm not sure how to fix that, or even if it needs to be fixed; as I said, it certainly works for establishing the mood. Just thought I'd point it out.

 

This is going to sound contradictory after the above comment, but I found the harmonic and melodic shift in the initial part of the B section (I'm reeling, no feeling) to be too unpredictable. Maybe it's just personal preference, but for me, the music in that part of the song went too far away from the harmonic structure that was set up in the verses.

 

I do think the song is worth developing.

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I love this lots and lots. Your melody is just freaking awesome.

 

I have a couple of suggestions. The bit about humanist vs. spiritual regarding "them". With a word you could bring it down to earth and the here and now. Something like "my brothers". Your fellow humanoids.

 

And... those sections with "I am reeling". You got "I'm reeling, no feeling". That just feels like too much info that doesn't really mean anything. No feeling? I think you have plenty of feeling. So it doesn't ring true and feels more song place keeper for something you heard in your head. But I think the tune would breath better by just eliminating that extra phrase anyway. So maybe:

 

 

I am reeling...

But I believe

 

I won't stand still

While my brothers do their will

They can push me down, kick me around

I won't stand still

 

I am breaking...

But I believe

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I love this lots and lots. Your melody is just freaking awesome.


I have a couple of suggestions. The bit about humanist vs. spiritual regarding "them". With a word you could bring it down to earth and the here and now. Something like "my brothers". Your fellow humanoids.


And... those sections with "I am reeling". You got "I'm reeling, no feeling". That just feels like too much info that doesn't really mean anything. No feeling? I think you have plenty of feeling. So it doesn't ring true and feels more song place keeper for something you heard in your head. But I think the tune would breath better by just eliminating that extra phrase anyway. So maybe:



I am reeling...

But I believe


I won't stand still

While my brothers do their will

They can push me down, kick me around

I won't stand still


I am breaking...

But I believe

 

 

This is pretty good. I do tend to write as if the only melodic instrument is my voice, which can be problematic. Instead of the latter part I could add a riff on something and that might work.

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LCK, here is some background on the lines:

 

 

Tears won't quench when the ground is spent

 

 

This is essentially trying to say that no amount of grief or lament can fix something once it reaches a certain point. The wet tears can't moisten and revive the dry riverbed. I wasn't making a political or agricultural statement here, just trying to paint of picture of loss and pain. I actually like this one, so I hope this explanation makes things clearer.

 

 

Smoke rising from this wasteland

 

 

This was something of a throwaway to rhyme with "hand" trying to convey an ominous tone. It has nothing to do with 911, in my head I imagined a post-apocalypse but even that wasn't necessarily a target. I'm neither married to this or "hard times are at hand".

 

 

Better get your story straight as daylight fades

 

 

This line wasn't meant to imply that having your story straight fixes anything about the wasteland. It is more of a "get your things in order because hard times' a comin'." This is another line I hope can still work.

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Tears won't quench when the ground is spent

 

This is essentially trying to say that no amount of grief or lament can fix something once it reaches a certain point. The wet tears can't moisten and revive the dry riverbed. I wasn't making a political or agricultural statement here, just trying to paint of picture of loss and pain. I actually like this one, so I hope this explanation makes things clearer.

 

Okay, then try this: Tears can't quench what the ground has spent.

 

It's not ideal, but it's a little better, I think.

 

Smoke rising from this wasteland

 

The only thing I would change is "wasteland."

 

Some other kind of land? Smoke rising + wasteland = apocalypse.

 

Better get your story straight as daylight fades

 

This line wasn't meant to imply that having your story straight fixes anything about the wasteland. It is more of a "get your things in order because hard times' a comin'." This is another line I hope can still work.

 

The trouble is, this line sort of implies that you're telling someone to give you a more convincing lie.

 

If I think of a substitute, I'll let you know. Gotta go now.

 

LCK

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