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Nothing You Can Say or Do


Lee Knight

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Or maybe, Nothing's Gonna Change My Mind.

 

I had an idea... for the structure... of a song. It's a weird thought but I kinda like the idea. Backtrack, I was listening to Terry Gross interview a Broadway musical actor, I didn't get his name, but he talked of a story that was told in reverse.

 

Structure.

 

So I thought of the movie Memento. Guy Pearce has amnesia and remembers the mystery by reading his recently inked tattoos and he puts it together in reverse. Or something like that. So... I got to thinking, wouldn't it be cool to write a tune with a predesigned structure. Yes, it would. So, how about:

 

Nothing's Gonna Change My Mind

 

V1

Timeline: Today. A man of experience tells why he is jaded and more than willing to screw the other guy to get ahead. It's the way of the world. Ideals are for schmucks. Don't be a loser, kid.

 

C1

And... nothing you can say or do's gonna change my mind

 

V2

Timeline: A decade ago. Same man describes that while it's important to have ideals and a vision, sometimes, and only sometimes, when it's right, it's maybe OK to give in and compromise your ideals. To, you know, serve the greater whole or something.

 

C2

And... nothing you can say or do's gonna change my mind

 

V3

Timeline: Fresh out of school! 20 years ago. Man! I got vision. These old geezers are seeing things wrong. It's old school selfish live for yourself and screw the other guy mentality. And I'm going to shake it UP! A got a vision burning in me!! A true... selfless... vision!

 

C3

And... nothing you can say or do's gonna change my mind

 

 

What do you think?

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It might not jive with your political views and would certainly get some people worked up, but you could put this in the context of the Occupy Wallstreet movement.

 

Or if you really wanted to make this one sting, beatles loving, baby boomer big change talkers becoming the establishment.

 

Or a leader who promises change to get into an elected office, but then once elected he learns why his predecessors decisions were made, his decisions start looking just like theirs.

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Nice idea and good structure. :thu:

The timeline structure would work in reverse as well (but I guess you've already considered that).

 

I write quite a few social commentary type songs that involve the loss of idealism along the way. But I try to be ironic in a kindly Ray Davies sort of way.

Probably because we have all lost something as we wade through the vicissitudes of the mundane. (I think I may have just created a title for a short story - yet another for the list that will never get written).

 

So you're writing my kind of song - I will be watching with interest (and will try to be kind and helpful). :cool:

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The idea that people sell out or otherwise let go of their youthful ideas is one that hits home, I'm sure for a lot of people. So, concept wise, I think it's ripe to be addressed in the song.

 

The reserve chronology is a fresh take.

 

Have you thought about a bridge, just before the last chorus, which ties all three ages together? Doesn't have to be lines of text; just something that puts the sense of time perspective together in one digestible nugget.

 

I am thinking back to Cat Stevens father and son. In that song, there is the father talking, and then the son. Or said another way, old and young. It always intrigued me how Cat made the voice of the old person sound mature and the young person, young. There was some change in the vocals, and it sounds like they adjusted the mix. The energy of the song is slower and more layed back when the father is talking. Then becomes more energetic for the young son. And I just love how he cranks up the intensity of the youth towards the end of the song.

 

And so I am wondering two things: if the general idea of changing the dynamics of the song, through the various ages portrayed, might make sense and (2) What kind of "wrap up" can you do with that, just as Cat did.

 

If he had done that song with the same voice and same instrumentation all the way through I don't think it would be as compelling.

 

My 2 cents.

 

[video=youtube;Q29YR5-t3gg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q29YR5-t3gg

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It's funny Rick, I've been on a bit of a Cat bender. And that song has crossed my radar recently. One of the most essential things Stevens did to differentiate between the father and the son was the octave he sang in. The intensity too, but intensity was facilitated by the octave. Simple and clever. The effect is heightened in the 2nd verse by removing the drums for the father and then bring them back in for the son, including dramatic breaks with that energy.

 

Basically a call and response but using some very cool and dramatic simple tricks to bring the contrast home.

 

But where's the wrap up you're speaking of? I'm not getting that. Cat's structure is simple beyond simple. There is no bridge. There is no chorus. It's really an AB instrumental AB. Simple.

 

_____

 

 

My challenge will be conveying era. I don't know if it can be done. Simple is alway better and I'm not sure there is a simple way to do this. I mean, I can make a lyric work, but will the listener grasp the ironic shift of era from present day cynicism to the same man's young idealism 20 years before. In reverse chronology? I don't know so much so that I don't know if I'll try.

 

I'll today if I can blast out a 1st draft of some ideas that've been rattling about in the noggin. One thing, I plan to take a cue from Stevens and not get finger pointy or political. This isn't about "them" it's about the collective "us". It is too often what we, our race, humanity does. It loses its idealism for "realism". And that might be a smart thing. Survival. An it might be lazy and fearful too.

 

But it's not them... it's us.

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This has the makings of a very scary song. Please, don't make me think about the ways my core beliefs have mutated to the point that they would be unrecognizable to the younger me.

 

I think it's a great idea. One caution, as soon as I read 'Nothin's gonna change my mind', the Beatles' ''Across the Universe" started playing in my head (and now it won't stop).

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But where's the wrap up you're speaking of? I'm not getting that. Cat's structure is simple beyond simple. There is no bridge. There is no chorus. It's really an AB instrumental AB. Simple.

 

 

The wrap up to me, is the last two verses, one by father and one by son. Although they are sung sequentially, the "feel and intensity" of the song ramps up for both of these, and to me, adds a connection between them. May be a little hooky, but that's how I hear it.

 

Rick

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But where's the wrap up you're speaking of? I'm not getting that. Cat's structure is simple beyond simple. There is no bridge. There is no chorus. It's really an AB instrumental AB. Simple.

 

 

The wrap up to me, is the last two verses, one by father and one by son. Although they are sung sequentially, the "feel and intensity" of the song ramps up for both of these, and to me, adds a connection between them. May be a little hooky, but that's how I hear it.

 

Rick

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The wrap up to me, is the last two verses, one by father and one by son. Although they are sung sequentially, the "feel and intensity" of the song ramps up for both of these, and to me, adds a connection between them. May be a little hooky, but that's how I hear it.


Rick

 

 

And I love it. That song, arrangement, production and performance are classic. Yeah, it a great example of what I'm trying to do. The way he does it won't work for this story... but yeah, I get ya.

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:) Yeah. Sort of like the Bill & Ted's hoodly guitar shred flashback thing.

 

It might be as simple as 1st verse You said, "blah, blah"

 

2nd verse, 10 years ago you said:

 

3rd verse, 20 years ago you said:

 

Then the story is told by and large first person but with an understanding that this is "quotes". And the timeline gets spelled out in a direct manner. And maybe I use a vibraslap under "10 years ago you told me..." Or a Bill & Ted hoodooly-doodooly-hoodooly-doodooly

 

:). But yeah, good idea.

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