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First lyrics post... any opinions???


Kerouac

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Hey folks! I post in here occasionally to chime in on songwriting subjects, but I don't believe I've ever posted anything of mine on here before. Anyway, as I'm taking a brief medical hiatus from work, I've decided to really work hard on my music as I've been incredibly busy between the "day job" and my new position at our local music academy, and feel that my music has definitely been suffering, This is so far a definite work in progress as I only have a verse and a chorus for it. I'll go ahead and paste it in, then explain a little about how it's been written:

 

A Pale Horse Soliloquy

 

Ring around the rosie

Bottle full of gin

Her ashes in my worn back pocket

Just another night of sin

Cigarette behind my ear

How long will it take

To meet you there?

And if there's no rest for the wicked

Than I shan't ever sleep again

 

And when she sings her song

A pale horse will take us away

Far away from this hell

Where we dwell in the ground

And time just makes our love decay

 

 

The first four and last two lines of the verse were written probably three months ago or so. One of my jobs is as a server and I'm always writing down little ideas and themes on the back of dead checks and tickets. Tonight I added the line "Cigarette behind my ear/ How long will it take / To meet you there?" when I stumbled upon a chord progression for the song.

 

The chorus (marked in Italics) I also came up with tonight, but I came up with the title and the pale horse imagery this past weekend. Soliloquy has long been one of my favourite words, and I liked the idea of the pale horse right out of the Apocalypse, but in this case it has a more peaceful bent... to my mind at least. Also, this font/italic combination is how I do all my drafts that I enter onto the computer... my longhand books look quite different, but I developed my own notation for it as well.

 

Any-who, that's it for now. I have some doctor visits tomorrow, but hope that late afternoon/early evening I can continue work on the lyrics and maybe start recording the guitars. All praise or criticism is HONESTLY appreciated. Thanks for your time, and I can't wait to update!!!

 

-Andy Mclain

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The lines are evocative but they're not really forming a whole picture. In other words... I don't get the meaning of the song as a whole.

 

You seem to be talking about a failed relationship, but when you say "just another night of sin" it brings to mind a one night stand. It's a bit confusing, which makes the momentum stop and start... I'd take care that there's a "throughline" to follow.

 

Again, like I said, the lines are very evocative. I'd change the last line fo the verse to "if there's no rest for the weary then I'll never sleep again"... which plays into the existing idea better and has the benefit of additional irony.

 

Here's your lyric with a few minor tweaks --

 

Ring around the rosie

Bottle full of gin

Her ashes in my worn back pocket

These memories always win

Cigarette behind my ear

How long will it take

To meet you there?

And if there's no rest for the weary

Than I shan't ever sleep again

 

And when she sings her song

A pale horse will take us away

Far away from this hell

Where we dwell in the ground

And time just makes our love decay

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I just "got" the sin/wicked idea... try this, then...

 

Ring around the rosie

Bottle full of gin

Her ashes in my worn back pocket

To love her was a sin

Cigarette behind my ear

How long will it take

To meet you there?

And if there's no rest for the wicked

Than I shan't ever sleep again

 

I also just noticed the third person to second person shift within the verse. That's not exactly helping... it's confusing... it breaks the emotional throughline when the listener has to stop and figure out who's who in the song. Pronouns are tricky enough without shifting "she" to "you"... especially within the same verse. Dylan shifts perspective a lot, but not usually within the same verse. It tends to degrade the potency of the imagery, I think.

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Looks like a good start.

 

I get a pretty good picture of this guy, kinda desperate, kinda driven... all by sorrow and loss, looks like. Nice little details and images help paint the picture, the ashes in the pocket, cigarette behind the ear (a little extra connection there, too, which seems to help reinforce this burning/loss thing... one cigarette behind an ear... it implies it's the only one and you're saving it just a little longer before you smoke it).

 

BTW... seems like they often use a pale horse to pull the funeral caisson, don't they?

 

Looks like you're headed in the right direction, here.

 

 

Good luck with your health issues. Take care of yourself. Don't be like the character in your song. That's one of the reasons we write songs and stories... so we don't have to live them. ;)

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First thanks to both of you for your input. I'll keep in mind the shifting POV and think about a way I could keep the same feel without risking confusion of the listener.

 

To Dtob... I'm not really a fan of the "To love her was to sin" line. As the song progresses I'm definitely going to delve more into how tortured the narrator is and examine more his sins. I felt my original line is very important to where I see the song going... in the end I believe the song will have more to do with him than his lost love. I really do appreciate your comments though! :)

 

blue2blue... Thanks with the wishes on health issues. Unfortunately, I've already lived a bit of the song thus far, and I think there will be more of me in it before I'm done, but a little time off work and some help from family and friends will be a welcome respite.

 

Again, thanks y'all... I'll update this thread when I have more.

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I can't imagine the vocal or arrangement that would let "shan't" slip by me--nobody's said that in centuries, and I'm not sure it's due for a revival.

 

The first two lines have a strong early-to-mid Tom Waits vibe to them. That's probably good.

 

The problem that I have writing opaque lyrics like these are that I can't really get them to go anywhere--I just dance around the general idea and never tell a story. I'll be interested to see how you develop what you've got.

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I can't imagine the vocal or arrangement that would let "shan't" slip by me--nobody's said that in centuries, and I'm not sure it's due for a revival.


The first two lines have a strong early-to-mid Tom Waits vibe to them. That's probably good.


The problem that I have writing opaque lyrics like these are that I can't really get them to go anywhere--I just dance around the general idea and never tell a story. I'll be interested to see how you develop what you've got.

 

Haha... I hear you on the shan't thing, but I like dusting off curios vintage words instead of common vernacular when possible... it's one of my odd eccentricities :p

 

As for Tom Waits, HUGE fan here... being a younger guy, I didn't discover him until Mule Variations came out when I was in HS, but when I played it for my family was shocked to find out that my step-father had most of his albums already! I have a couple of Tom Waits covers I pull out if I need to extend a set, and they're usually Rain Dogs, Hang Down Your Head, Downtown Train (and boy do I hate it when people say...."I like how you changed up that Rod Stewart song..." :mad: :mad: :mad: ), Ol' 55, Please Call Me Baby, and Gun Street Girl. I'm also working on a cover of Dirt In The Ground for the Guitar Jam coverfest, but it might not be done in time.

 

Thanks for your comments and interest!!

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