I don’t know when i stopped just writing songs as a hobby and started occasionally referring to myself as a singer-songwriter. How can i really draw a line there? How does someone go from doodling to being an artist? I doodled for a long time, writing good songs that never left my own bedroom – akin to sketches in the margins of a notebook. Now i take myself seriously, constantly revising and re-recording each song until i feel as though it has reached its end point – and even then occasionally pulling it off the shelf to be aired.
I cannot pinpoint the day that i began to take myself serious enough to say so out loud, but i can promise you it had to do with my next song. Earlier this evening i told someone via IM that practicing songs was like sanding down a chunk of wood until it becomes a perfectly smooth sphere, and that i only had one or two songs out of over a hundred that had reached that point. This song, if no other, has gone there… to the point where i can get lost in the nuances of one silly little riff and then forget the lyrics entirely. I have played it so many times, in so many different ways, that it’s as if i have come back around to it being new again and i am now discovering it for the first time.
It takes a big song to fill that void, and it didn’t start out big. It still isn’t, actually: just three chords, three verses, and what was once just some fortuitous ad-libbing. When i sing it, i feel famous. It makes me sweat because i move to it underneath my guitar as my fingers dance back and forth across the riffs i have unearthed, there shape and arrangement changing on every beat. It makes me frustrated when it will not sound out correctly, and it makes me glow when i change something about it only to make it more interesting to perform.
It’s late, and a lot of bloggers are getting a little weepy, but this is how i always feel about song 25/24. Earlier tonight i tried my best to open up a new side of it for you to see, and i encourage you to click through to older audio of it through its lyrics file so that you can hear the differences i am talking about. I’m under no illusion that, as a result, you will take me any more seriously as a musician. But, maybe you’ll just be able to understand how i can feel like this about something so simple that anyone who has performed on it has irrevocably altered.
Thank you for reading, thank you for listening, and goodnight.