There are songs that I have been selfishly hoarding from you for quite a while now, content to let you think “Bucket Seat” was the last fully realized piece to emerge from my imagination – almost a year ago.
The reason for this obfuscation isn’t entirely intentional. Gone are the days when I’d pen something and Trio it just to work out the kinks; “Bucket Seat” appeared almost six months after its original conception. The chances of me writing and recording on the same day grow increasingly slim, as lately I’m lucky if I can make it through a full run of a song a month after I complete the lyrics. And, if it takes that long just to play it through, it’s taking me a much longer time to fully realize a tune.
The other result or, actually, causation of the song-drift is that my arrangements are becoming more deliberate. “Bender” languished even after I finished setting it to music because I knew its chorus wanted to be full of chords with non-standard voicings, but I couldn’t discern what they were. It took months of casual stabs, followed by one long night sitting on my bedroom floor, before I found quite how it was supposed to sound.
I have almost a whole album of new material sitting around, in various stages of completion. I’m a bit afraid of it, because its genre has proven to be unpredictable. “Are You” and “A Little Bit” are about as folky as I get, while “Bender” is of a more indy-rock persuasion (especially with those big ascending inverted 5ths at the end of the chorus). “Puzzle” and “Haze” are both straight-forward radio rockers that could probably use some added riffing, but “Crave” and “Caroline” seem to be shaping up to be Tori or Rufus style laments.
The straightforward riff and growl-to-soaring register of the vocals on “Regrets” could be straight off of a PJ Harvey disc, with the oft-played but ne’er recorded “Martyr” close behind on the scathing scale. “What’s the Use,” “Dream About Her,” and “Let It Be” are upbeat and cloying, almost a little too Jewel-like for me to enjoy playing them, whereas “I Would” is so languid that I can’t believe it came from my pen. “Crash Diet” could be country or complete grunge depending on my mood. “Sense” is ripped from those anonymous boy baritone-rockers who keep scoring single hits. Finally, “Ghost” still defies my description after a year of playing it, and “Strong” and “Automated” are too new to have yet settled on a consistent chord progression.
That’s eighteen songs in various stages of completion and performance. Eighteen! This from the boy who would otherwise have you convinced that he is mired in a year-long dry spell. Obviously this isn’t the case. The transformation in my musicality that I attribute to “Bucket Seat” was not actually from fecundity to drought, but from tossed-off inspiration to obsessed-over dedication – as it recorded it it insisted on being more than just a tossed off set of chords, and now that I’ve heard the results every new song clamors for similar treatment. “Are You” was simple enough to slip through the cracks, and “Blender” condescended to be released since I have no band in sight, but the others are shy and rare, shrinking from my gaze whenever I set about to pound out a new Trio.
Why am I saying all of this? Because, I want to be able to hear these songs, and for you to be able to hear them, and to do that they need to consent to be recorded in some form. Invoking them by name and genre here somehow makes them more tangible – asserting that they definitely do exist, and are waiting in the wings rather than floating like will-o-wisps around my head.