The bane of modern pop songwriting is much the same as it is for penises: length. It first started happening in the 90s when a band like Oasis started to drag out the most commonplace of tunes to 4 and 5 minutes – well beyond the staying power of the track. I made a vow to myself that it was a lesson I’d heed: if the Beatles could revolutionise what pop could be in under 3 minutes (Tomorrow Never Knows, 1966) then what earthly business would Ed Sheerhan have for stretching out his anodyne, British School of Music airbrushed nonentities out over 5 minutes? Anyway, I raise this point because this song clocks in at comfortably under 2 minutes. Even if you hate it, it’s over quickly and you can move on. Much like sex with me.
Take me away
Somewhere far from here
Make it a dark place
That smells of sour beer
‘cos she’s left me…
Spare me the talk of other fish in the sea
I was made for her and she was made for me
Now I’m sad and alone
Because she’s left me
Put another song on the radio
Make a sad song
Play it real low
Don’t try to tell me what I’m supposed to do
When I’m feeling blue
Because she’s left me
No fucking about with this one is there? Surprisingly, the musical inspiration stems from the ‘lead’ guitar part (the twinkly counter melody that runs throughout). It’s a riff, of sorts, that I’ve had for many years without ever having a home for.
Last night, taking respite from Love Island, I went upstairs idly picked the riff out and half an hour later the whole thing was just there. I toyed with the idea of a second verse, but it seemed redundant: everything I wanted to express was over and done. It’s a fairly universal lyric. Although I am rarely alone as such, I spend a lot of time feeling alone, and sometimes when I’m that way out I want to compound it: get away from everything and nurture that loneliness with darkness, quiet music and alcohol. Basically: wallow in it.
The vocal part I really sweated over. Unlike Pink Floyd I don’t have a million quid studio, and my performances are always at risk of a toilet flushing in the background, a child bursting in, or an irate wife shouting up the stairs.
On something like the 15th run through, I got approximately the fragile sound I was after. I struggle to sing softly, because I’m 15 and a half stone of dumb Yorkshireman, more physically suited to a bellowing at the TV, but I eventually got something I was happy with – even if my pitching is a little recondite in places.
Anyway, that’s all about I have to say about this. Now fuck off and leave me to my brooding.