In No Particular Way

With fuck all else to do, I’m writing songs. Sorry about that. This is three in three weeks. The dirty secret this time is that I actually conceived this song many many years ago. I just couldn’t be arsed. Anyway. It’s a country and western song about erectile dysfunction, in case you were wondering where my mind is at right now.

Lyrics

I know it’s after hours
But I’ve got this little problem
And I hope you’ll help your fellow man out
It’s a very private matter
And I’m sure you’ll keep the secret
Do I really have to spell it right out?
Oh please… please say there’s a cure
I know I’m pushing forty
But surely I’ve got more?

She’s been waiting in the bedroom
In her heels and pretty knickers
A smile, some pearls and nothing much more
But now she’s knocking on the bathroom
While I’m trying to get things started
I’ve never had this problem before
Oh please… please tell me the cure

I know I’m pushing forty
But surely I’ve got more?
Please don’t send me away
I swear I’m not gay
Just give me a minute and I’ll prove I’m OK
I promise that it’s to nothing do
With any aspect of you
It’s just sometimes I’m blue
In no particular way

I should not have had that whiskey
Cos clearly she was frisky
And I wish that I’d just kept my head clear
Now my bottom half is naked
And there’s no way I can fake it
I’m sweating in the grip of The Fear
Oh please sell me a cure
The night has been expensive
But I’m ready just to spend a bit more

I know I’m pushing forty
But surely I’ve got more?
Please don’t send me away
I swear I’m not gay
Just give me a minute and I’ll prove I’m OK
I promise that it’s to nothing do
With any aspect of you
It’s just sometimes I’m blue
In no particular way

Some Thoughts

I’ve got a feeling I wrote this off the back of hearing Beck’s Odelay album, but if that’s true it would mean that this is QUARTER OF A CENTURY OLD, which seems impossible. I could be mistaken anway.

The song itself is vaguely in the country idiom, with a sort of hip hop rhythm track so that it doesn’t just fall into pastiche. The most (only?) interesting thing going on here in a musical sense is my use of a cigar box guitar.

In fact, if you listen carefully you can tell that I can’t, in fact, play the fucking thing. Although I love the sound, I’ve no idea how to even tune it! In lieue of spending the requisite time, I simply tuned it to an open D as I would if I was going to play a slide guitar. And then… I played it with a slide. In effect, I could just have played a slide guitar. That having been said, the cigar box has a much more pleasing twang to it.

There are actually three different parts, to cover the many sins of my random poking about. Eventually, I will hand it over to a professional who will, I trust, make it sound much better.

So, treat this as a work in progress.

Lyrically, it’s very much tongue in cheek. I’ve written a few “serious” songs recently, but this has always been a bit of a joke. I’ve had the lyrical conceit of the subject matter since it was written, but only the lines “I swear I’m not gay” and “I’ve never had this problem before” existed until this morning, when I finally sat down and forced myself to work on it.

Anyway. It’s a bit of daft fun, and this has cost you nothing. You may now go about your business.

When the Rain has Gone

Sometimes things come together in a blur. One minute you’re in your dressing gown, drinking tea and watching some pap or other, and the next you’re listening back to a song that happened so quickly you can’t quite remember what happened. This is one such song. It’s dead short, and I’m sure you can spare 2m 15s to listen to it and – if it’s your bag – have a read of the lyrics and I’ll tell you all about it.

Lyrics

You were seeking shelter as the skies grew dark
So come in here beside me, unclothe the darkness in your heart
The rain is searching windows, looking for our souls
Tell me that I matter to you – no else need know

But will you still be here with me when the rain has gone?

Cling to me, sleep deeply, tangled in my legs
Your hair like wild strawberries, unfurled across my chest
The storm outside will pass soon, uncovering the moon
And she in turn will vanish in the white heat of the noon

But will you still be here with me when the morning comes?
And will you still be here with me after the rain has gone?

Notes

So. As best as I can remember it. I’ve had the guitar sat in a slide tuning for a few days now. Nothing fancy – just an open E tuning (that’s E-B-E-G#-B-E as opposed to E-A-D-G-B-E) because I’ve been fannying around with a slide, as I sometimes do. I’m not a great slide player by any means, but one thing I like about this tuning is that it opens unexpected chord voicings with a really nice chiming quality.

While fiddling around, I hit on the melodic motif – a sort of descending pattern over the open strummed natural E chord. A very folky feel that instantly seemed very natural.

A quick diversion to a version of A – with a couple of suspensions/discords in it and a voicing of B in the ‘chorus’ (which is really more of a refrain) and the music was more or less done there and then.

I put the mic good and close to the guitar and laid down the backing without any click tracks or nonsense like that (hence the quiet count-in). Because of the open strings, you would be forgiven for thinking there were two guitars, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

And then the vocal. There’s nothing much to the melody – it’s very plain and just sits very naturally with the chords. Because of the mild ‘drone’ effect of the open E strings that ring throughout it’s not very harmonically rich. Arguably you could harmonise it, I suppose, but I was after that very raw, early Dylan style: just a voice, some words and a guitar.

Lyrically, there is also a little touch of Dylan about it I suppose. He’s done a number of these very simple, intimate songs and that’s exactly what this is. Intimate. The words are all about the closeness of two people, in the dark, listening to the rain and talking – with a slight fear in the song’s protagonist that the other person might only be with him for momentary protection… hence the question in the line “will you still be here with me after the rain?”

I guess it’s kind of vulnerable. And, being a man, I don’t want to talk about that any more.

I bid you good day.