She’s Left Me

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.

Lyrics

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

Thoughts

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.

God Help Us

Blimey. Been a busy week hasn’t it? The THIRD recording of the week – and a bit of a change of pace. This is an uptempo, unashamedly daft record that could have graced any indie disco in the mid 90s. That being said, there’s a lot going on in it – so have a listen, chortle at the fatuous lyrics – and then the usual post match analysis will follow.

Lyrics

I don’t know what to tell you 
I thought we would be alright 
But after some chips and couple of pints 
You said things you can’t unsay 
And I took them all to heart 
Perhaps you’re right and we should spend a little more time apart 

I don’t know 
Why I’m in love with you 
When you treat me 
Like those other fools 
I thought that I meant more to you 
But obviously I was missing some clues 
So tell me what I failed to see 
And tell me what you want me to be 
I’ll do my best to make it all work out 
Luckily somehow I found my way back to my bed
 

Now it’s Sunday morning 
I’ve got a cup of tea 
I scratch and yawn, look out the window 
And then remember what I said 
And what a fool I am 
You turn over and smile at me and then I start to remember 

I know 
Why I’m in love with you 
And it’s not for your brain or your eyes of blue 
It’s not the way that you flirt or the length of your skirt 
Not for your conversation I put up with the hurt 
I could tell you what I mean but I don’t think that you’d like to know 
I’ll put with up a lot of shite for a certain something that I like 
God help us if you ever stop doing anal

Thoughts (and prayers)

Sunday morning. I wake up having spent a frustrating Saturday working on a mournful, serious song. While making a cuppa, I flick through the 192 (!!!!) snippets recorded on my phone. Hmm. What’s this jaunty, slightly atonal riff?

Sitting down with my trusty acoustic I tinker and tinker and tinker again until I have something. It’s undeniably stupid. Insanely catchy. A little like Madness in parts. In places more akin to the Small Faces. I can’t stop now. I’m suddenly overcome with melodic invention. A shouty bit. A falsetto bit. Some choppy, off-beat ska style guitars.

I decide that it’s best recorded rough and loud. With the structure sorted, I double track an acoustic guitar. Then I chuck in two electric guitar parts: the chords played with a nicely crunchy sound, augmented by some lead parts. There’s some jangling in there. The bass is rough – overdriven, recorded up to the red line with a pick. I leave all the fluffs in so it sounds live.

My voice is still a bit fucked after a chesty cough I picked up a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve written a part that moves from the bottom of my chest register, through a shouted ‘soul’ type vocal all the way into a high falsetto.

While recording it, I burn the fish pie mix. On the 18th attempted take – near perfect – my dad wanders in during the final chorus and his umms and ahhs are all beautifully captured.

FINALLY, minutes before I am due to collect the kids I get the best vocal take of the day.

The whole clattering mess is only 2 minutes 30 seconds long, but has taken 6 hours to record. Despite – or perhaps because of- its inanity I love it dearly. I rush through the mix and and release it to thunderous indifference.

The world turns again, blind to my terrible genius.

I am 44 and not getting any closer to being in the pop charts.