Darker Roads

Vaguely #kinky #BDSM themed lyrics! A fast, shuffling 12/8 beat! Diminished chords! Chords I don’t even know the name of! Blimey. A relative lot going on in 2m 19s. Have a listen, read the words and then let’s meet in the pub and I can tell you what I know about this song (hint: it isn’t much).

Lyrics

I’m begging for mercy
I’m down on my knees
Please end this torture
Won’t you give me release
The road that I travelled
Got darker each day
Now I can’t find my way out
I just can’t see a way

Trapped at your pleasure
Like a butterfly pinned
There’s no other way
To atone for my sins
Kiss – kiss the leather
Won’t you hang me in chains?
Show me the pleasures
That come from this pain.

Down here in the darkness
Where I can’t reach the light
Wreathed in black shadows
Where the nightmares take flight
Drowning in water
I drew for myself
Ice-fingered veins
As I draw my last breath

Trapped at your pleasure
Like a butterfly pinned
There’s no other way
To atone for my sins
Kiss – kiss the leather
Won’t you hang me in chains?
Show me the pleasures
That come from this pain.

Post-match Analysis

I bore myself. It’s easily done. I’ve written hundreds of songs (there are about 70 of them as voice memos on my phone as we speak) and many of them are in pretty similar waters in terms of tempo, style etc. To an extent, that’s just natural. Picasso painted like Picasso. John Lennon sounded like John Lennon. And I sound like a weaksauce, bumbling Yorkshire 40 something.

So from time to time I challenge myself to try something a little different. I mean, the chances of me churning out a death metal song are probably no better than the chances of Napalm Death penning a winsome acoustic ballad, so it’s not exactly radical, but this darkish 12/8 song was the result.

The bits I’m most pleased with are the slightly odd chords. The verses is based on a shift from Em to the diminished (I think? I don’t really know – but the fifth is flattened) and then to whatever chord Em is when it has an A in it. It’s sort of dark sounding, and a little bit hypnotic in its crabbed, sideways movement… which doubtless informed the tone of the lyrics when I finally got around to them.

The chorus is odder still and I can’t even tell you what the chords are. Obviously it’s  chromatic – based on C/B/A#/A and then G/F#/F/Em – but the chords themselves are sort of dissonant – which is very unusual for me.

To add to the generally spooky vibe, I ran the bass through a phase pedal and doubled up the acoustic part (playing the same part in different parts of the stereo spectrum creates a sort of ‘swimming’ effect because the parts never exactly match). Finally, I chucked in an equally discordant coda with Em, G, A# riff and the best I could manage in terms of a guitar solo – also layered with flange, distortion and delay.

With the backdrop laid down, I found myself groping for lyrics over several months, before arriving at the final version a few weeks ago. I’d have recorded it earlier but my throat and chest have been fucked since I had the ‘flu. Anyway, the sound had a very paranoid, claustrophobic feeling to me, and the lyrics came to reflect that. They’re very much written in terms of bondage.

Anyway, that’s the story of that and I’ve run out of patience for typing. If you want to ask me more, join me on one of my non-existence livestreams. For now? Fuck off off of my lawn.

 

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