New Song: Tell Me


Tell me what you want to see
And I’ll show it to you
Tell me what you want me to be
I’ll be that for you… oh

Tell me what you want me to do
I could do it to you (if you want me to)
Tell me all the secrets you keep
And who you are when you sleep

Hands up if you’re a bad girl…
…hand down if you’re a good girl

Tell me how you want to be tied
And I’ll pull down the blinds
Tell me if it hurts too much
Or you want a bit more
(Nobody’s here to keep the score)

Tell me where you want this to go
And I’ll go there with you… anywhere… oh….
Tell me with your mouth or your eyes
Try to surprise me
(I promise you that I won’t mind)



Like a few of my recent songs, this was built from a rhythm track up – stemming largely from me pootling around on a bass to one of the preset drum loops that come with GarageBand. Quite pleased with it, I boosted the drums with a doubled-up deep electro bass drum and snare and then the basic outline of the song was there within a couple of takes.

As I’ve probably mentioned before, it’s very easy when writing a song based on a groove for it to get boring. Basically, because they tend not to stem from an independent melody or chord changes, such songs are very immediate (hence their popularity in dance-friendly formats such as funk) but can also easily outstay their welcome.

The way to mitigate against this is usually to throw in some special effects: if you listen to, say, something like a Fat Boy Slim track – or something by the Chemical Brothers – they will often have sections where bits drop out altogether (so you only have the bass playing for a while) or throw in a sonic filter (those swirling sound effects where the whole song seems to get further and further away, before leaping back to life).

Obviously, I ain’t no dance act, so I chose to chuck in layers to keep the background in a state of steady evolution. Guitars come in. Then are almost – but not quite – doubled at at the octave. Then extra cymbals, snares and shakers come and go in the rhythm track.

The verses are sparse by design, but the chorus shares the same chord change, so to make that come alive there are three guitar parts: a wah-wah riff, (which I can’t really play), a high-keening part that almost doubles the wah-wah and some chunky power chords which are quite low in the mix. Additionally, there are a few cod-gospel three-part harmonised “yeahs” in there too to emphasise the bluesy nature of the thing. I’ve got some other ideas for harmonies I want to try out if I can actually get them out of my head and into a microphone.

All of this is an attempt to stop the thing getting too boring, because if you break the melody down, it is about 4 notes, with no counter melody, bridge or middle eight to speak of.

If it sounds like I’m talking this track down a bit, I don’t mean to be: I really like it! It’s just from a pure songwriting perspective it is pretty meagre stuff, like most groove-based music. It’s all about the mood of the thing rather than the underlying song.

As you might notice from the lyrics, when I was listening back to it, it immediately brought to mind something sleazy in the crabbed, sideways, barely-there melody. A half-sung, half-whispered lyric about sex emerged, in which I guess you’d say the first-person voice was luring a partner into revealing her inner desires to him so he can act them out with her. As such, the straightforward chorus makes that implicit. If this was ever played live in the right circumstances, I could imagine hands actually going up in response to demand in the chorus.

Anyway, there is still a bit of work to be done on it: the bass is unsteady in parts, the guitar is fumbled here and there, and I’m not 100% happy with the vocal take or the harmony. All that being said, I think it achieves more or less what I set out to achieve with it, so I’m giving myself 5 housepoints and am now off for a wank.

Catch you on the flipside!