Cry me a River

I played the music I have written so far for Mac and E last night, and although I think they thought it was just fine, I was a little disturbed to hear a very distinctive voice in all the pieces. It’s nice for a concept album if all the songs sound vaguely familiar, but it is really trying on the ear to a theater patron to listen to the same goddam songs over and over.

Adding to this somewhat is that I am using similar sounds on my crappy Mac speakers to play the songs, so of course they will sound vastly more varied once I arrange it for a group of musicians. But I noticed that my music falls into one of two categories, either a sort of groove over which a tune exists, or a tune under which a chord progression exists. That may seem really stupid to say, but only one of the pieces I wrote stemmed from a complete musical idea; sounds, chords, melody and rhythm all articulated.

I find that the music I like best is the stuff where everything is purposeful. Early REM exists on many levels for me, the bass lines are melodic, the chord progressions are moody, the lyrics are… actually the lyrics don’t make any sense to me… but each of the pieces can be listened to time after time and they exist beyond the moodiness of the thing.

Plus, I don’t yet know if I have the same gift for lyrics that my mom has. There are some rhymes that I really like, and then some I am not sure I can get away with. I like the line ‘You breathe in my breath, my head starts to reel’, but later on in the song I use ‘Like Lady McBeth watching blood stains congeal’ to follow the same pattern, and even though it works, it just feels kind of white and proud of itself. Which in itself isn’t bad, Gershwin did it all the time (I’m bidin’ my time/ ‘cause that’s the kind of guy I’m), but he didn’t do it in songs that were heartbreakers.

I have such a love for those old torch songs. I don’t even care if they have any chance of translating, that is the music that moves me, as much as hip-hop or moody 80s music. In ‘Cry Me A River’ she sings;

“Remember? I remember all that you said./ Told me love was too plebian. Told me you were through with me, an’/ Now you say you love me,/ well, just to prove you do,/ Go on and cry me a river, cry me a river, I cried a river over you”

I will never write anything that wonderful, but I certainly can try.