Archive for the ‘radiohead’ Category

laughter carries far

March 15, 2008

laughter carries far

lyrically, this started for me on a night recently where i sat for a long period of time (tipsy perhaps), wondering if i’m stupid (moreso than i thought at least). wondering how i would even know. i could be filtering my life through completely different eyes and ears than everyone else and i wouldn’t know it. it snowballed a bit from there, but the idea got me pretty emotional, as i assume (but don’t know that) it does any number of us (humans) from time to time.

so, lyrically, i wanted to tackle a bit of that feeling, that fear, and i started thinking about fourth grade at South School in Jefferson City, Mo. and the horrible feeling of being laughed at by swarm of “pretty girls” cause i had my friend’s shawn and adam ask one of them out for me while i hung out (or hid behind) the jungle-gym. funny now, but not so funny then; and i think i’m still connected to moments like that in my life. in the same way that i’m connected to fond memories and encouraging or gratifying expereiences and relationships. it’s all building you into someone. but in this song, i focus on the fear of being stupid. 🙂

lyrics:

this feels like fourth grade
monkey bars and growing pains
hang’n like the three amigos
hid’n from a wolf-gang

and when i asked them to
my boys had follow through
ran upon the girls
and asked her just what i had asked them to

and laughter carries very far
when high voices know who they are

who they are to me (big C chord)

i’m at the club again
whiskey just mixes in
hang’n like that guy from bands
you like he’s got a funny grin

a conversation has
endless potential
as it gets a little later though
everyone starts to laugh again

and laughter carries very far
and i can hear it from my car

drive it out clean it up like
old (times)

time and time again
the things you know
live in a world you cannot know
and time again
swings make amends
for reckless useful thoughtful men
boys will be boys
girls will be girls
it’ll all comes out in
the wash
in the end
friend

————————–

music

live instruments! guitars! bass! drums! guitar wallowing in effects! fake drums in the background that served as a click and kept in! wow!! what fun!

this one, musically, was written from the geetar. zowie! alright!

mix

if anyone wants to volunteer to mix this one, i’d love to hear it. i had a hard time accounting for the space and volume once the vocals got in there. let me know. i’ll bake you dinner.

thanks for listening,

love,

j

p.s. mailing list ist hier

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emerge and see

March 3, 2008

get it? play on words. thanks.

emerge and see” (mp3)

welcome back! this weeks song fits into the “serious” category of my songwriting, and is basically about age and knowledge. i wrote music first again, which is more often than not my route these days. MUSICALLY i was inspired in part by the latest Radiohead album, “in rainbows” and sought after interesting electro sounds, a couple of long melodic lines, and a 5/4 beat. i can’t say that i based it specifically on a Radiohead sound or technique, but that listening to the record for the first time inspired me to write. it was fun to play with the 5/4 beat, and play AROUND it with the vocal, keyboard part, and the noisy “chorus” section, which is in 6/4 over the 5/4 drumbeat. also, again, i went for a fun “common tone” element here, where the keyboard (rhodes) plays a steadily repeated C throughout the verse of the tune. i realize i may be overusing this bit, but i still find it to be pretty satisfying. the END section also does some of this common tone business for a while, and was written as a proper “bridge,” but ended up going and going and ending the song. i like ending with different material, or a new section, and never necessarily revisiting the original material, partly to keep thing interesting, partly as the next part in the story, and i think it can create a nice feeling of foward movement, during or after the fact. also, this end section’s LYRICS and vocal melody were improvised, as apposed to the composed and tweaked first half of the piece. i get really excited about this when it works. just hitting record and going for it, even if it’s just a scratch and gets some ideas down. in this case, i kept my original improvised take of the end, and then doubled it with another singy steiny. fun! another example of improvised lyrics is “idiosync“, which is available at www.jonsteinmeier.com from a few months ago.

ok…here are the lyrics:

EMERGE AND SEE

by the time you’re old enough to read this
you’ll know what you missed
you’ll know what you failed to recognize as total bliss

worry wakes the weary
makes the metal grind

hurry shakes the sleepers
anger makes men
takes the shape of wondering

takes the shape of paper planes
flattened out by time

slow down
slowly
i can’t see
slow down
slowly
i can hardly breath
slowly
slowly

and if i fall down on my face
i’ll slowly rise up to the sky
i don’t know why

but it’s nice to know
where i’m going to go
sometime

———-

i think this one speaks for itself for the most part, topically. but it’s basically a mourning of the feeling that youth is replaced by wisdom as we grow old. the “if i had known then what i know now” trouble, as well as a “well, still, i don’t know jack, i just know that the more i figure out the more i realize that i’m dying” sort of feeling. sounds pretty dark, but i don’t think of it entirely that way. it’s one of those things that you understand, but wish were different somehow, maybe. also, the end lyrics (the improvised ones) i think are really about not understanding things, and just appreciating them, and appreciating somehow that you don’t get it.

bla bla bla…thanks for listening.

have a good week!

j

certain things

September 10, 2007

welcome to another weekly update of the jon steinmeier “song a week” weekly blog weak week blog leek. this weeks song is for everyone, especially brad smith, who challenged me to get serious. THIS SONG IS SUPER SERIOUS. it’s called “certain things” (CLICK FOR MP3).

okay. this song came lyrics first, in eight stanza’s that had to be tweaked once the music was written. i was conscious of the lyrics as i wrote the piano/melodic parts but not specifically enough to write the music TO the lyrics. so, the lyrics (syllables per phrase, etc) had to be modified eventually to fit.

WORDS

if i were to say what this song “is about” i would say it’s about taking comfort in knowing that while you don’t know as much as you’d like to (in general), no one else does either. i’ve found that we generally say a lot of stupid things when we pretend to know what we’re talking about and don’t. opinion is inevitable and crucial, but we have a natural desire to KNOW, and often jump the gun by assuming (or acting like) we DO know. this is vague i know, but it’s true i think in a very general to specific sense.

that being said…i love the peace of mind that comes with understanding how little i know as an individual, and the learning that can actually happen when i keep my mouth shut and pay attention. the things in life that we often learn aren’t the things that we’re seeking out. they sometimes come to us in that process toward some other knowledge, like learning (the hard way) that you’re clingy, or that you still see yourself as the fat kid with glasses that you were in 7th grade, or figuring out why you care about that, or having political and/or religious opinions and why…

i reference “checking out the humans” in a sort of “we’re all in this together” sort of way. just to say that everyone has more questions than they let on. and “there’s an amazing level of relax, that comes with checking back” is a key line in the song for me. it’s the first line i wrote, basically as a reminder that we can learn from our own and other people’s triumphs and failures, and relax in the idea that we’re not gonna figure it all out. it’s ok not to know everything. 🙂

as i sing/read the lyrics i find other little ideas (in the same realm) that make sense to me…which is funny and maybe ironic, cause the “meaning” behind the lyrics is something that has evolved a little bit as i read ’em. not to say that they’re lofty by any stretch, but that as i write some bits of my subconscious show up and i have to decipher them later.

MUSIC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music

so, writing from the piano, i wrote the A section (certain things are certain) first and liked the character of the Major 6 chord to the diminished chord and looped it. the B wanders a little harmonically (still just two chords though) and made sense with the A so i dug it. i end that section with a FIVE chord (sorry for the harmony talk…hopefully interesting to someone) and had the idea for the intro of the song…just lingering on the five (sol) as a single note. it makes your ear thing that it’s one when it’s the first thing presented to you, so when the full A section comes in it’s like you’ve been tricked, but that note (Five) is still IN the ONE of the A section. 🙂 baaaaaaaaaa sjdklfa;jsdkfl;ajsdklf;jaslkdf;ajsdf. i do the same thing with the bridge, where the chords meander all over the place and end up on a chord (a NEW chord) that has the same single not from the beginning in it…which then repeats just like the intro. again, you’re ear (in theory) has been directed to a different harmonic “home” and will (hopefully) be surprised again to hear the A section return. so, again, you think you know where the one is, but you could be wrong…get it? like the lyrics. get it? yeah? ha! woo…

what do ya’ll think?

thanks for listening.