lost love

Song #44: What's Up Now?

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"Living well is the best revenge." [George Herbert]

Earlier this year I traveled to Atlanta for an intensive three-day beat making session with musician Joe Aielli. While there we programmed several pop tracks and we've been sitting on this song ever since. This week I decided to write some fun revenge lyrics and finally produce the vocal tracks. Cheers--

LYRICS:

Thought that I wouldn't get on living?

Thought I might be down for the count?

Thought that I wouldn't find the strength to get back up on my feet?

How do you like me now?

 

Well it just goes to show that you didn't know

what I had inside to get on with my life,

I'm makin' them all say 'Wow!', so what's up now?

You left me behind but one day you'll find

it ain't much fun when I'm number one,

the talk all over town. So what's up now?

 

When push comes to shove I'm a fighter

I've been down but I got up

And I climbed to the top and I didn't stop,

all beat up, but still on top,

So, how do you like me now?

 

Well it just goes to show that you didn't know

What I had inside to get on with my life,

I'm makin' them all say 'Wow!', so what's up now?

You left me behind but one day you'll find

it ain't much fun when I'm number one,

the talk all over town. So what's up now?

 

A little bigger than life and look all the eyes are all on me now

And you thought I'd stay down but I'm back with a sound, so what's up now?

Now I hear you tell your friends that you're sad it's the end

I don't mean to offend, but honey now that you've come 'round,

that door's closed down

 

Well it just goes to show that you didn't know

What I had inside to get on with my life,

I'm makin' them all say 'Wow!', so what's up now?

You left me behind but one day you'll find

it ain't much fun when I'm number one,

the talk all over town. So what's up now?

Song #42: Disappear

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"A mighty pain to love it is,
And 'tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain."
[Abraham Cowley]

LYRICS:

Look at me,

I've got my shit together

I am a winner, a picture of health

but what no one sees deep below the surface

is a cavern, the cold hard walls of a well

 

For a time I was better, well on my way

A little bit stronger, a little more life each day

But all the momentum I thought I had gained

slows to a halt when someone speaks your name

 

Sometimes I wish you'd disappear

So maybe I could find peace this year

But I know as sure as I sit here

That I don't mean it

 

When you both live in the same small town

You can't help but see each other around

I have that old crusty wound that almost heals

But then I catch your eyes and it all at once starts to peel

 

Sometimes I wish you'd disappear

So maybe I could find peace this year

But I know as sure as I sit here

That I don't mean it

 

As much as I would like to move on,

it ain't happening

But if I can pretend that you're gone,

there's a respite from all the battling in my mind

 

Sometimes I wish you'd disappear

So maybe, maybe I could find peace this year

But I know as sure as I sit here

That I don't mean it

 

...but most times I wish you'd just appear

And wreck all of my plans for this year

Cause when I said my love was sincere 

Well, I still mean it

Song #34: Disease

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"Of course it don't feel right! What has felt right for you doesn't work! You need to try some wrong, dawg!"  [The 40-Year Old Virgin]

This is a song about tiring of doing good. It's from the perspective of someone who's grown weary of playing by the rules, being spoon-fed other people's expectations and - in keeping with the intent of this project - being in a relationship that is outwardly "right" (in the opinions of others), but inwardly lifeless. After all there are some experiences life holds for those who are adventurous enough to color outside the lines.

PLAY: 

LYRICS: 

I don't want to choose health

I'm living life on my knees

I feel I'm gagging on good

I crave a little dis-ease

Try to wheel me in,

Lock me up in a cell

But I ain't looking for a cure,

I wouldn't pay to be well

 

I feel a wicked, sly smile

crawling up on my face

There's something sick inside

Way down low like the bass

I feel it pulse within

Like the beat of this song

And if lovin' you is right

Well then I want to be wrong

 

They all think they know best

Tell me just what I need

And I played along

For forever it seems

But see I've caught a bug

An infectious disease

And now I see you're just too good,

 t-t-too good for me

 

Does it hurt? Does it hurt when I do this ?

Song #29: Be Free

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There's always another side to the story.

A friend of mine this week reminded me that most "lost love" songs are from the perspective of the one who has been broken up with. What about the one who had to do the heartbreaking?

We often think that the one who ended things is in control and walks off mostly unscathed, but that is far from the truth. It can be a hot mess of emotions for both parties. The irony is - the singer here doesn't hate the person he's breaking up with... not at all. There's still genuine love and concern for the one he's leaving behind. But he also senses that it's not right enough to continue, even as the other person is trying everything they can to keep it from dying.

PLAY:

LYRICS:

don't let yourself believe

this is all easy on me

just because I'm the one who chose to leave

doesn't mean that I missed out on all the guilt and the grief

 

I don't want to be cold but I'm all ice

'cause if I let you in or even just be nice

you get your hopes up

and we both know

that this ain't right

so if it has to be me: I love you, be free

 

the truth is it was killing me to stay

so for now, dear, this is the only way

and though I've nothing bad to say

there's some walls I'm going to have to put into place

 

I don't want to be cold but I'm all ice

'cause if I let you in or just even be nice

you get your hopes up

and we both know

that this isn't right

and if it has to be me: I love you, be free

 

I don't think you're listening to me: I'm done

it was not meant to be, though we had fun

maybe one day you'll see: I still love you...

be free...

Song #25: The King

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"Loneliness is the first thing which God's eye named, not good."
[John Milton]

PLAY:

LYRICS:

Roll in the driveway

and place it in park

There isn't a light on

The house is all dark

There's nobody home

and I pretend it doesn't matter

but it does

 

No snoring little babies

tucked up under blankies

No one through the window

Or assuring embraces

No "I'm glad to see you"

and I pretend it's for a reason

but it's not

 

So I pour me a whisky

and get a little bit silly

because if I start to thinking

who knows where that will take me

 

I picked up my ink pen

to write up this song

and I just keep on writing

so the music won't stop

'cause when the music ain't playing

all I can hear is the fridge

and the dogs

 

So I toss back more whisky

before I start wondering if you miss me

And if this is how it's got to be

At least I can set myself free

 

This is a cell

My own private silent hell

This is my life, serving my time, these are my shackles

And here I am king

For as far as the eye can see this is my land,

and I am the king of an empty castle

 

So I strip down to nothing

and lie in my bed

there's a space on the mattress

there's a buzz in my head

The quiet gets louder

and I pretend it doesn't matter

but it does

This quiet gets louder

and I pretend it doesn't matter

but it does

Song #23: Not Enough

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Over the past few weeks, I've had conversations with two men - one who is going through a divorce and another who recently did. I kept hearing the same two themes emerge: one, that they were both trying everything they could to do the right thing, hold their marriages together and to show love even as their (ex-)spouse was struggling and/or being destructive; and two, that because their efforts weren't being accepted, it dealt such a heavy blow to their self-worth. Since in this project I had promised to explore all of the angles of love, I felt drawn to flesh out this experience in song, as difficult as that may be.

This was a hard song to write and I'm sure is a hard one to listen to. It's not unlike watching Requiem for a Dream - sitting through it once is probably enough. I had to go deep and get to an emotional space that I've known very well but not really wanted to return to. That said, the purpose of this piece is not in any way to glorify a defeated and self-doubting perspective; in time people move out of this stage and realize their worth is independent of their circumstances. Rather, this is a "snapshot" in time, a musical picture of a dark and raw reality... for the sake of artistic observation as well as catharsis. Almost like being physically ill, sometimes it's only by purging the darkness through expressing it (in writing, in song, in conversation) that we make room for the light and life to return again.

PLAY:

LYRICS:

She is fading, she's fading fast

And I've felt hurt before, but no hurt quite like this

'cause I see her hanging, she's just hanging on

In my strength, all i have; dear just please take my arm

And I know I can't save you

don't pretend I can

But I can't just stand by and

not extend a hand

 

But part of me

Hates the part of me

That gives a shit at all

 

She is struggling, she's scraping by

But she's too damned hardheaded to let me by her side

I am trying, maybe I should stop

When your love is unwelcomed, when do you finally give up?

 

My shit is not enough (for you)

It is not enough

My love is not enough

My time... not enough

My care... not enough

Love is not enough for you

Love...

Song #12: Amphetamine

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The character in this song seems to have climatized to a life of loss. Like any of us, of course he doesn't desire brokenness but his attitudes and beliefs attract it time and again. And time and again, instead of dealing with these things head on, he tends to default to two coping mechanisms: self-medication and running away. "Amphetamine" is a dark song about a shell of a man, hardly someone worth admiring. And yet there's sympathy there, knowing that we all deal with loss and difficulty in our own variations of these ways. Part of me wants to scream at him - "it's worth the risk" - but he'll either toughen up and figure that on his own... or he won't.

On a production note, this is the first song so far that I've directly worked with another individual in the creation process. Music college friend, writing partner and excellent songwriter/performer Joe Aielli had the piano intro and idea for this song years ago. We've worked it on and off for a while but I knew when I began this love-themed writing project, this song would have to be revisited and finished.

Oh, and please swing by Joe's page and become a fan of his well-crafted music:

www.facebook.com/joeaielli

PLAY:

LYRICS:

she called me in and said I'm leaving

just like so many girls before

and once again I think that love, it ain't the answer

'cause what's united can be torn

friends and lovers, ya who needs 'em?

it just hurts too much to say goodbye anymore

well i've got all the ways I need to ease the pain

and they come out to play when it begins to storm

 

I think love is an amphetamine running through my head

just a high that becomes tomorrow's tears

I think love is an amphetamine,

so now I'm on my way until it all just disappears

 

as the dust blows up behind me

I can't think about all the people I left behind

what you call love I call the thing that trips me up

I'd rather move ahead alone and undefined

 

yes, I think love is an amphetamine running through my head

just a high that becomes tomorrow's tears

I think love is an amphetamine,

so now I'm on my way until it all just disappears

 

and when I take the pill I'm standing on top of the world

unconscious to the crowd below

but without fail, in time, I always come crashing down

it lifts me up and leaves me low

 

will i always think love is an amphetamine?

will i ever let anyone draw near?

see I think love is an amphetamine

so now I'm on my way until it all just disappears

you may live in love, but I live in fear

so I'll get the hell on out of here

Song #2: Alone

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"One is the loneliest number..."

What I find most interesting about "Alone" is not the way in which the character "uses" love, but that he's self-aware enough to be doing so consciously. A rather somber exploration of isolation, loneliness and loss of identity.

PLAY: 

LYRICS:

One love that started to fade

He moved towards her and she moved further away

Now he's left standing

He's never known himself all alone

When she's gone, he doesn't know

who he is 

 

"I loved you for who that made me

And I know that that's not healthy

Oh God, no... it seems I don't like me

when I'm left standing alone"

 

As long as there's her, it masks all the pain

Devious voices inside, they whisper his name

In deafening silence

Now without, his head in his hands,

Forced to peek inside  

at the dragons within

 

"I loved all them because they saved me

And I know that that's not healthy

But still though, I need them to like me

  I can't stand being alone"

 

Now what is this?

New eyes look his way

He feels again, his worth from within

He's got his fix, there's fire in his veins

He knows again he's claimed

And everything's OK

 

"I love you because you'll take me

And I know that that's not healthy

But just hold me and don't you leave me

Anything but just not alone"