Saturday, April 3, 2010

Singing My Life With His Words

I haven't had many deep thoughts lately. I've been busy. I'm preparing to start a new job, figuring out how to continue to do part of the old one on a part time basis. Shopping for career clothes, high heeled pumps, getting my aging car in shape for a new commute.

But weekends are for music around here. My guy works a vampire schedule all week; rising as late as he can, working til the wee hours. And I get up early, so I say goodnight just as he's getting revved up and fall asleep as he fine tunes the songs that apparently will begin to hit the radio this spring.

On weekends, I can push my bedtime back and sometimes I get a call from the studio down the path..."I need ears." That means he's done something new and needs a pair of ears to check it with.

I love being his "ears". I bounce down the bluestone path whose creation destroyed his knees and both our backs and sit down. I listen. Sometimes I have nothing to say beyond, "I love it." Sometimes I have a question. Sometimes, more often lately as I get more confident of my ears, I have a suggestion.

Last night I suggested a backwards calliope was the sound missing behind a verse.

"What are you, George Martin?" he laughed.

"Backwards flutes, then?"

He discovered that there was already a great part that filled the gap perfectly - it just needed to be a bit louder. That's the kind of fine tuning he does endlessly, relentlessly, before he's confident that a song is "done".

We sat and listened to some other music, music he said he thought might have a similar feel to this piece. And I asked about the lyrics.

To me, this song is, as so many of the songs on this album are, a conversation with the human race.

"But that's not what I meant," he said. "I can see how you'd take it that way, but that wasn't what I was thinking at all."

That interests me. I listen to a song and immediately personalize it; I think we all do. How strange it must be for the person to write it to speak with someone who feels like they "get" it.

"I understand exactly what you meant," the fan might say.

But it would soon become clear that they didn't understand at all.

And yet that connection, even if it's a misunderstanding, is exactly what makes a song important to us.

That, plus an unforgettable hook and a beat we can dance to.


Reya Mellicker said...

Congratulations on the new job! In this economy, it's really good news to hear of anyone getting hired. Bravo!!

I, too, love being ears for musicians.

The Bug said...

I feel the same way about my poetry - sometimes I go, hmmm, when someone says what they think it's about. It's a frustrating, fascinating process putting that out there - & I'm just doing it in blogland, not for real!

Whitney Lee said...

I think we must just walk around looking for words, listening for words, to reaffirm what we think we already know. Most of us aren't so good at listening for listening's sake, we do better listening for something that speaks about us. Because of course, as we all know, we are each the center of the universe.

It must be fun to be the ears. I love music. My husband and sister are in a band and practice is here at the house. I enjoy when they're learning a new song and ask my opinion about what needs tweaking.