Over the last few weeks I’ve been enjoying the slow reanimation of wur band. It’s been packed away up in the creative attic for a while (because..life) but now we’ve been working on some new songs and are well on the road I hope to getting them into a shape for recording and playing live.
I say new songs. What we’ve actually been doing is riffling through the section of our song book titled Unused and fitting new tunes to old lyrics. There are a lot of old lyrics. I go through phases of splurging them out. Sometimes I’ll try a tune on them, other times I’ll just quietly slip them into the back of the book for later reference.
What’s been quite interesting is identifying the different approaches I’ve used at different times. I like to experiment with lyrics, and I’m a big fan of Eno-style oblique strategies when it comes to (and this is very important for me) not making everything sound the same.
The next three songs must be about real people, but not so they could possibly recognise themselves.
The next song must be about the first thing you see when you get off the bus.
That sort of thing.
So you end up with story songs and art songs and character songs. With songs that aren’t allowed to properly rhyme or that only have one word in the chorus. With made up songs that sound like they’re about some profound real moment, and songs that actually are but don’t. With songs that are about animals. Or buildings. Or breakfast.
A few of the ones we’ve been working on recently seem to have come from a phase of Stipelike Obliqueness. Where the challenge is to take an almost random title (“Dog From Odessa”, “Like A Bear, Like A Ghost”, “Fur On The Inside”) and populate the songs with words that evoke something without actually making narrative sense. And I’m happy enough with them, but I can’t help feeling they’re a little fraudulent, almost too easy to toss off. So the new rule is this:
The next three songs must be about actual moments, written as they happen.
Finished the first one last night. It was written on Saturday night and is about tea and community. Hopefully folks will get to hear it at some juncture, but if not***…well, it keeps me amused.
***Pauses during blog post to ponder writing a song about writing a blog post about writing songs. Decides that’s completely nuts, even for me.