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June 3, 2007

Song-A-Week Returns! This Week: Chris

Hey everyone! I'm back from Paris and everything is groovey. I haven't had time to post any photos yet or anything, we had visitors last weekend and all of that stuff. It's coming. More than you want to know, probably.

Anyway....

I think this is song #16, but I could be wrong, since I just tried to save the lyrics and I already have 17 songs in there? This is all getting out of hand. I can't really keep track. It's called "Chris" after a guy I knew in high school. I've ha this song knocking around for a long time. Chase should be glad to finally hear a demo'd version, since he's been asking for it for a while now. This is from back in the Dubach House days, and he almost did a demo of it one time, actually. Here it is.

Chris
Copyright 2007 Matthew C Good

Chris
Copyright 2006 Matthew C Good

Chris was a friend whose life met an end.
Well I guess I won't try to push past it
by saying that his soul wasn't meant for this world,
that ones like his don't last.

When I met him, he was playing violin,
well you know he was never too good at it.
When I met him, I was playing at making friends,
well you know I was never too good at it.

Lord, I was selfish then
but I guess I carried on.

His family found out, lit candles in their house,
Smoke signals upwards to Heaven.
But Fate discriminates to no one I know
and fire counts wood and wax even.

It burned to the ground
But everyone got out.
Even the flag that Chris had
Draped over his coffin.

---

Let me know what you think. I did a lot of kinda neat engineering on this demo - EVERYTHING except for the acoustic guitar is running through a distortion pedal or guitar amp at some point. I think the tone on the guitar is pretty good too. And a not bad faked mellotron.

Posted by pedalboy at June 3, 2007 11:44 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Definitely a good faked mellotron.

This "fuller" verse needs some JB slide action a la "You Know Where I'll Be."

The chorus needs harmonies. A voice that hits the F# (3rd) on the D chord during the chorus would sound nice as well. I like the melody of "Even the flag that Chris had" a lot, but I think "Drapped over his coffin" needs to be rethought. There's a better rhythm/melody out there.

I like the extended instrumental, and reprise of verse 2. I think your vocal there needs to be verbed out and sounding far away. In the very least, it needs to sound different than how it has beforehand.

In the final the difference in dynamics from the first part of the verse to the second needs to be more so. I would like maybe some pads too.

Posted by: Chase at June 4, 2007 5:51 PM

I haven't listened yet, but I just wanted to comment on the lyrics. After the first few lines, I realized what the song is about, but it felt a little cheesy. But then it got kind of self-aware and self-effacing. As I read on, it started to work. I even got goosebumps at the end. I actually heard about that happening a while back when I went to Mass at a church in Elmhurst I don't normally go to. I think it was his families church. It seemed so sad and ironic that it almost didn't seem real. Anyway, I'll listen now.

Posted by: Dan at June 4, 2007 8:08 PM

Yeah when I heard about that whole chain of events I was upset with the universe, if you know what I mean. It was gratuitous, you know? I know when you mean when you call it unreal. Maybe I'm not at the point in my craft where I should be writing about things this real and personal to people, but I was just emotionally sunk when I heard about it... And then I felt guilty, like I've heard people do. Like, maybe I should have been a better friend or something like that. But maybe it IS a bad idea to start the song out like it does. That first stanza sorta makes the song selfish - about me. Those personal feelings might be what made me feel like I should write about it in the first place, but it may not be the best way to handle the subject. Last thing I want to do is be selfish in the treatment of someone's tragedy.

Thanks for that comment, Dan. I'll definitely be thinking about that when it comes time to tweak the lyrics on song.

Oh, and Chase - I am not really sure what F# in the D chord you are talking about. The chords in the part that I call the chorus are some kind of C#, G#, B flat, or (capo'd at three) B flat, F, G. Is that what you're talking about?

Posted by: matt at June 4, 2007 9:44 PM

After listening to the song and rereading the lyrics, I think they work pretty well. Revising is never a bad idea though. It's definitely something I need to work on improving as a writer. You know, that and actually writing every now and then.

I think the way you looked at this event is very good. We do contextualize things like this in terms of how they affect us, so I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I think you did a good job of tackling a really difficult subject. I also liked how the fact that he died in a war is really only mentioned tangentially in the song.

Posted by: Dan at June 5, 2007 10:00 AM

Matt,
Yeah. You're right about the chorus. I still mean it needs the 3rd on the (G) chord though. "Lord, I was selfish then" on "then" have the 3rd in a harmony.

I was thinking that your vocal delivery on this song needs a little something more. It's right between polished, and light, and gruff and depressing. I was thinking it may benefit from being way direction. If light and airy, listen to Jeff Buckley for inspiration...

Um, this is song #18 as well.

Posted by: Chase at June 5, 2007 10:07 PM

I like Dan's comments too.

Posted by: Chase at June 5, 2007 10:07 PM

i really like the fake mellotron on this song. i like the feel of it too. however, i would change up the way that the electric works in the song. yes, it does have a good tone for the song but it seems just to be filler in this demo and doesn't add what it could. a little bit more nuance is needed. maybe less strumming and more "parts." like chase said, a slide would fit nicely. Maybe some guitar harmonies.

You should listen to Midlake's new record "The Trials of Van Occupanther". they've got a sound similar to your demos and i think you'd like them.

Posted by: John at June 9, 2007 12:41 AM
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