Friday, March 23, 2007

assistant songs

I'm going to re-publish some of my band's songs over the next few weeks, so that anyone who would like to listen in, can. I'll take a few paragraphs on each occasion to describe what I was thinking about - if anything - when I wrote the words. Apologies if you've heard all these songs before, or heard me prattle on about the meanings down the pub.

First up: 'August Song' (right click to download)

I wrote a bunch of break-up songs in the year surrounding my break-up with Vic, but they weren't all personal songs (or rather, not all about me and Vic) and around half were written before, as opposed to after, we called it a day. Whether I was in some way anticipating the split or not, I'm not sure, but it began when I listened to a couple of songs which really pierced me and got me interested in the idea of the break-up song, leading me to explore it in quite a few lyrics.

From that period 'What It Means', 'Sixteen Months', 'Easy to Leave', 'Criticism' and 'Known To Run' were all about breaking up or being broken up. The two songs that bowled me over were Sebadoh's 'Brand New Love', which includes the lyric "any thought could be the beginning / of the brand new tangled web you're spinning / anyone could be your brand new love", which I found tremendously uplifting, and the bittersweet observation, in Leonard Cohen's 'Famous Blue Raincoat', where the narrator accepts his former lover's new partner has been good for her: "Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes / I thought it was there for good / so I never tried".

'August Song' was an attempt at an optimistic expression, too, being all about the moment when the past recedes and the pain becomes no more than an ache, or less. In this instance, I imagined meeting up with a past lover, keen to be reunited, but realising at that moment that more has changed than you think. So I sing:

"I know I asked you here
To tell you I still love you.
But the year's passed faster than I knew.
And suddenly I see that I exaggerated you."

I was trying to get at the politics of love a bit, too, which I perhaps managed a bit less well - that slightest of power struggles, where you try to assess the other person's feelings, seeing what strengths or weaknesses you face. Was trying to get at that with the chorus, "August shouldn't be this breezy / do you still need me?". I guess I was the person who broke up this hypothetical relationship, and was considering a re-tread.

It's quite a nice song, I think - musically I was getting really tired of loud guitars, so everything I wrote at that point had as little guitar as possible. We wanted this to sound dubby and spacious, and I think it does.

Leave your comments in the comments box if you have any feedback.


annsaphone said...

Brilliant song - but Im biased :)

Megan said...

This song is quite lovely.

And as many times as I've listened to various versions of "Famous Blue Raincoat", I always forget some of the lyrics. And those lyrics that you mentioned used to make me tear up a little when I would hear them.