Week 36: Freedom to Feel

I came across this quote somewhere, taken from a Jim Morrison interview:

People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.

You can read the whole interview here. This summed up so much of what I believe so well, and got me thinking I should try to say something about it in a song. As usual I had the tune and the chords and the rhythm before I found the lyrics, but once I knew what I was wanting to say the lyrics came quite quickly.


36 Freedom to feel
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Lyrics

For days I waited lonely I was shifting my gaze back to the ways I’ve been hoping for praise in the deep dark mazes of love
Find me a love who’s lonely one who knows what’s true the way the lonely do who can see right through what I do when I can’t find love

I feel like a one horse trailer to a film about a shipwrecked sailor alone at the end of the world dreaming about love
And though his mind is aching his heart flies out where the waves are breaking, across the water blown on by the winds of love

Oh what has become
Of all my freedom to feel
Every little ache every ripple in the lake every little sign that my soul is awake?
And oh what is this shame
Deep in the heart of my pain?
Makes it feel so wrong to sing my saddest song, I turn away from my soul again

This world is jammed with subtle signs that tingle and tease the mind
And promise you the earth if you just learn to hide your pain
Such sweet and subtle violence all complicit in this code of silence don’t cry just got to do what you can to maintain

What have we done
With all our freedom to feel
Every little ache every ripple in the lake every little sign that your soul is awake?
And oh what is this shame
Deep in the heart of our pain?
Makes it feel so wrong to sing your saddest song, you turn away from your soul again

I hear the little children crying in the dark, slowly fading, slowly caving and behaving in the way they must
To some it’s just a tantrum but I call that a freedom anthem come on love me and help me to learn how to trust

What have we done
With all our freedom to feel
Every little ache every ripple in the lake every little sign that your soul is awake?
Oh what is this shame
Deep in the heart of our pain?
Makes it feel so wrong to sing your saddest song, you turn away from your soul again

Week 35: By my echo

A song about staying in touch with what I feel, and not hardening myself, and how it really helps to have someone around to reflect my true self back at me. Chris did some very cool things with the production of this. It was a really nice surprise when he emailed to me, totally wasn’t expecting that. We’d been chatting earlier about the album we’re going to be making next year once the ‘song a week’ thing is over – about choosing the songs, and how we’re going to decide about how to produce each one. This is a nice taste of what’s to come in terms of interesting production techniques.


35 Be my echo
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For a playlist of all the songs so far, click here

Lyrics:
Help me to find a way to stay soft in all this hardness
My skin is starting to grow so tough, in all this heartlessness

Be my echo
I’ll be your echo too
Two sounds colliding and rebounding in the blue

Help me remember my reasons to smile in all this sadness
Give me a place to unload my tears, when the world is cold

Be my echo
I’ll be your echo too
Two sounds colliding and rebounding in the blue

Somehow I keep on rolling forward through my days
And though sometimes I stumble still I find my way
Somehow I keep on finding colours in my grey
And though I sometimes mumble, still I find the words to say

Help me to weather my dangerous moods and help me move through
This string of tiny courageous moves connecting me to you

Be my echo
I’ll be your echo too
Two sounds colliding and rebounding in the blue

Week 34: Wall of shame

I’ve always loved the idea that in art there are no rules, that your job as the artist is to express your experience, no matter how weird or socially unacceptable or shameful it is, because by doing so you’re helping to bring things out of the darkness of repression into the light where they can be thought about and hopefully accepted as just part of what makes us all human. For me shame is the big obstacle to this kind of expressive freedom, and I guess it’s the big obstacle to just being who I want to be in the world in general. It’s something I’m always coming up against as a songwriter, the pressure not to overshare, vs the voice saying, ‘there are no rules, you can sing about whatever you feel is real in your experience’. So, this song is an attempt to push against that pressure a bit, and to address the very thing that gets in the way of that freedom.


34 Wall of shame
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For a playlist of all the songs so far, click here.

Lyrics:

I got in a fight, I couldn’t release
It sucked me dry all weekend
I couldn’t write, I could hardly speak
There was no-one I could call

Shame on me for being so
Taken by the undertow
Shame for being so wooed by woe
And shame for shame

Wall of shame
With nobody else I can blame
It’s my ball and chain
My wall of shame

I went out looking for love
I came home with nothing
The lonely tears the lonely bed
The lonely huff and puffing

Shame on me for being so
Lonely in the afterglow
Shame for being so wooed by woe
And shame for shame

Wall of shame
With nobody else I can blame
It’s my ball and chain
Wall of shame

Now I suspect it’s not just me
That suffers from these feelings
That everybody’s burdened by
The secrets they’re concealing

Shame on me and shame on you
Here’s what I propose we do
Put our secrets in a hat
And pass it round

The wall of shame
We’re basically all the same
Behind this pain
Wall of shame

Week 33: Ordinary guys

I love the way this one came out – the atmosphere of the recording is fantastic – great job Chris Tuck, the producer who records my weekly songs. A song about being real in a world where it’s too easy to go in for illusion, where we’re encouraged to see ourselves as a personal brand that needs to be carefully airbrushed and presented in a way that’s going to help us get what we want out of people – and how this mindset just makes the world a lonelier place somehow, where our real selves get obscured we all end up a little bit alienated as a result. Hope you like it.


33 Ordinary guys
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For a playlist of all the songs so far, click here

Lyrics:

To all the ordinary guys and girls who look like
People you might meet on any street on any day
Don’t let the stars distort your mind, don’t let the movies teach you
that you’re s’posed to look and feel a certain way

To all the ordinary girls and guys that you might
See about to buy a beer to drink themselves ok
We loved you just the way you were
Before you blew your wages on designer clothes you hope will get you laid

And every time somebody tries
To fool the world with their disguise
The world becomes a little bit lonelier
And every time somebody lets
Somebody in on who they are
Beneath their skin
The world becomes a little bit cozier

To all the ordinary guys and girls out there competing
To find someone to complete them
The best that you can do is make sure when you find someone
That you’ve got someone real inside to meet them

To all the ordinary girls and guys who try
to fill their empty insides by accumulating tokens
Maybe the answer isn’t seeing how to fix yourself
But rather understanding just how everyone is broken

And every time somebody tries
To fool the world with their disguise
The world becomes a little bit lonelier
And every time somebody lets
Somebody in on who they are
Beneath their skin
The world becomes a little bit cozier

So come on let us in
Underneath your skin
Come on let us in

Week 32: Small soft animal

Another song in the “google song” tuning – hence the nice ringing chords. Found a whole bunch of new chords up the neck. The great thing about alternative tunings is that, because you can’t use the usual chord shapes used in standard tuning, you’re forced to experiment and it usually leads to something surprising and different. Once I had all these jangly chords, I just started singing and writing whatever lyrics popped into my head, and this is the result. Hope you like it.


32 Small soft animal
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For a playlist of all 32 songs so far, click here

Lyrics:
Something inside of me is calling me imploring me to come on home from the war
They’re searching the hills and forests and the fields for the guy who won’t fight any more
Something is shaking me awaking me and making me believe in my freedom to be
At home in the ups and downs as I’m rolling and I’m coasting down from the highlands to the sea
And what I got’s enough for me
And there’s peace in the lands for as far as my eyes can see

The sun is shining on my window sill
Talk to me about the ordinary love
That requires no special skill
Just an opening and a letting it run in until you’re full
No special force of will
Just a small soft animal

Sooner or later gonna get the renovator to pull down these crumbling walls
Feel that sunshine spill into spaces where before there was no light at all
Under the moon I’ve been a sleep in my cocoon but now I’m spreading my wings in the light
And soon I’ll rise gonna head into the sky with a song in my head and a feeling that everything’s gonna be all right
cos what I got’s enough for me
And there’s peace in the lands for as far as my eyes can see

The sun is shining on my window sill
Talk to me about the ordinary love
That requires no special skill
Just an opening and a letting it run in until you’re full
No special force of will
Just a small soft animal

There’s something in a mammal that seeks out the warmth of another
And the child will dig a tunnel for miles to get back to the mother
It’s the thing that makes a stranger change into a brother
and sometimes if you’re lucky it’ll turn a stranger into a lover

Can you feel now the moon is full?
Help yourself to all the dreams you find scattered among the moonbeams
No special force of will
Just a small soft animal