“Better” Is Out Now!

I dropped a new song tonight!

This year was the first year I watched The Oscars in as long as I can remember and I really enjoyed it. I was particularly happy that “What Was I Made For” by Billie Eilish won Best Song as I thought it was the most powerful. It made me want to write something like that. I took a walk that night and the words started coming to me immediately. I knew I wanted something simple with just piano, vocal, and a string quartet.

I was house/pet sitting for a friend so when I got back to the house, I sat down at the piano there which was a bit out of tune and had some dampers that didn’t work. At first “What Was I Made For” was stuck in my head and I was having a hard time getting away from it to write something original, but enough experimenting finally got me there. Interestingly, my last song, New Year was also written while house/pet sitting for a different friend on the keyboard they had at their house.

I knew I wanted to do something simple not only because of the inspiration of Billie’s song, but also because I knew I had a tendency to feel the need to make things more complicated to try and feel more “musically advanced” or original even though there’s plenty of very simpler songs that I love. So the song is largely one repeating motif with a few variations. Of course me being me, I could just keep it to simple regular chords but had to find interesting voicings and changes. Writing 4 parts for the string quartet (which I played using the BBC Symphony Orchestra plugin from Spitfire) keeps lots of motion and variety in it as well.

Another sort of exercise is that I generally write pretty autobiographically and have always admired songwriters who could write purely fictional “story” songs. So while there’s definitely plenty of elements from my life, I also decided to pay homage to a song written by Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney called “That Day Is Done” where it is eventually revealed that the singer is dead and watching his own funeral. So my bridge was written from the perspective of someone who lived a long happy life but ultimately died alone with no real friends or family. I think the last verse manages to finish on a positive note though.

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