Album Challenge: Post 18


What did I say about writing rap lyrics and learning Ableton Live on vacation? Well it’s over now and I’m certain I didn’t do either.

After a day of “normalizing” back in San Francisco I have now sequestered myself in the studio. I’ve even produced some lyrics. All I can say is, when you get in the zone or flow or whatever you call it, write as much as you can. That’s a place hard to get back to.  Although I’ve come up with some topics I like they aren’t exactly lyrical.

Here are some examples. Keep in mind the theme of the song is someone turning 40 or go listen to it in my last post.

  • Alexander the great had an empire when he was 30. By the time he was 40 he was dead 8 years.  You are doing better then that guy. (I once got a birthday card with something like that on it)
  • Every time you look in the mirror you see something new. Hair is missing from a good spot and growing where you don’t want it to.
  • As an example of shifting interests I give tips on maintaining a lawn. “First I let it dry, mow it down, apply some weed control, rake out the thatch. Hey, where did everybody go?”

I guess you’ll have to hear this stuff in context to make full sense of it. The issue I’m having is these sentences don’t fit into the syllable patterns I need them to. And even if they do the accents aren’t in the right places. For example, I might have an “s” sound where a vowel would work 5 times better. As I listen to what I wrote two years ago I realize how well it works.

Ok, new day. This is actually day 3 of semi writer’s block. Let me tell you what has worked. Two days in a row I woke up slightly hungover and had immediate ideas. This morning I wrote what will become that extra verse. Just sticking with it for 3 days has helped. Every day my thoughts became more… congealed.

And what didn’t I do to shake the writer’s block? I took breaks. I walked away for a while. I broke out the large artists notebook (I like to write on spacious black pages). I listened to some rap I like. I listened to some William S Burroughs giving advice on aging. I re-read the old email from Katie that started this whole thing. I tried to list the themes I’d covered in the old lyrics so that the new lyrics would be fresh ground. I paced the room bouncing a tennis ball while thinking lyrics (something I heard Paul Simon does).  I searched online for “things that change when you are 40”. That actually lead me to include “lawn care” in the song. I played drums for a bit to clear my mind. I went to a site that generates Brian Eno’s oblique strategies. I flipped through 10 and considered each. Then I got to this one, “It is simply a matter of work”.

And it was.

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