Skip to content

Oh, My Cheated Heart

October 14, 2008

When I first started writing songs (like, a lifetime ago), I periodically considered quitting– especially after I moved beyond just lyrics and melodies and into the realm of chords and piano arrangements. So many times, it would feel like I was writing the same song over and over–different lyrics, same music. I mean, once I got the hang of playing piano without having a grand staff in front of me, I realized I’d only done so because I’d trained my fingers to play this way, and so what I sometimes assumed was creativity or divine inspiration was really just brainless muscle memory. Oops.

I’d get into those ruts, and then I’d find something new and interesting to listen to, and I’d try to imitate it. Jason Mraz comes to mind at this point, because when I finally caught on to Rocket, I immersed myself in it so fully that nothing else existed for months. I tried to write myself a notebook of songs that sounded like Jason Mraz could have written them, and of course I failed miserably. Me, sound like Jason Mraz? First of all, I play piano, not guitar. Second of all, I am a woman, not a man. Third, I CANNOT rhyme that fast, I cannot intelligibly put together so many syllables so quickly and make them make sense. Fourth, well, I just don’t have a Toca Rivera. I am NO Jason Mraz.

But I tried to be.

And after that (and every other imitation I tried including John Mayer, very briefly Ben Folds, and some others I’m sure I’m forgetting), I’d feel like even more of a failure, and I’d put away the notebooks for months, playing out of lesson books and sheet music again.

But here’s the thing– imitation is never really a good idea, because you come off sounding cheap and, well, like an imitation. But I think all of that imitating I did paid off in the end, because here and there, I find myself adding tiny elements of other things I’ve heard, and when you put them together, it’s one big piece of everything I listen to. It’s a good feeling.

Lately, though, I’m feeling a little rut-ish again. I shouldn’t feel that way– I look at this past year’s songs, and love them so much more than the year before, and those I like better than the year before that, etc. etc. Part of it has to do with the part of my life I wrote them in– I’ve just grown up, more, I think. I have more to say. Part of it is the musical evolution. But right now, at this very moment, I feel like I’ve been writing the same songs over and over again–again. But this time it’s not just the music, it’s the lyrics too. I am ALL about sappy love songs and peppy feel good country tunes, but there’s more to music than that, isn’t there? Even country music.

I’m excited about my newfound love of White Light Riot–and while they’re not the perfect example of all of this, they hit the mark here and there. “Out of Sight” is a cheating song– but from the side you don’t usually hear a cheating song from:

You were outta sight while I was outta my mind
I’m falling in a pattern that I can’t deny
Oh, your cheated heart

I love that last line of the chorus– “Oh, your cheated heart.” If you read all of the lyrics (here), that line just puts the icing on the cake. The song is like this big reaction to “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” You know? Hank Williams? Yeah.

These guys are billed as indie rock/brit pop (and for as much as I know about brit pop–nothing–I will say I hear a Beatles influence in there), but here they are referencing an OLD country tune.

Now why the hell didn’t I think of that?

Sometimes I try to write and nothing comes out.
Sometimes I try to write and crap comes out.
Sometimes I try to write and BOOM, I have myself what I think is a pretty good thing.

I’m not sure this has a point anymore.

I should have posted this on my music blog, huh?
Oh well.

One Comment leave one →
  1. bigskygirl permalink
    October 14, 2008 9:45 pm

    speaking of cheating, i can’t believe you’re cheating on me and miss sara with BRITPOP. Good Lord. ;) No, seriously, I will check them out because i always do when you say they’re good. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: