Saturday, April 3, 2010

new songs

i've been working on some quieter songs lately. no drums necessary. just me and a guitar. i'm looking forward to debuting them at mountair on may 8th. (i was going to play one of them at the tribal cafe show tonight but i got scared---and the mood in the room didn't feel right---so i scrapped it.)

i've been working on a song about russian tsar alexander III and his son (later to be tsar) nicholas II. it's basically the result of reading about them in a book a while back and wanting to make sense of them. i think it's a fascinating story. here's the gist: alexander dies of kidney disease in 1894 at the age of 49. his son nicholas is then forced to take over as tsar of the entire russian empire at the age of 26. and that's where the song begins. here's a shy young man who has little to no experience with really much of anything, and out of nowhere he's handed sole power over a massive empire. he thought his father would reign for several more decades before he would even have to think about the very notion of one day taking over. he simply was not ready for it. he had no idea what he was doing. the responsibility wore heavily on him. every decision he would make would affect millions. it tore him apart. this is a dilemma that few people have or will ever have to face. but he did. i find him, for all his charms and his many flaws (and there were many), to be a fascinating character. and i don't think anyone's ever written a pop song about this. so i'm going to.

the song in question is turning out to be really loud and upbeat with very talky vocals. similar to "bram stoker vs. oscar wilde". (this song will definitely not be one of those songs mentioned above in the first paragraph.)
for a while now i've been really torn between (a) simple poppy songs with short, lovey-dovey lyrics and shiny chords and (b) intense, dark, loud, minor key stuff with tons of cryptic lyrics. i'd say "i want to be yr boyfriend" and "bram stoker..." are probably the two best examples of those extremes for me. no idea which direction i'll be going in.

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