Song — In These Walls (based on a true story)

December 29th, 2009

This song is based on a true story told to me about a 25 year separation between a husband and a wife. They were young, attractive, and both lawyers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. He argued successfully before the supreme court multiple times, and she was excelling as a lawyer in a time when women were not plentiful in that profession. They had two children and moved into a beautiful turn of the century house overlooking a lake. In the late 1950’s, the husband killed himself in the house, leaving his wife to manage her career and the two children. Time passed, she continued to excel in her career but never remarried and never moved from the house over the lake. Her children moved out, and she retired. As she got older, one of her children urged her to sell the big house over the lake. It was too big for her now that she lived alone. She resisted and resisted until finally one day, she relented. She made the arrangements and set a date for the realtor to come and see the house so it could be listed. When the day came, the realtor arrived and rang the bell repeatedly only to have no one answer the door. With the prospect of the house being sold looming over her, the wife died that day before the realtor arrived – 25 years to the day that her husband had committed suicide in the very same house.

The song is my (possibly) romanticized version of this story. A little bit like the movie Ghost. Or at least like I think the movie Ghost might be like since I’ve never actually seen it. In my mind, the wife knew that selling the house meant abandoning the husband who’d stayed behind to wait for her. With the prospect of selling the house becoming real, she died in the house, and their spirits left together. (That is, if you believe in that sort of thing.)

Musically, I really tried to do something different. Many of my friends are into way cooler music than I am capable of (or apparently interested in) making. Generally somewhat downtrodden and sad stuff to my ears. So I tried to inject more melancholy into this track both to be subject matter appropriate and to see if I was even capable of making some music that might be in the spectrum of music some of my friends seem to like. Hope you enjoy it.

In These Walls

[Lyrics]


Lyrics — In These Walls

December 29th, 2009

Here are the lyrics for In These Walls.

VERSE

Just took the moment
to end the torment
I couldn’t know that I would trade your life for mine

I had no choices
Shut out the noises
I know we’d hoped that everything would turn out fine

CHORUS

I’m in these walls
Nowhere for me to go
I’m in these walls
Somewhere deep inside you’ve known

I’m in these walls
Don’t you leave me too
It’s in these walls
That I wait for you

VERSE

Through the crack reminds me
Of the stack that sat beside me
The details of the cases and how they start to swim

I’m looking at you
I’d have loved to join you
But the letters on the pages felt like they were closing in

CHORUS

I’m in these walls
Nowhere for me to go
I’m in these walls
Somewhere deep inside you’ve known

I’m in these walls
Don’t you leave me too
It’s in these walls
That I wait for you

BRIDGE

She’s on her way now
Don’t wait for another minute
Time to decide now
Are you out or are you in it
She’s on her way now
And she’s pretty close to finding
She’s at the door now
And the doorbell sound’s unwinding

VERSE

I think that heaven’s up there
But Helen I’d rather stay where
I could feel your fingers running circles down my arm

Now I just imagine
If I hadn’t turned my badge in
Those tidal waves of sadness, they no longer do me harm

CHORUS

I’m in these walls
Nowhere for me to go
I’m in these walls
Somewhere deep inside you’ve known

I’m in these walls
Don’t you leave me too
It’s in these walls
That I wait for you


Song — Song for Summer

June 1st, 2009

As I was noodling around with these chords, beautiful summer has arrived here in Seattle. I couldn’t help but look out the window of our little music room at the gorgeous weather, flowers, blue skies, and people having fun on the water and asking myself, what am I doing inside on such a lovely day? And the answer is, writing a song about how I love the summer months as long as I’m safely ensconced indoors and out of the sun. It’s not my fault that I’m borderline translucent and in danger of melting in summer sun like a chocolate bar on the backseat of a car in July. But keep in mind, those of us who prefer it inside, aren’t necessarily anti-summer. We love watching it from the safety of air-conditioned shade.

Strangely (or perhaps not so strangely), I’ve been working on another song (that’s as of yet unreleased) that is an interesting exploration as it’s more in line with the musical taste of many of my friends as opposed to the traditional poppy sugary tunes coming out of my computer. I just wanted to see if I could do it. But something about this chord progression and the weather outside forced me to create this track instead. And special thanks to my son Sivan who came up with a useful rhyme for “sink”. So with apologies to James Taylor, and everyone else who writes fun poppy songs about having fun outside during the summer, here’s a summer song for the rest of us.

Song for Summer

[Lyrics]


Lyrics — Song for Summer

June 1st, 2009

Here are the lyrics for Song for Summer.

VERSE

Say what, you know, I do
In just a minute I’ll be along there too
Put on the sandals, the sunscreen, and the shorts right now
I love the sand and surf and the sun and how

I would love to go out but there is work to do
I can see the ocean from the inside too
And I promise to be there when my work is done
There’s no way that I would miss all that fun

CHORUS

Lonely feeling round my bonfire heart
No one understands that I’m a wave apart, and
I like the summer from inside
(With the air conditioning on)

VERSE

James Taylor writes those summer songs
Give someone else a chance James, it won’t be long
Before some other people with their other ways
Enjoy the summer months out of those harmful rays

Everyone’s sunning, almost nothing on
I’ll be waving from the window with my sweater on
Spend all night looking, did your mole change shape
I’ll be sleeping like a baby, with my clear landscape

CHORUS

Lonely feeling round my bonfire heart
No one understands that I’m a wave apart, and
I like the summer from inside
(With the air conditioning on)

BRIDGE

Don’t you think I want to be there
Don’t you think It doesn’t seem fair (why do I burn so easily)
Don’t I know that’s where the girls are with their looks
There might be a couple of girls inside, who don’t like sand in their books

VERSE

Friday morning’s you’re all suddenly sick
I’m alone in the office, that’s what I would pick
Cause it’s hot outside and as the climate warms
We’ll have summer during Christmas, and July snow storms

But I’m well prepared you’re gonna wanna be me
I’ll be watching all of summer on my TV
When the ice cap melts and Florida sinks
You’re gonna wanna get a ticket to my private ice rink

CHORUS

Lonely feeling round my bonfire heart
No one understands that I’m a wave apart, and
I like the summer from inside
(With the air conditioning on)

REFRAIN

Lonely feeling round my bonfire heart
No one understands that I’m a wave apart


Song — My Chemical Brain

May 18th, 2009

I don’t know crap about this topic but it hasn’t stopped me from having my interest piqued. Specifically, I’m talking about brain chemistry. Both the mechanics of it and the way we manipulate what those mechanics do these days are super interesting. Even more amazing to me is how people’s emotions (usually negative emotions) can be a simple result of a chemical imbalance in their brain. Wow. I realize the drugs we have today are both amazing relative to nothing and very blunt instruments relative to what we’ll have down the road. And while I haven’t tried any of them, I sometimes wonder what people did before they existed. Mostly suffered I suppose. :|

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a track here. That’s not because I haven’t been writing music. There are several songs in the queue and this song has been mostly written and recorded for months. I think it’s just that I’m getting pickier with each song I put out so it’s harder to get it right. (Well, harder to get it as right as I am capable of getting it.) This song isn’t quite happy enough, but it reminds me of something I’d hear in an Apple commercial. So… hey, Apple, how about licensing this. I’ll rewrite the lyrics. Seriously. Whatever you want. I have no shame. Back to the song though… not to pat myself on the back, but I am particularly fond of the way the bridge/intro makes a surprise cameo appearance in the last rendition of the chorus at the end of the song. It makes me happy when I hear it.

My Chemical Brain

[Lyrics]


Lyrics — My Chemical Brain

May 18th, 2009

Here are the lyrics for My Chemical Brain.

VERSE

My chemical brain sends me from one bright thought to another
I’m falling and reeling, I skin one knee and then hurt the other
My chemical brain sends out a pulse and the new ones come faster
The back and forth’s tiring and my feet are embedded in plaster
And I stall…

CHORUS

Euphoric now I’m crying,
Historic low and I’m dying to see
The way that you stay even
I can almost taste the way it should be

VERSE
My chemical brain sends me from one pair of arms to the other
I’m tumbling and turning in and out on my way to another
My chemical brain flips and wants some time alone, and I am
I’m the last train it’s cold it’s night and I’m almost home
And I fall…

CHORUS

Euphoric now I’m crying,
Historic low and I’m dying to see
The way that you stay even
I can almost taste the way it should be

BRIDGE

When the neuron fires
And when the synapse retires
The receptor binds
Electricity blinds

Again the neuron fires
And when the synapse retires
The receptor binds
Electricity blinds

VERSE

My chemical brain is doing backflips and then does a tumble
Trampoline bounces twice three times and I start to fumble
My chemical brain it pops you free and wants you to return, and
then it changes its mind, lights a match, and watches you burn
And I call…

CHORUS

Euphoric now I’m crying,
Historic low and I’m dying to see
The way that you stay even
I can almost taste the way it should be

(repeats, with bridge on top)


Just in time for the holidays… get your own original Sugar Fix song!

December 11th, 2008

This is clearly a bad idea but I’ve decided to move forward anyway. That’s usually my pattern for getting into trouble.

I’ve just put up an eBay auction to let people bid on choosing the concept for an original Sugar Fix indie rock/pop musical creation. You can get all the details on eBay.

Let the bidding begin!


Song — Brookline

November 23rd, 2008

For the bulk of the years of growing up that I actually remember, what I would consider the “formative” years, I lived in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Not to be confused with the super irritating Brookline, New Hampshire that would show up in school closing announcements only to leave me extra disappointed.) During and after college I didn’t think much of my high school years at Brookline High School. And in fact, I ended up losing touch with every friend I made there. But thanks to the internets I have reconnected with many of them, some very recently. It’s been super positive, and it’s stirred up all these great memories of my time in Brookline. That’s what this song is about. These three incidents in particular:

  • My friend Pete works in Kenmore Square in the building next to the one with the Citgo sign. He summons me. I comply immediately. We climb up to his roof and scramble to the adjacent roof. (They were attached so it’s not that impressive.) We climb up inside the Citgo sign, we can see into Fenway Park (Cool!), and I shut it off. This is the most hoodlumy thing I have ever done. We immediately bolt. I am later admonished by my friend Ethan. He tells me I should go back and turn it on. I do not comply.
  • My friends, Roee, Pete, Ethan, Amy, and others spend an inordinate amount of time in Pete’s basement doing what kids do in basements. We also drive around a lot in Roee’s used Mercedes. When it’s late, and we’re starving, we head to the open-all-night falafel truck in the hospital district in Brookline. I order shishkabab and hummus every time. I try to use the lingo the staff uses to order and I am soundly rebuffed. I am convinced this is a political statement by the Lebanese dude taking my order. I enjoy the Shishkabab Hummus despite our political differences.
  • My friend Roee works in Brooks Drugs in Coolidge Corner. He tries to get off work early so he can go to a party he is hosting at his house while his parents are out of town. Cliche? Yes. His boss won’t let him go. Roee says he’s going on break never to return. That night at the party, 300 kids show up. Things have gotten out of control. We call the cops on our own party before the house is completely destroyed. We beg the cops not to say who called them. We were already nerds in high school. If the cops had told who made the call, it would have been our death sentence.

For years after leaving Brookline I would always think of it fondly. And when I went back, I would try to analyze the place and understand specifically what it was I missed about it as if I could somehow make a list, add those things to my new home, and no longer feel homesick. Of course, that’s silly. It’s just where I grew up. So, that’s the space it will always occupy.

Thanks to Kira (fellow Brookline-ite, though I didn’t meet her until after high school) for feedback through the production process.

Anyone from Brookline, I hope you enjoy this. And, oh yeah, fuck Newton!

Brookline

[Lyrics]

BTW — here are some additional Brookline stories that were candidates but didn’t make it into the song (names hidden to protect the guilty):

  • Friend works in video store in Coolidge Corner. Puts on borderline pornographic movie on main monitors in the store. Customer walks in with kid. Freaks out. Friend is fired.
  • About to perform with my band in the school talent show. Head to the bathroom. Look over to the end stall and see two pairs of legs. One male standing, one female kneeling (facing male). Takes me months to figure out was actually happening. I was what they generously called a “late-bloomer”.
  • Friend and I are sent by friend’s parents to buy groceries for the house. Friend and I enter into a state before going shopping that leads to us spend hours at the supermarket and buying $400 worth of groceries. This was hard to do in 1986. No Wholefoods.
  • I show up late to my own SAT. (Not a dream.) I have forgotten my ID. The typing teacher who is administering the test doesn’t recognize me starts quizzing me to establish my identity. Having never been to homeroom, I honestly do not actually know the name of my homeroom teacher. My fellow students laugh. They only eventually vouch for me. I am eventually allowed to take the test.
  • I audition for the school musical. The British drama teacher makes fun of me for shaking my leg while I sing comparing me to Elvis. My fellow students laugh. I play the sergeant in the Pirates of Penzance.
  • I am about to get beaten up by a “point kid”. I am heading to grab my backpack and a quick thinking friend grabs me and tells me the kid is not worth it and I should not take the knife out of my backpack. The point kid is convinced I was about to pull a knife on him and takes off. I am amazed at how quick thinking my friend is.
  • Some white kid that we interact with once-in-awhile utters the following statement: “Hey… I know karate. I hang out with Chinese kids.” I shit you not.
  • My favorite english teacher is leaning over a desk. I congratulate her on being pregnant. She is not. This is the last time I ever do this.
  • Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science lived in a mansion in Brookline. The mansion is now owned by the church. It has a gorgeous pool. We sneak in there to swim. We are chased off by the caretaker who lives on the grounds.
  • My friend is housesitting for some family. We all hang out at this tiny house and do countless inappropriate and illicit things in the house while they are gone. it is like our own private crackhouse without the crack.
  • On my way to a friends house, who I visit regularly, I always pass a particular house. For some reason, 4 out of 5 times I pass this house, there are scraps of porn littering the lawn. This goes on for months. I have no idea why. (I often pause to examine said porn.)
  • On the last day of school, I am mugged by two dudes who don’t go to our school. The cops catch them. At the trial, they wear the exact same clothes they wore on the day of the mugging. I think they thought that was part of the requirement for the trial. This makes them even easier to identify. They are not smart. The public defender tries to get me to admit that it might not be my walkman. I am forced to admit in court and on the record that the cassette in it was a custom tape I ripped from a live Billy Joel concert VHS tape and therefore could not be someone else’s. My musical taste is exposed as way uncool, but I get back my walkman and my $8. The two dudes go to jail.
  • We’re all driving around aimlessly in Brookline. We pull up behind a cop. My friend who’s driving honks at the cop. Seriously. Honks at the cop. The cop gets out. Gives us a hard time. Eventually lets us go. My friend is a dope.
  • I work at Star Market as a bag boy. I am desperate to be a cashier. They won’t do it. Eventually they put me in the bake shop. I give gourmet chocolate chunk cookies to cute girls at super discounted prices. I keep up the practice despite the fact that it is never effective in getting me a date. I am not yet “results-oriented”.
  • I eventually get an earring and am told by Star Market management that I need to take it out at work or I will be fired. I quit my job at Star Market. I get a job making more money at a state government office downtown. Nobody cares about my earring because they are all busy calling in “sick” on Fridays during the summer so they can “recuperate” at the beach over a long weekend.
  • During my senior year I date a freshman. She is sophomore age, but the damage is done. I’m a senior dating a freshman. I don’t care. At least I have a girlfriend.

That’s probably enough.


Lyrics — Brookline

November 23rd, 2008

Here are the lyrics for Brookline.

VERSE A

It’s 4:45 on friday
Summer job winding down and you say
Get over to Kenmore Square in time

Head up to your roof, inspect it
The building next door’s connected
We can climb up inside the Citgo sign

VERSE B

That switch is so big it’s humming
I’m the one, I switch it off, and now
You want me to go back turn it on
Fuck you no way not me, no how

And it was dark for several games

VERSE A

It’s past 1am on Tuesday
The smoke settles down and you say
Let’s get some food at the falafel truck

The doctor’s done ordering and I
want the shishkebab sandwich, that guy
who’s taking my order thinks I suck

VERSE B

I know that he knows just what i want
He won’t admit it, not tonight
My Lebanese friend, please feed me
I’m so hungry, I don’t care who’s right

And now I’m so full of lamb

CHORUS

Remember a time when i would never leave you
Remember a time when you were always there
Look real close and I can almost see you
Look real close and I am standing right there

VERSE A

It’s 2:26 on friday
Shuffle up to your boss and you say
Will you let me off early for my party tonight

Asshole says no, you steal snacks
You say you’re going on break, be right back
Are you gonna return, you say “yeah right”

VERSE B

Green line from coolidge corner
straight to your house setting up the keg
300 people showed up
We’re the ones who who called the cops and begged

Please come and throw everyone out

CHORUS

Remember a time when i would never leave you
Remember a time when you were always there
Look real close and I can almost see you
Look real close and I am standing right there

ENDING REFRAIN

I’m so there…


Song — Take the Picture

November 10th, 2008

I tend to take a lot of pictures. I found out early on in my photo-taking tenure that the more pictures I took, the more likely that some of them would come out nicely. Of course, I’m always the one behind the camera. As a parent, I also have wondered just how much of the time I spend with my kids they will remember (if any). My father recently asked me if I remembered how we used to watch Star Trek together. I honestly couldn’t remember. He was crushed. It occurred to me that many years down the road when my kids look at our family pictures they won’t see me in any of them because I was the one behind the camera. Something tells me that this detail will be lost on them as they repeat the cycle and tell me they don’t remember me being there. ;)

For some reason I decided that I wanted to use a string quartet in one of my songs. I’ve never composed music for a string quartet, and I’m not even sure that I’m qualified to write the little pop songs that I do write. That hasn’t stopped me yet, so string quartets watch out! Needless to say my first rendition used all the built in strings my software had to offer. And while I am no snob when it comes to electronic instruments, they just didn’t have the kind of sound I was looking for. In search of something more personal I was lucky to find to musicians who were willing to help me. Nathan, my daughter’s cello teacher supplied the cello for this song, and my pal Jenny played the violin. Between them I think they did an awesome job resembling a string quartet. If you like the song, they deserve the credit. If you don’t, blame me.

Take the Picture

[Lyrics]