Jun 19, 2013

Little Girl, A Full Heart

Little girl, your tongue turned black when you spat at the world.
Little girl, you drifted away. Long after the music started to stray away...


There is a slight difference between a song that tells a story and a song that is a story. A musical. The kind in movies and Broadway. Maybe it's the difference between being the character and the narrator. Or perhaps its having several characters in one segment? Where the music is enhancing not only the overall story but also personalities of the characters. Whatever it is. There is a difference.



Little Girl, for all purposes, is a song from a musical that never existed. An attempt to portray characters as themselves. Though not completely. I didn't want it to be too over the top. Less actual Broadway, more the impression of. I don't think it would do to have an actual musical number. There is a fine line. Some great songs have come out of musicals, but few stand on their own as something I would dig on a record. Most need the context of the full story.

You think it's better lonely, isn't that what you told me?
You want to make your money. You better think of me only


The main key keeping this song falling in to full chorus-line being I narrate about the Little Girl character, rather than her singing her own part. Without the visuals the story is more ambiguous. So we had to set mood with music. That is the main reason for the dramatic shifts in style that move through the song.

There is the main section about the girl. Running away from her problems. And a violent antagonist who's holding her back.  Who is the character of the bridge played by Abe. - Who did a great job getting in a villainous character voice. - This is set by the walking bass line, the rolling piano rhythm, and the high-hat hit. Then for the bridge, the music gets a lot more aggressive. Everyone playing on the same pulsing attacking beat. This is the villain theme.

Then there is a dance interlude. Imagined to be her deciding on what to do with her life. I pictured a dancer moving back and forth across the stage. In throws of confusion. Her choice to stay captive to her past. Or venture to the future. It felt like a classic musical storyline.

The bossa-nova break is actually tricky to get. The time switch. The feel change. It all depends on how the drummer can handle it. I loved the octave piano solo Abe does. My bass work was really fun. Scaling up and down. Writing a McCartney-esque  melody. Check out a live version from Hear Ya:





Finally it ends in the solo. Which is the culmination of the parts. The moment she decides. I felt it was important to leave it up in the air. I like the idea of not-knowing what the future is.

Little girl, you're a flat back woman with no where to turn
Little girl, take a chance make a run, you better hide from the gun

I always wanted to give writing this kinda piece a shot. It was an itch I had to scratch. One I'm proud of. A real fine moment on the record too. I think the idea might sound too lame for some. But songwriting has to be fearless. Regardless of what others might say or think, ideas should be explored. With a full heart. Unashamed. It would be impossible to work with fear of rejection. Not that it doesn't cross my mind, I just don't give in. Be bold. Be daring. Most important, Try something new.

her face, like I had never seen before
beamed into the dark. a song, cutting
the corners of our hearts. with a collective gasp
of an audience unaware of her art. of stripping us,
cleaving off and discarding our worst parts,
leaving their seats lighter than at the start.


-rene


image source: http://www.cinemaretro.com/uploads/cyd.jpg