Here we are at week #18! The word prompt for this week was TODAY.
After thinking about the Smashing Pumpkins song with the word “today” in it, (“Today is the greatest…”), I set out to write a song about being present and living your life mindfully.
I’ve talked about my yoga and meditation practice before, and I guess it yearned to make an appearance in one of my songs. Funny enough, I had started writing the lyrics on Sunday, and then in Monday morning’s yoga class, Vivekan’s little Dharma talk intro touched on the very subject I was writing about: how to live a life without regret, (actually, that was more of the secondary topic, the main one being about attachment to the body, but I digress…)
I had so much to say about this, it was challenging to keep it concise. In brief, I wanted to say how being present and mindful will allow you to make sound decisions so you have no regrets. But I also wanted to express how everyone is on a different part of their journey, so even if we’re not that good at being present…er, keep at it. See? A lot of stuff. I had several pages of rewrites, and felt like I was treading dangerous “corny” territory. But I had to keep going, and take the risk.
The result is, well, a little sappy, but I think I got pretty close to what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.
Melodically, this required some rewrites as well! Again, sounding a bit corny, I wasn’t sure how to go from the verses to the chorus. In fact, the chorus had a completely different melody in the first round, but I didn’t like how it was flowing. So I stopped trying and gave it a rest. And after quieting my mind, and breathing (like it was my first time), I gave it another try, and the new melody just flowed out with ease. *cue endorphines* It’s good when I take my own advice.
Check it out…lyrics below the video!
Are you where you want to be today?
If you reflect on all you’ve done to date
Would you feel disappointed?
Would you feel dissatisfied?
Would you feel like you’re missing something?
And your life is slipping by?
We all have our paths to tread
At the pace we set
But we look a million miles ahead
Wonderin’ what’s next
If we slow it down and
Hear the sounds of peace
We open possibilities
Wake up & breathe like it was your first time
Be still, be present & quiet your mind
Do you feel joy inside you?
Do you feel alive?
Carry this in all you do
And everything will feel just right
Ok, I totally got inspiration for this song through a very geeky source: Jurassic Park. I might have an unhealthy obsession with the movie. Every time I’ve seen it (15 times, or so, and counting: 7 times in the movie theater, and 1 recently for the IMAX 3D 20-year anniversary, the rest of the times on TV), I come out totally believing there’s an abandoned island with dinosaurs in it. Come on! They look SO REAL!!!
But I digress, this week’s word prompt for the Ignition Lab was ILLUSION. There was a conversation in Jurassic Park, that I thought was pretty impactful:
John Hammond: When we have control again… Dr. Ellie Sattler: You never had control, that’s the illusion! I was overwhelmed by the power of this place. But I made a mistake, too, I didn’t have enough respect for that power and it’s out now. The only thing that matters now are the people we love. Alan and Lex and Tim. John, they’re out there where people are dying.
Sometimes, we get so obsessed with an idea, we have a hard time letting go and keep trudging–at the expense of others. This is not to be confused with putting in extra effort to make things work– but when you need to ABANDON SHIP, or maybe rethink the whole idea altogether. So this is the subject/topic for this song.
Musically, for some reason, I’m really enjoying singing in a lower range. I find it quite dramatic. The beginning “melody” (which is not very melodic) sounds dangerously close to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”, which was a little distracting, but I had keep going to find out exactly what I was hearing. As it was unfolding, I heard bits of lyrics and bits of melody. Sometimes I would just hear a melody (in my head, in case you wondered) and would have to find what lyrics would go there. Other moments, I understood what lyrics belonged and had to find the melody for it.
I really enjoyed playing the descending bass line, that depending on which part of the song you’re in, ends differently.
Here’s the video, and the lyrics below. Enjoy!
You think you have control
You feel so strong and bold
You think you have a hold
Of this situation
Is this part of your plan?
What you don’t understand
It’s not in your hands
No, it never was
So many lies you tell yourself
And when your shit comes all undone
Will you be the first to turn and run
Oh when, oh when will you finally learn
That all of your plans have taken a turn
Oh when, oh when will you finally see
You can never predict how the future will be
Maybe you’ve met your match
Maybe you’re too attached
Maybe there was a catch
In your documentation
This shit’s gone way too far
You’re acting so bizarre
I don’t know who you are
Don’t hid away from your mistakes
And when you hang your head in shame
You’ll be the only one to blame
Let go a little
Just think a little
Adjust a little
Let go of the illusion
Ok, I might’ve gotten a little weird. Maybe I just wanted to use my toy piano. Maybe I only heard one line on the toy piano, and decided the whole song should wrap around it. (It’s mostly the latter.)
The word prompt for this week was FRAGILE. I kept hearing this little line on the toy piano, a thematic melody that reoccurs throughout the song. Because the toy piano has a very bright (annoying) sound, I thought it best to add bass and drums to the background so it’s not alone. The aftermath isn’t …TERRIBLE I think, but I probably wouldn’t keep the song like this if I were to fully produce/record it. It’s like toy piano gone wild or something, but fun to do nonetheless.
Lyrically, I wanted to convey an image of being adrift at sea feeling very vulnerable but recognizing that it’s temporary. I wanted to keep the melody really, really simple, and have the thematic melody on the toy piano be the star. The beats behind the track are very trip-hoppy which was sorta fun to play a toy piano to.
Check out the video below, and the lyrics are below that. Enjoy!
I don’t know how I got here
Hanging on just by a string
The wheel was set for me to steer
But I’ve lost sight of everything
The moon hangs in the air so still
It casts a glow on half my face
I’ll get through this by my sheer will
And once again I’ll find my place
I know it’s temporary
I know it feels so scary
I know I’ll find some land
And keep my hands
From shaking so badly