Our last SpinTunes song received a much better reception from the judges, though it still resulted in some widely different scores (which is a good thing, I think). This time around we came up with a piece that sounds like it might have been a better fit, in musical terms at least, for the first round challenge:
There was a bit of grumping about this challenge in the Bordet household. After two fairly broad prompts that focused on the content of the songs, this time round we had been hoping for something more technical or at least more challenging:
Non-Stop Hits – Write a song that features looooong run on sentences.
Shortly after the challenge was posted, Katharina posted the following:
The moment your husband explains to you he's heterosocksual cause he never wears matching socks.
— Katharina B (@KMLaw) February 9, 2015
This developed into a full-blown conversation over on Facebook, with various people offering their own alternatives to sock-wearing terminology, so it didn’t take too much of a jump to figure out that this would make a fun topic for a song, something a little more cheerful than our previous two efforts. Katharina wrote all the lyrics within the following day, leaving me with almost a week to come up with the music.
The song was to have been another duet, but early on in the week we both came down with colds, so by the time we were ready to record it, Katharina found herself barely able to talk, let alone sing. A last-minute change of lyrical viewpoint took us away from the original first person narratives and I ended up doing all the vocals, singing about a couple and their personal preferences for knitted footwear – their ‘socksuality’.
Now that progress is being made with the studio, most of my instruments are living down there, leaving me with whatever instrument I happen to have brought in with me. This week it was the mandolin, which is a good choice for a more upbeat tune, but it did mean that we ended up writing two jigs in a row. Before I even knew what the subject of the song would be, I began putting together a little folky tune that repeated over four chords. Once the lyrics were available, the tune itself was put aside, but because I had that chord progression going around in my head, that ended up becoming the basis for the chorus. The melody of the chorus bears no resemblance to the original jig, but is at least within my limited vocal range.
The verses took a couple of attempts to settle in, as I struggled to come up with something as upbeat as possible for a song that lyrically seems to want to cuddle up and drift off to sleep. In the end it was down to increasing the tempo a little and working out a bass line that would push the song along, but even when I reached that stage I didn’t really have a melody for the verses in mind. I recorded some simple picked arpeggios on both guitar and bouzouki for the verses and a gentle background tremolo melody for the mandolin throughout the chorus, wanting to keep the song true to its roots.
As it turned out, once the vocals had been recorded and I had edited down the arrangement into an almost final form, I tried dropping the original jig back over the chorus chords. Although it fitted perfectly, it clashed with the lyrics throughout the chorus, so I added a final repeat of the chorus and let the jig play out on the final fade.
Here is the full album for all the songs this round. There’s a poll for your favourites at the SpinTunes website, so please show your support for any songs you enjoy!