Time and it’s magical ruining qualities.

Have you ever bought an item of clothing you loved in the shop, only to take it out of the wardrobe a week later and realise you hate it? Or done something at work you’re proud of only to come back to it another day and wonder what the hell you were thinking?

If so, welcome to the world of my music production.

It has long been my achilles heel, or perhaps my achilles ear, that my mind seems to lie to me when I’m first putting a song together. This can apply to  writing songs, or to recording them.

Many a time I have come away from a 3 hour writing session absolutely delighted with a song I’ve written, the lyrics are great, the structure is interesting, the melody is lovely. I record a quick demo so I don’t forget it. I go to sleep that night absolutely delighted with myself. I wake up and excitedly remembering, I get the demo onto my ipod so I can hear it again on the way to work (I have spent most of the last 3 months listening to my own demo’s over and over on the way to work, exciting eh?) . I step out the door. 3 minutes later and I’m wondering where the great song has gone.

There is some sort of novelty factor which makes me believe almost everything is great when I first write or record it. I don’t understand it, it’s as though through sheer enthusiasm my mind blanks itself to the songs faults and I only hear the good things. What I really don’t understand is how, when I’m completely aware of this, I still can’t stop it happening.

If I make a bad curry, I know it’s bad. If I play badly at football, I know it straight away (although that’s possibly not a good example as playing badly is the norm rather than the exception). So why can’t I tell when a song isn’t working out at first?

The song I uploaded last week from the studio session. I loved it. I came away from the studio thinking “wow, that is so nice, a lovely song with nice sounding guitars and a nice melody”. I was very happy with it. Of the two I had made a start on, I chose ‘Tread the Line’ to upload onto here. I listened to it all last weekend, and was still happy with it. Then I left it….until yesterday.

Suddenly the things I liked about it before, the clean sound of the guitar, the restrained, gentle playing, these are the things I hate. The guitar has gone from nice in a ‘clean, beautiful’ way, to nice in a ‘soul-less, character-less way’. The instruments around it are too refined, the vocal is without emotion. It’s all too clean, too dull.

I still think the song itself has potential, but I spent two days taking it down a dead end in the studio. The rhythm guitar needs re recording with more expression, and that means starting from scratch.

I guess this is why people have producers, somebody who is slightly detached from the process and can spot something like that immediately, rather than a week later.

Does this happen to other people or is it just me that is blinded by initial enthusiasm for something?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lifewith4cats
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 18:49:53

    hi, you critisize your work a lot. I hope that when you pass judgement on these songs you are not basing it only on your own opinion? Every time you mention that you ‘dropped’ a song I think to myself, “but wait… I mighta liked it.”
    You’r probably much more experienced than me but what I do when I cant decide if I like a song: I go find a listener… someone who has no musical ability but just loves music. Then I play the song for them, Once as I wrote it, and then again twise as I think it should be. I ask them which song they liked better and why?
    Every artist is their own worst critic.


  2. Tom
    Mar 07, 2011 @ 08:41:07

    Something that I’ve learned from FAWM is that just because I think a song is one of my weaker ones, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world will agree… I’ve got tons of positive comments on songs that I’ve thought were disappointing. Although I guess if you really don’t like the song then you might not be bothered what anyone else thinks anyway!

    P.S. Your email (the googlemail one) appears to have gone rogue – I’ve received a couple of bits of spam from it overnight.


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