MP3 Michael Dyer - What I Just Found
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14 MP3 Songs in this album (47:44) !
Related styles: Easy Listening: Adult contemporary, Easy Listening: Soft Rock, Type: Lyrical
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I normally write soft rock, soft blues or folk-rock songs. Here, I have collected together those songs I composed that fit more into the categories of: pre-60s pop, soft jazz, show-tunes or easy listening. (Some of these songs I imagine being sung by singers like Phil Collins, Michael Bublé or Nora Jones.) The arrangements, however, do not contain any brass instruments or violin (rather, piano and/or guitar are the core instruments).
1. Hold Me Like You Used To Do -- I was in Guatemala during a time of year when many fireflies are out at night. I thought of how fleeting their lives are and thus the lyrics came about.
2. She Sprinkles Her Love -- I came up with a very light-sounding chord progression and was starting to think up words for it when my wife said, "If you put words to such light, airy music then you'll have to just sprinkle them here-and-there very carefully." Immediately, her statement gave me the idea for this song, in which love is being sprinkled on someone. Sprinkles are light and so I thought of light objects (soap bubbles) and "sprinkly words" (such as "flutter", "twinkle") and the lyrics kind of wrote themselves in about an hour.
3. Lost the Lyrics -- I came up with the music (chords and melody) but was unable to think up any lyrics for a long time. I began thinking "What if the song were about someone having trouble coming up with appropriate lyrics?" I then wrote a poem (titled "No Lyrics to This Song", which is about twice as long as the song). I cut that poem down and reworked it to become the near-final lyrics. At that point my wife suggested that, instead of claiming there are no lyrics at all, the singer could have lost the lyrics. This change required only a few fixes to the first two lines of the song and it was done. Notice that, at one point, the singer claims that the song has no chords, rhythm, bass or lead guitar riffs (when it actually does).
4. I Never Knew -- This song came about because I became interested in the chord progression: A Adim A Adim, which, when given the right melody, has an old-fashioned, quaint sound to it -- like the music used in Laurel and Hardy shows or the theme song: "Good Ol' Days" (composed by Leroy Shield for the "Little Rascals / Our Gang" movie shorts in the 1920s and 1930s, with child roles: Spanky, Buckwheat, Froggy, Darla and Alfalfa).
5. What I Just Found â The music came about because I was interested in using augmented chords in a song. Also, I happened to know a young woman who was on-again/off-again with her boyfriend. She worried he might "be the one" and she might have lost him because of having taken him for granted. That conversation developed into the lyrics for the song. For example, I thought of how someone might cut down someone with clever quips but now regret it and that turned into the verse: "I want to sever every dumb or clever jab that ever made you cry". Once I had such an odd rhyme ("sever/ever"), I felt that I needed to find correspondingly odd rhymes for the rest of those musical segments (those with the augmented chord), in order to keep the song lyrically balanced. As a result, I ended up with the rhymes of: "gather/rather", "feather/tethered" and "blundered/asunder".
6. Sighing Skies Above Your Eyes -- The melody for this song was inspired by hearing a jazz singer do some scatting. (Scatting occurs when the singer improvises by singing rapid riffs of nonsense sounds.) I decided to take a scat riff: g/af#/ge/f#d/e c/d/ca/bg (here "/" indicates that the next note is higher while "" indicates lower) and, instead of scatting, turn this riff into the main melody. Since it was scat-inspired, the melody is sung somewhat quickly. The lyrics to this song came about because I am quite worried about a teenage relative of mine who has a serious drug addiction problem. For those unaware of drug culture, here are the meanings of the drug-related slang terms in the song: Blow, coke, crack, rock, snow and stardust refer to cocaine. "Black tar", "brown sugar", "horse" and "smack" indicate heroin. "Echoes", "ecstasy" and "speed" are methamphetamines while "bluebirds" refers to barbiturates.
7. Our Love Crimes -- I'd playing around with the chord progression: G G+ Em G+ (which reminded me vaguely of some old show-tune that I can't recall). A few days later the idea came to me of drawing a parallel between criminal activities and love-making. I also liked the challenge of finding appropriate rhymes for the crime-related words in the song, such as: "misdemeanor", "escapades", "heist", "frisk", "villain", "capers", "hijack", "larceny" and "loot".
8. Didn't Have A Clue (Revisited) -- This song first appeared on my CD: Aboriginal Angel. Some lyrics have been changed in this version and about a dozen small words have been removed. The song is also sung in a slightly more bluesy style.
9. Our Cylinders -- I wanted to write a song about the physical aspect of the act of love, but I wanted to describe it without any hint of vulgarity. Then, suddenly, the idea of two cylinders came to mind. Also, I realized that connecting two cylinders can create a telescope, periscope or kaleidoscope. I then wrote a poem titled "Our Cylinders" and later came up with music for it. Once the music was composed, I had to make alterations to the poem in order to fit the associated lyrics to the song.
10. Sweet and Sour -- I was in bed and about to go to sleep when the melody for this song suddenly came to me. That really woke me up and so I got up and worked out the underlying chords. Also, I decided that since this song is more like a pop song than a folk or rock song, it would have two key-shifts in it. Usually, when I add a key-shift, the key is shifted up two half-steps (semitones). In this song I experimented and discovered that one half-step, two-half-steps and even 3-half-step key-shifts all sounded fine, so the first key-shift in this song is a half-step while the second one is two half-steps. After the music was all worked out I then wrote the lyrics a few days later. Since the music sounded nostalgic to me, I ended up with lyrics about longing for a recently lost love.
11. Celestial Arrival 1 -- I've always wanted to make a CD of pure music but haven't had the time, so I decided to compose one purely instrumental piece, to appear on each new CD. This piece has celestial feeling for me â thus the title. Usually, I first work out an entire piece and then, in a separate stage, spend time recording/producing it. In this case, I worked recording the piece segment by segment, as I composed it. As a result, once I had finished composing the piece I had also, simultaneously, finished much of its production. (The vocal and bell-like sounding parts I play on keyboard synthesizer. The twangy notes I played on guitar.)
12. Soaring, The Sighing Birds â I was revisiting an old song of mine ("Coasting, The Crying Birds" which appears on my CD: Our Unwinding Time). Here, I added a new musical chorus, so I had to write additional lyrics. Also, my wife said that every time I had sung "coasting" she had always heard "ghosting" or "go sting", so I decided to change "coasting" to "soaring" and "crying" to "sighing". As a result, this new arrangement ended up also with a new title. While I was at it, I made other, little changes; for example, "close-ed window panes" became "painted window panes".
13. You Augment Me -- When the sentence ("you augment me when I'm diminished") came to me, I realized that these actions could refer to augmented and diminished chords. That gave me the idea of writing lyrics that would mention different chords and, as they got mentioned, that type of chord would be played. First, I wrote a poem that referred to different chords, including: 9ths, suspended 4ths, major/minor chords and different types of 7ths. Then, I started writing the music. It was a difficult process -- to both match the music to the poem and to modify the poem to fit the changing music. Not only did the music have to match the mentioned chords, but the resulting lyrics had to associate different chords with different aspects of a woman; for example, she has a "breezy-easy major 7th smile" (and so major 7ths are played at that point).
14. What I Just Found (Plain) â The track 5 arrangement of this song contains keyboard, bass, two different lead guitars, rhythm guitar and picking, along with percussion and harmony on parts of the vocals. My daughters heard me singing while playing just the piano and told me they liked this stripped-down version. They suggested that I include an extra track with this (plain) version and let the listeners decide which they prefer. The tempo here is also a bit slower.
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