Song-A-Week Songwriting Challenge – Jan. Review

Whew. I did it. I wrote – and recorded – 4 songs this month.  When I called this a songwriting challenge, I wasn’t kidding. It felt more than a bit like bootcamp getting them all recorded in time for today. And like bootcamp, the first month was pretty rough. I hadn’t factored in the time it would take to record them, and it was significant. I am using Logic on my laptop and am not very experienced. But one of the main points of this exercise is to get faster, and indeed I am already gaining proficiency in Logic, which is a bonus skill I hadn’t even considered.

What I’ve learned this month –

1) A week is not long enough to write a song. Not for me. At least not yet.

2) “Bacon” is a very user-friendly word in terms of rhyming.

3) Mandolins are metal!  \m/\m/

Okay! Without further ado, let’s set a few ground rules and get started.

I am asking for your feedback in the comments. When you give it, keep in mind, these are very rough sketches, not all fleshed out with arrangements and other instruments.  So when critiquing, please limit comments to melody, lyrics, and song structure. Of course, ideas for instrumentation will be welcomed, but telling me the arrangement needs work will yield a “duh” response. :+)

I have not posted the lyrics, as I was concerned they would take up too much space. I am hoping you’ll be able to hear them in the songs, but if you find it would be helpful to have them in written form let me know, and I’ll work out a way to post them online.

Lastly – please don’t snag the songs from this site and let them get out into the world. I do plan to use the best of these on albums and I don’t want to lose the element of newness. (If you really want one, just ask, and I’ll send it to you with the caveat that you don’t post it on the internet. This is the only  place I want them online until they are ready for release to the greater community. Thanks!)

Here’s what I came up with:

Week 1
Song for a Savior
This is a song about being our own heros. It’s the one that started this whole thing. (I.e. the one that Winter criticized  ;+) ).  I reworked it some based on Winter’s suggestions. It’s still got some swords and kings in it but I felt that the nature of the song couldn’t do without them. Heros need swords after all.   Song for a Savior.

Week 2
Engines of Doom
As the title suggests, this is a metal song, for Pandemonaeon. It’s part of a 4-song epic tale we will be telling based on an idea of Paul’s, about a great battle that seemingly cannot be won, and the despair that ensues, yet also with a quest that yields strengths we didn’t know we had. Sounds pretty cool eh? So where’s the mp3?  Well…here’s the thing. Paul and Winter don’t want to give this away beforehand, but have it be unveiled in it’s full glory at a live show. (Preserving the element of newness and all).  So they’ve forbidden it’s inclusion here. :+( .  I see their point really. But. Pout. Also – they threw it back. They said my part wasn’t “metal” enough. So back to the drawing board on that one. I think rewrites are going to have to be allowed  in this songwriting process! For now you’ll just have to take my word that I did complete a first draft of this song.

Week 3
It’s the Bacon
I wasn’t going to write a song about bacon. I really wasn’t. But one of you suggested it when I first put out the call for ideas, and it just kind of trickled into my head.  So I figured I’d polish it up and put it out there. Sometimes writing about something completely outside your usual fare really cracks open the idea flow, and that is what happened with this. I’ve been getting lots of ideas since I wrote this. (NOTE: I recorded this last night at midnight after a guest appearance in a friend’s show, so I was not at my most refreshed. Nor did I add any of the fun”oohs”, “ahhs” and vocal percussion I was hoping to add. I haven’t done this justice, but I simply ran out of time. Also – I just noticed, it doesn’t start until 15 seconds into the mp3). It’s The Bacon

Week 4
I am the Sand and Sea
Okay! This one is truly the belle of the ball as far as I’m concerned. This song represents the first real songwriting breakthrough I’ve had in a while, and I am very excited about it. It’s my first attempt at demonstrating that “Mandolins are Metal”. I hope you like where Im going with this, as I’ll be following this thread qite a lot more over the next year.  I-am-the-Sand-and-Sea

Okay! There you have it! Please leave your comments here and let me know your favorites, and why, which ones you’d like to see developed further, any ideas for instrumentation, what could be made better, etc.

Also please leave any ideas for next month’s songwriting endeavors here in the comments.

And THANK YOU for playing along!

 

17 thoughts on “Song-A-Week Songwriting Challenge – Jan. Review

  1. I like Song for a Savior best so far, but can’t wait for Engines of Doom.
    It’s the Bacon cuts out early too, probably because of that lost 15 seconds at the beginning.
    Thank you!

  2. Ummm. wow. I am sand and sea just speaks to me a lot, really excited to see where you go with this, and Mando-metal. WIN WIN WIN!!! ( yes that was a squeal, deal 😉

    Its the bacon.— so so funny. I know a pagan festival I am half tempted to sing just the chorus at breakfast, cause they serve that all the time

  3. Savior song is a really nice melody had a little trouble with hearing lyrics , skipped the bacon song & I am the land & sea is awesome, great sound , lyrics and has something new

  4. I love your music, Sharon! So inspiring and I love the rythm of your songs, especially the drumming at the end of Song for a Savior and It’s the Bacon. I didn’t like I am the Sand and the Sea but I don’t have good reason ; ). I love the more traditional-sounding songs…

    My favourite: It’s the Bacon

    Good luck with your songwriting! Keep up the good work.

  5. So… I am a conglomeration of emotions right now! Exhilarated, Elated, & experiencing Absolute impatience for the finished product on all these… LOL! I adore Song for a Savior. You know my affliction for Dragons… 😉 And It’s the Bacon, well, I couldn’t stop laughing! I loved it! Angie asked if you were “cracked” when you gave birth to this epic spin. LOLOL! And for I am the Sand and the Sea, well, I think it is going to be a phenomenal piece. P.S~ I would REALLY had liked to hear ENGINES OF DOOM, hint hint!!! (ahem, Winter!) lol! )o( xoxoxo

  6. Song for a Savior- melody and percussion were very nice but I had difficulty understanding the lyrics

    Can’t wait to hear Engines of Doom.

    It’s the Bacon – THANK YOU FOR THE TEARS ROLLING DOWN MY FACE! I hope Winter finds this delightful ditty a sincere declaration. Time to put bacon on the grocery list. I’m hungry.

    I am the Sand and Sea – powerful and sorrowful in tone. How DO you do that?!

  7. Well, firstly I loved them all! Song for a Savior would have to be my favorite. The music is so gorgeous.

  8. Dear Sharon:

    Just wanted to say thanks for being such an inspiration. And..Yes! I think it’s amazing what you’ve done with ANY song that is centered around “BACON”.. not to mention the others. p.s. You also seem to be one of the most uplifting things on my Twitter..

    What is Logic?

    (For years I’ve worked as a professional singer..got out of ‘the business’ mostly because of a dislike for the self-indulgent lifestyle — Became Wiccan and for the first time in years am now considering doing some songwriting again…much of this to do with your good example ..and the example of other spirituality-based music..Now I am entering the world of COMPUTERS.. 😉 ).

    I am only just exploring Pro Tools. Bye and continued good luck !

  9. I feel honored that you were compelled to write a song based on my suggestion, against your better judgment.

    Here are some new suggestions for February:
    1. A song about a train.
    2. A song about how great rock and roll is, in a style other than rock and roll.
    3. A song about how science will save humanity from the horrors of nature.

  10. I enjoyed them all but my favourite is ‘I Am the Sand and Sea’ *goosebumps*

    Ideas:
    > movements of a dark, mysterious woman
    > flame of the forge incorporating creation, destruction, power and transmutation
    > song of/for the tree spirits

    I look forward to hearing Engines of Doom sometime 🙂

  11. I’ve been listening to Song for a Savior. Really like it – and a lovely portrait in the initial verse. To me, feels like a pair of lines is missing at 0:38 – 0:45, to complete the theme of yearning and time past. The chord progression there is set up at about 0:28, and goes something like Cmaj Fmaj Am Dm with a descending vocal melody that works its way from G down to D.
    How about,
    (0:28)”Wishes that crumble to dust long forgotten,
    A parchment of yearning gone dry.
    (0:38) Her long ago blossoming all come to naught,
    And the light is dim in her eyes.”
    And if you did something like that, you could rise back to note F on “dry”, then take the melody on down to D on “eyes” to go with the return to the tonic.
    Or not. Anyway, I had fun with it! Thanks!

  12. Wow thanks All!

    I really appreciate all your feedback! Blogging is fun when it’s a two-way conversation!

    Rae, are you still reading this? I am not sure how to reach you, no link, perhaps on Twitter? IF you are still reading, Logic is recording software made by apple. If you have Pro-Tools you’re in good hands. I am glad to hear you are exploring music again!

    And Rob, thanks for your musically detailed answer.

    And thanks everyone, for encouraging me. :+)

  13. I am the Sand and Sea – I found it hard initially to get into it for the drums, I know these are just thrown together drafts, but the lack of compression made it feel like listening to 2 different songs at first. Once it really got into the song itself I realized how much I love it!
    Song for a Savior doesn’t even need much tweaking, it’s very lovely… and yes, I agree with you, it needs the swords and kings.
    Bacon is my first and last choice, fusing my favorite food with my favorite music style from one of my favorite vocalists is still a bit mind-numbing. The sizzling sound of this song has won my hand!

  14. Hey Sharon, thanks for the response!

    OK, cool, glad ProTools is a good choice. Seems like songwriting is a different sort of thing writing in service of Wiccan / Paganism. No more moaning about lost love affairs for me I guess! 🙂 Ha! Also wanted to let you know my email address is on the mermaid kiss email list if you want to email me..listed under “Rae” and then the address. Now I’ll check Twitter, and see if I can drop you a line on there as well.
    Take care and thanks !

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