Yesterday, I wrote about my friend Jesse, whose judgment I trust completely. He helped me come to terms with the fact that my recording of “Old Photographs” isn’t as finished as I had previously assumed. I knew it wasn’t right but I didn’t know how to fix it. He asked the fundamental question, “What are you trying to say with this song?” Spoken like a true English teacher.

I have developed some bad habits in the studio. I follow my gut from one part to the next. This isn’t necessarily a problem but it is a singular focus on the tiny details. It doesn’t allow a view of the big picture. I have not been taking time to think about my tracks from an emotional standpoint. Does good art require an emotional perspective? I would argue that you can make good art without emotional clarity.

In this case it was very helpful to take a step back and think about what the song was trying to say. The problem has been the chorus. I tried singing it angry, proud, and also sad. I tried a whisper. I tried a scream. When I stopped to contemplate the song, it became obvious that it wanted to sound like a phone call. Stay tuned.


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