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what's next to me

After playing the solo on my latest backing track I found that vocals only could damage the music. On the other hand the complete backing track, a blues progression, would be too samey. Therefore, I had it discussed on a songwriting forum. Someone suggested to use words sparingly so as to leave room for the guitar fills, so that is what I did:

I see her frown
I hear her talk
but I keep lost
in my own thoughts

although I feel
I should respond

I do nothing
but look beyond

what's next to me
I cannot see

what's next to me

[solo]

it's been a while
that things felt right
that we made love
or talked all night

I've grown apart
from her and me

I feel like blind
so I can't see

what's next to me
I cannot see

what's next to me

************************************

Here is the backing track

off the track

I worked on this text on and off over about 9 months. First I only had the title. Many if not most of my lyrics start off with just a phrase or a line of text, more often than not the title/hook. Months(!) later I added what I intended to become the chorus. When, at last, I added two verses I found that I had used the same meter as in the chorus. Finally, I decided to also use the same rhyme structure and simply scrap the idea of a proper chorus. I had to swap and edit two or three lines to achieve this. To get a hook I simply added the lines "you're off the track" and "off the track". Depending on the resulting song theses lines might have to be repeated. Here is the result:



you say that you've had it with this stuffy town
the dreary day-to-day life drags you down
you say that you've had it with our way of life
that you wouldn't dream of playin' the faithful wife

you got to live your own life is what you say
you've made up your mind to go your own way
but how do you think that you'll find your way back
when you keep on walking off the track

you're off the track
off the track

why should you work your ass off for chicken feed
no one but yourself to see to your needs
you hang out with other drunks in sleazy bars
maybe have a shag - that way you won't get far

you got to live your own life is what you say
you've made up your mind to go your own way
but how do you think that you'll find your way back
when you keep on walking off the track

you're off the track
off the track

oh, when will you come back
I pray that you'll come back
I pray that you'll come back

When is a song done?

Two answers:
a) when it's 'out there'
b) never

I never was quite happy with my song "close your eyes". But since I had recorded and published it I felt no urge to rewrite it. It just bothered me that I had used visual references in the verses where the song's chorus reads

at times you need to close your eyes to get a clearer view
behind the scenes we call reality


In the verses I had the lines

did you ever notice the smile of good friends that never reached their eyes

and
have you ever watched the sun burn his way through the morning mist

both don't make much sense with your eyes closed. Of course, the line in the chorus is meant figuratively, but I've always found these lines in the verses distracting nonetheless.

Since I've had nothing to do after working on the folk rock songs for Christian and my little lyrics project on "beauty to behold" I rewrote the lines in question at last:

don't you feel embarrassed by the porn shows they call their daily news
I wonder how you can stand this endless torrent of abuse

have you ever tried to understand what birds tell with their songs
are you aware that leaves of grass can be truly strong

sometimes you need to close your eyes to get a clearer view
behind the scenes we call reality
sometimes just try to free your mind, to sing and dance, and to
act like crazy just to prove your sanity

have you ever felt the sun burn his way through the morning mist
just think about how many things beyond our world exist

sometimes you need to close your eyes to get a clearer view
behind the scenes we call reality
sometimes just try to free your mind, to sing and dance, and to
act like crazy just to prove your sanity

don't let the time pass away
without offering this day
one of your precious smiles
to take away

sometimes you need to close your eyes to get a clearer view
behind the scenes we call reality
sometimes just try to free your mind, to sing and dance, and to
act like crazy just to prove your sanity


(Those who know the song might notice that I had rewritten the chorus several times in the course of years as well. It's one of my very early songs, I'd surely got better over the years...)

beauty to behold - the lyrics

As for the bridge I kept shifting lines to and fro. My idea was that the bridge should provide an outlook to the future as the line from the chorus, "futures that unfold", already suggests. I was thinking along the lines of Alan Weisman's "The World without us". From my first notes I only kept two lines, and only to a degree, "wild flowers are breaking through the tarmac", and "there are no endings, just new beginnings". Here is the result:

smells of decay, and death, and rot
are wafting through abandoned streets
waste has piled up at the curbs
somewhere a kid screams happily

around the corner children squat
they push marbles into a hole
a ragged boy just won the match
he grins because he's on a roll

beauty to behold
stories to be told
futures that unfold
beauty to behold

the town's river has all dried-up
its bed is filled up with debris
rats climb over heaps of waste
they live a life of luxury

a vivid red geranium
thrives in a broken flower pot
reminder of a graceful past
that once dignified this spot

beauty to behold
stories to be told
futures that unfold
beauty to behold

blades of grass break through the pavement
a blackbird greets the morning light
spring flowers soon will shed their fragrance
to reclaim the land outright
there are no endings, just beginnings

beauty to behold
stories to be told
futures that unfold
beauty to behold

beauty to behold - the chorus

beauty to behold
stories to be told
futures that unfold
beauty to behold


I first had:
beauty to behold
lost futures put on hold
stories to be told
beauty to behold


As much as I like the line "lost futures put on hold" I scrapped it. It doesn't make sense anyway, but it even makes less sense in this context (less then none! Imagine!).

I next tried "the sheen of wealth and gold" (you see, rhymes are a must - for me) that I wasn't happy with either, I wanted something expressing that some afterglow of former glory still exists, but couldn't come up with anything that met the meter and rhymed as well.

Then the 'futures' (note the plural) somehow popped up again, this time paired with a wonderfully rhyming word that actually did make sense.

Next, I think, I should add a bridge.