#6 I Don’t Love Songs (“Coming Home” track by track)

I’m currently (somewhat belatedly) showcasing each track from my latest album Coming Home in a “behind the song” blog series. I hope some listeners find it interesting or helpful. “I Don’t Love Songs” is the sixth track. For convenience, the lyrics and YouTube & Spotify streams are at the bottom of this post.

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“I Don’t Love Songs” is one of my favorite songs that I’ve ever written. It was another one that came together fairly quickly, and was written somewhat systematically. By that, I mean that I came up with what I wanted each part of the song to say before I wrote it, and then I carefully chose my words for each line. Without passion, that method can result in a very boring, lifeless song, but I adored the song’s concept, so I don’t think that has happened here.

In a nutshell, this song is about two things: first, it’s about my obsessive, unhealthy love for music. Second, it’s about depression. I was really excited about the idea of putting these two themes together in a song, because I don’t see it as being very common.

As many of my ideas do, this one came to me when I was just thinking about myself and my emotions. There are a lot of ways to describe depression, and anhedonia is often a big part of it. You don’t enjoy even the things that usually light a fire inside of you. For me, that’s music, so I can usually judge my mental health status by how music makes me feel. If it doesn’t affect my mood very much, then watch out. And I felt like “I don’t love songs anymore, I only like them now” was such a clear, concise, and poignant way of putting it.

I’m very proud of all of the lyrics because, for me, they are dripping with emotion and they paint a very clear picture. The latter is something I’ve had to work at, and I still do. For example, I was proud of “the scent of beer soaked pine makes me think of live music” and “sick to your stomach at that perfect mix of passion and purpose and harmony and rhyme.” Again, it’s that feeling that I’ve described something inside of me with absolute perfection. Even the lines that are simple and straightforward still feel to me like they couldn’t be anything else. That’s the mark of a well-written song.

Sometimes, when I really love the concept and lyrics of a song, I have a tendency to half-ass the music part, just procrastinate because I’m afraid I won’t do the song justice, and/or never be satisfied with it. None of those things happened here. I got right down to business, and even though, again, I wrote it very systematically, I thought it came out really well. The song is well-structured and there is good differentiation between each part.

Now, I can already hear the songwriting “experts” complaining that there isn’t much range to the melody. No, there isn’t. I don’t care. Range doesn’t make a song (or a singer, for that matter) good or bad; emotional expression and catchiness do. Also, I don’t know why some people say that “all hit songs” have wide ranges, when if anything it seems like it’s more common for them to have very narrow ranges, and people like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey are very much flukes. Narrow ranges mean everyone can sing along. It’s just about what you do within that range.

Anyway, I was careful to come up with a slightly more varied strumming pattern so it could be differentiated from the rest of the album. Then I only added simple harmonies (which I was pleased with) and kept it simple and acoustic. As I’ve said before, with limited production and arranging skills, it’s always better to err on the side of simple and unadorned rather than risk ruining a good song. Someday I hope to have more choices than just “simple and acoustic” or “ruining the song,” but I can wait!

LYRICS

The scent of beer-soaked pine makes me think of live music
Makes me think of a world of friends and the best days of my life
Makes me think of my inner power and of knowing how to use it
And of calming meditations and dreams bursting from inside

Music’s made me fall in love with everything
Again and again and again
It used to be my reminder that I was alive

But I don’t love songs anymore
I only like them now
And I don’t dream of open doors
Because I only wear them out

And I’ve always wondered how common it was
To get sick to your stomach
At that perfect mix of passion and purpose and harmony and rhyme
Because it happened to me all the time
It happened to me all the time

I’m not so happy with how these past few months have been going
But I’m not gonna lose my mind because I’ve felt like this before
It’s all gonna be okay because there’s a comfort in the knowing
That there’s always an ebb and a flow but I always come back for more

Music’s made me fall in love with everything
Again and again and again
And when it comes back around then I’ll come back to life

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