#5 Cookie Dough (“Broken Heart” track by track)

I’m currently showcasing each track from my newest album, Broken Heart, in a “behind the song” blog series. I hope some listeners find it interesting or helpful. “Cookie Dough” is the fifth track. For convenience, the lyrics and YouTube & Spotify streams are at the bottom of this post.


I had a lot of fun writing this song. As usual, the chorus came first in a fit of inspiration. Actually, not trusting people who don’t enjoy cookie dough is a real thought that I have frequently had. I try to remind myself that everyone’s different and there’s no accounting for taste, but deep down I’m like, there are biological reasons for our preferences for fat and sugar, so what’s wrong with these people who don’t have it? Apologies to anyone who fits into this category – intellectually I know this doesn’t make any sense, but it did make for a cool song idea in my opinion!

At some point I started thinking about the parallels between liking a food that feels good but is bad for you, and liking a person who might make you feel good in an immediate sense, but is bad for you in the long run. And it turned into a whole song idea!

Writing and releasing this song made me think of a bit of feedback I got a while back, about a completely different song on a different topic that the person found silly/frivolous. They told me that I should think more before I write, and not just write a song about any old thing that pops into my head. This bothered me for a couple of reasons. First, I found it a little insulting that they assumed that just because they didn’t understand the point of the song, meant that I must not have had one or even thought about it. Second, there are actually plenty of hit songs, as well as songs that are widely considered to be great (those two categories don’t always match up), that are written about totally frivolous topics that seem to have just popped into someone’s head! It’s not always about writing the most profound song in the world.

In fact, I have also been criticized for writing a song about war and peace because that was trying too hard to have a message (of course, that song never saw the light of day because I ultimately agreed that it was tacky, but that’s beside the point!). So it seemed like I just couldn’t win, if there is such a delicate balance between being too frivolous or too sincere. So I guess I’ll just continue writing about what feels meaningful to me and not worry about how others will perceive it!

Anyway, even if some people would hear this song and say, “I can’t believe you wrote a song about liking cookie dough even though it’s bad for you – how pointless!”, for me, there is meaning in that metaphor. And while I mainly find the first verse (the one that’s all about our evolved love of substances like cookie dough) to be a bit of fun, I feel like the second verse and chorus deepen and intensify the emotional meaning by making it about a person, while still keeping a fun and light feel to it.

A note about the chorus: I really wasn’t crazy about the word “inhibiting.” I like to keep my songwriting pretty close to natural language, and I just feel like that’s not something people would say. Then again, I could see myself saying it, so that’s probably good enough. (Even if most people are nothing like me at all, I suppose the people that I want to listen to my songs are those who are much more like me. How else will we relate to each other?) In the end, I tried a bunch of other words that vaguely fit in with the syllables, rhyme and meaning, but none of them flowed as well and had the precise meaning that I wanted, so it stayed in. Hopefully I made the right decision! These are the kinds of small decisions that perfectionist songwriters like me can agonize over for much longer than you’d think.

Overall in this song, I spent a lot of time making small adjustments to the lyrics so that it would flow better, and I think I did a really good job, if I can say so. Some songs need more of this than others; it depends on how quickly I wrote it and how much of it was inspiration vs. craft and graft.


Cookie dough might be my favorite food
In love with fat and sugar after millions of years of evolution
The sweetness, the texture, and the feel of it
Overwhelm the system with pleasure
But it can make you sick in unexpected ways
And I never really liked the aftertaste
God, I wish it were a superfood
Not just fighting a famine that we made it through
But can’t forget

I can’t trust people who say they don’t enjoy cookie dough
So who could trust me if I said I didn’t want you?
And I’m sick of this inhibiting
But pleasure’s not everything
There must be some way that we can make do

You’re my favorite kind of guy
Excitement in your eyes and uncertainty in your life
You look like a prince from a Disney movie
And you’ve almost got his manners too
With just enough edge so you aren’t boring
And I could see us taking the world by storm
I can’t pretend it would all be fine
If I settled for the guy who always gets it right
Instead of you

#4 He Doesn’t Know (“Broken Heart” track by track)

I’m currently showcasing each track from my newest album, Broken Heart, in a “behind the song” blog series. I hope some listeners find it interesting or helpful. “He Doesn’t Know” is the fourth track. For convenience, the lyrics and YouTube & Spotify streams are at the bottom of this post.


This one is pretty simple and self-explanatory, and it didn’t involve as much playful experimentation as most of the other songs, either lyrically or musically. I’m not sure if that will make it more or less appealing to people, but we’ll see.

It’s basically looking at the same unrequited love situation from a slightly different angle, and maybe a bit more plainly and straightforwardly than the previous songs. The verses detail the reasons that the narrator fell in love (charisma, perceived compatibility) along with their doubts, and then the choruses lament the lack of reciprocation.

It’s not one of my favorite songs because like I said it lacks the creative oomph, but on the other hand I also think there’s something to be said for simplicity and straightforwardness. Sometimes describing your experience in very plain terms, without even directly mentioning the emotions, can be the most emotionally effective. Short, sweet, simple, and straightforward, but not necessarily for the worse!


He’s got a special air about him
He just walks in the door and commands the room
I can’t imagine life without him
But that’s exactly what the world expects me to do

He doesn’t know, he doesn’t care
He doesn’t need me
And it’s all wrong, and it’s unfair
Why won’t he see me?

No one else can live up to our conversations
No other pair of people get along so well
But then it all must have been my imagination
Because he rode off into the sunset with someone else

#3 I Went Online (“Broken Heart” track by track)

I’m currently showcasing each track from my newest album, Broken Heart, in a “behind the song” blog series. I hope some listeners find it interesting or helpful. “I Went Online” is the third track. For convenience, the lyrics and YouTube & Spotify streams are at the bottom of this post.


I’m not sure how this one will go down with people because I’ve learned over time that many people really hate repetition, whether it’s the same word or phrase repeated too much (which is surprising considering most music that makes the charts) or, in this case, the same sound. I remember being criticized by a creative writing teacher in school when I wrote a poem that had several lines in a row ending with the same rhyming sound, and lots of songwriters I’ve learned from have given advice that each pair of rhymes should be completely different, ideally never repeating the same vowel sound more  than twice for an entire song.

Well, I threw all of that out the window with this song because almost every single line ends with the long “i” sound. I personally find it catchy, but we’ll see. As ever, I’d rather please myself with my writing than others… although it would be cool to do both someday!

So yeah, this is a simple song on a silly little theme that I wrote quickly and didn’t like at first, especially when I was strumming it. But after I tried it finger picked, it kind of grew on me. Yes, it is short, simple, and repetitive in its vowel sounds, but I actually think it does an excellent job of expressing the poignant yearning I was going for, and it’s probably one of my favorites on the album. Short and simple doesn’t mean anything as to whether it’s an effective song or not!

The writing process for this was interesting because I had the title and theme in mind, but wasn’t quite sure how to write it, so I decided to just start with a big list of things you might search online! By the way, most of it is a true story, aside from the “learning to sew” one – I can’t really sew for shit, but I knew that some other people learn to sew from online patterns and it seemed like a good rhyme to start with. It is true, though, that I have spent time googling things like how to overcome fears and how to get over a crush… and sometimes it even works. And I would feel silly about this, but judging by instant results, I’m far from the only one doing this. Ah, the 21st century.

I hadn’t really decided prior to making this list how I was going to structure the song, but I ended up coming up with so many examples of search terms I really liked, that I felt like it had to basically be the entire song, not just the verses or just the choruses.

I thought it made sense to make the chorus about the object of affection and the verses about unrelated things; that felt powerful to me. Between the lyrical distinction and the finger picked verses vs. the strummed chorus, I love the way it came out with very sweet and innocent verses with emotionally stronger choruses. (By the way, I strummed the choruses of this and “What I Need” with my nails – my first time doing that, and it was hard!) And I distinguished the two verses because the first one was two concrete “how-to” queries, and the second one was two abstract or emotional ones (“how to get over my fears” and “how to be better”), which I felt helped the intensity grow later in the song.

I had originally written both choruses with all three parts (“how to talk to you,” “how to impress you,” and “how to get over you”), but I ended up realizing it was a bit long, so I cut out the last one and held it back till the end, which I thought was very effective. It’s like, I’ve been trying all this time to do all these things, and none of it has worked, so my last ditch effort (which also fails in the end) is to google how to get over you. Honestly I felt pretty proud of the simple flow of these chorus lyrics, I think that’s what makes them so effective. And I like how there is a progression from one year to two years to five years, and hopefully my intent shows to make each one progressively more intense.

As it turns out, Google is very good for practical problems and even self-improvement, but it can do absolutely nothing for crushes.


I went online to try to find
A pattern to learn to sew
And it took time to make straight lines
But now I’m taking care of all my clothes

I went online to try to find
A car that wouldn’t break down every day
And it took time to make one mine
But now I can’t remember any other way

And I went online to try to find out how to talk to you
But it’s a whole year later and I’m no less tongue-tied
And I went online to try to find out how to impress you
But it’s two years later and I’m no better liked

I went online to try to find
How I can be better than I am
And it took time but I’ve been surprised
To see just how much I can

I went online to try to find out
How to get over my fears
And it took time but now I’m feeling alive
Because I’m braver than I’ve been in years

And I went online to try to find out how to get over you
But it’s five years later and I’m no less preoccupied