#5 Give You All My Love (“Better” track by track)

I did “behind the song” blog series for both of my last two albums, and some people seem to like them, so I thought I would do it again! “Give You All My Love” is the fifth track from my latest release, Better. For convenience, the lyrics and YouTube & Spotify streams are at the bottom of this post.


This is a weird one because it’s a nice, cautiously optimistic love song that kind of came out of left field. It represents nothing in my life. But my songwriting habits were partly shaped by a lifetime of hearing popular music, which is overwhelmingly about romantic relationships — I never understood why, as there is so much more emotional richness to life than just that. So I’ve noticed that whenever I start writing from a vague line or a musical idea without a particular topic in mind, I always end up on the subject of a relationship, even when it has nothing to do with me. Sometimes it’ll be positive, sometimes negative, depending on the material I’m starting with. I don’t choose the topic because I think it will have more popular appeal; it just comes natural to me as a product of my musical history. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

Like many of the songs I wrote this February, this one started with a vague line I had lying around for years. I loved these lines, I just never knew where to take them. It started with a very straightforward statement about myself: “I’m not afraid of death, I’m just afraid of pain and suffering.” Completely true. That line sat there for a year or two, and then at some point when I was going through song line ideas like this one, I randomly came up with the second part: “So don’t just make it quick, make it an instant, make it an instant.” It just came to me and I thought it really worked well, in terms of both sound and meaning. Then, the lines continued to sit there because I didn’t know where to go from there.

Well, for February Album Writing Month I finally dusted off these lines that I’d been wanting to use in a song for years, and as soon as I committed to it the rest of the song really kind of wrote itself. I wish all songwriting could be like that. It does make for a shorter songwriting blog, but a much easier and quicker songwriting process.

Obviously my first task was to decide where I wanted to take those lines about wanting to be killed quickly — an odd thing to proclaim in most contexts, haha. I thought, well, it has to be someone potentially breaking up with you, right? I couldn’t immediately even think of any other possibilities, so I just went with it.

I instinctively knew how I wanted the structure to be, and that those lines were going to be a pre-chorus, though at first, I was going to put it after the first verse. But after writing that first verse and realizing it didn’t link up too well to its pre-chorus (though I really liked what I’d written), I decided to split them up. And the first pre-chorus wrote itself, and the second verse wrote itself, and the chorus wrote itself – even the melodies did, which are usually harder for me to write well, but I’m satisfied with this one.

At the time I thought it was a first draft, but when I went back to it, I realized it was pretty damn good the way it was. I think the only part that really bothered me was the chorus. The whole “final descent” and “armrest” thing was actually meant to be a dummy lyric (something you just throw out there to hold the melody when you don’t know what you want the lyric to be yet), but I guess my subconscious came up with something pretty good without my help. I asked a few people and they said they liked it, and it was growing on me anyway, so it stayed.

And there you have it: a song! I’ve written at least a dozen of these blogs, at least 100 songs of highly variable quality, and I’ve even done a song analysis live set, and I honestly still feel like I have no idea what songwriting is all about. But I’m in love with it. (What if my subconscious wrote this song about songwriting?)


Falling in love is serious
It’s not like we’re just taking a walk
This isn’t gonna be like your hobby that you gave up
You’re gonna have to give it your all

You can’t just promise love
You’ve gotta be there when I need you most
We’re not just getting close
This is the real thing, this is the real thing

And when the final descent of the flight is complete
I’ll cross my fingers and pick up the armrest and reach for you
And give you all my love
I’ll give you all my love

My head’s full of worries every day
And I don’t need another one
So if a quick goodbye was something you were gonna say
You’re gonna have to hurry it up

I’m not afraid of death
I’m just afraid of pain and suffering
So don’t just make it quick
Make it an instant, make it an instant

50/90 Songwriting Challenge & How to support me if you want to

So the first thing to mention right now is that I’m excited to be entering into another one of my intensive songwriting periods! This will be the most intensive one I’ve done yet. Some of you know I participated in the FAWM (February Album Writing Month) challenge in February and completed the required 14 songs, a couple of which were collaborations.

The same group organizes the 50/90 challenge from July 4 to October 1, where the goal is to write 50 songs in those 90 days. I’m going in well equipped with writing resources, prompts, a fun community, and well over 100 ideas of my own (including some fun concept projects I may announce as they happen). But it will still be a great challenge to actually sit down and finish that many songs in a short period without losing steam, so wish me luck!

Some other news: As a performing musician, these last few months have been financially difficult for me, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much easier anytime soon. There are a few venues doing live music now which I’ve been reaching out to, so fingers crossed, but still the vast majority of places I used to play are not hosting events, and many won’t be for a very long time. I’ve also just this week lost the last non-music income I was making, and I’ve decided to simply spend as little as possible and try to make do with music income only, for the summer at least.

A few people have indicated that if I had a Patreon, they would be happy to support me. I’m not a fan of Patreon, but I thought that with me trying to write so many songs, this would be a great time to test out a subscription idea for people who are interested both in downloading new demos as soon as they’re written and in helping to keep my dream afloat financially.

I’m calling it a “Dream Team” membership for the latter reason. I priced it at the fairest price possible at $10 a month (and not auto-renewed), but if you can afford and want to pay more, you can always tip me via PayPal. For that price, you will get access to whatever demos I put out, which will be emailed to you in two batches: one in the middle of the month and one at the end of the month. I can’t guarantee the number, but since I’m hoping to complete the full 50/90 challenge, I’m hoping for at least 10-20 per month. The best of these songs will get properly recorded and released on my next album sometime next year, so you’ll be the first to hear them.

Here’s how it works: You can buy a standalone membership for the $10, OR you can buy anything from my store worth more than $10, and that will get you a membership too. For example, you could buy one of my CDs or a USB for $10, a shirt with my face on it for $15, a complete bundle of all my merch (two CDs, a shirt, a USB, and stickers) for $50, or one of my limited personalized songs, also for $50.

I hope this makes sense. I know that not everyone thinks demos are worth paying for and not everyone can afford to support artists right now (or ever!), and that’s fine. This is just something I want to try out. For those who are interested, I hope you will enjoy the window into my songwriting experience during this project. For everyone else, don’t worry, you will hear the most worthy songs on a proper recording on Spotify – or wherever you like to listen – next year! I’ll also probably be sharing a few of the best demos on social media as I go, but obviously they won’t be downloadable.

Thanks for following my journey, and I hope to see everyone at a show again someday before I’m old!