No Song Today

Note: This post was written in 2022 and backdated to appear on the date the song was recorded.

In recent years, I’ve tried very hard not to write songs about Song-A-Day itself. This is just a personal rule – I don’t have anything against it in general and certainly don’t mind when others do it. Sometimes the fact that you can’t come up with anything to write with is exactly the topic you need to write about.

My light aversion to the topic developed slowly as I listened to this and subsequent years. In 2017, it was Add A Track, though that was a bit of a special case since I was simply adding on to something two other participants had started. It was my decision, however, to make the lyrics self-referential. Happily, this was one of the stronger ones and I kind of view it as a special case since the whole point of the track was sort of self-referential in the first place.

  1. No Song Today Ray Toler 1:58

I successfully avoided it entirely in 2018, but then had two in 2019: A Sad Jingle and I’m Back (And I’m Backin’ It Up!). The latter doesn’t exactly count because while I was touching on the Song-A-Day experience, it wasn’t really about that. As a result, I don’t really include it in the list.

A Sad Jingle, however, is a full-on “bitching about Song-A-Day” song. It’s one of the weakest things I’ve done and it’s rare that I don’t skip it before the first note starts. The only thing I really like about is that my playing was kind of on point – more delicate than my normal heavy touch. But it scarred me so deeply and I was so embarrassed by it that I haven’t written another since.

But we’re in the Wayback Machine here in 2016, and the matter at hand is that this was the first day where I legitimately didn’t think I was going to get anything posted. Why? Just listen to the song – it is an accurate description of my entire evening. I really was on the Board of Directors for my local Chamber of Commerce. We really did have the Community Awards ceremony. I really did have a beer and Chicken Monterrey. And yes, I really did record the whole thing in just under 20 minutes, singing the entire thing in one take.

And from that viewpoint, this song was a raging success. I had been writing the lyrics and most of the melody the entire evening. I finalized the arrangement in my head on the drive back to the house.

Production was about as fast as I’ve ever worked. No worrying about finding the perfect sound, the perfect loop. I don’t think it was a bossa nova until I found the drum loop, but it so perfectly fit that everything locked in place.

So why does this one work? Primarily, I think the reason is that it’s not bitching about Song-A-Day, it’s lamenting the real world getting in the way of writing a song. Secondly, it’s “real” – there’s an authenticity to it. So often I’m trying to be poetic or overtly funny or whatever, but this one is about as close to just talking to me about my day as you’ll ever hear. Additionally, it’s simple. It’s not trying to be anything more than it is.

In some technical ways, this is a worse track than A Sad Jingle, yet it easily and completely surpasses it; I’m not embarrassed by this one – I’m actually kind of proud of it. Yes, it’s raw. Yes, it’s simple and easy. But it works. I was able to write a slice-of-life track, which isn’t easy for me to do. I was able to post this track with all of its warts – something unimaginable just 11 days earlier.

The most “successful” of my self-referential tracks is easily I Get No Sleep, but this is very strong second place.

Lyrics

I can’t write my song today, I’m on the Chamber Board
We’re all gathering tonight to hand out community awards

As I write this in my car, I sing with heavy heart
For there will be no song today
The event’s about to start.

The people at my table are nice
I have a beer and Chicken Monterey
But I think I’ve got a vice
I want to write a song today

The awards are done
The goodbyes said
I’m in the car
I’ll be home before long

Only 18 minutes until bed
Time to record, gotta clear my head
Only get one take
Don’t worry if it’s wong

I am gonna write this song

Colophon

  • Guitar: K2600XS
  • Bass: Trilian
  • Drums: Stylus RMX
  • Effects: Valhalla Room
  • Mixing & Mastering: MOTU Parametric EQ, Masterworks Limiter

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