Watching the World (Tiny Little Window)

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written.

Ah, the first track in a scary challenge. Write a song, record it, post it on a publicly available website. Between the time you get home from work and the time you go to bed. With minimal ideas or sketches in mind. How would you respond?

If you were me, you’d come home, sit on the couch, and procrastinate for an hour by playing with your phone, that’s how. Check what’s happening on Twitter. See if anyone said anything interesting on Facebook. Peruse Google+ (it was a thing!). See what all the fuss is about this new Periscope thing.

  1. Watching the World (Tiny Little Window) Ray Toler 3:40

Wow, Periscope. A million people, around the world, turning on their cameras and live streaming… nothing. And everything. Someone in the US is driving home from work. A girl in South America is bored and playing music to anyone tuning in, showing a little cleavage to boost her numbers. Three guys in The Phillipines are playing video games and cracking jokes. Two women in Europe are heading home from the pub and laughing about the guy who tried to pick them both up at the same time.

A million stories. All on my phone, sitting on my couch. Sounds like a good idea for a song… and off I go.

Instrumentation is simple, just a piano with an underlying pad, and drums. I can’t remember with certainty whether I played/programmed the drums or used loops, though I think they’re probably loops.

I spent most of my recording time on the vocals, and it was fun to knock out the giant harmonies – that’s one of my favorite things to do. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the song turned out, especially given that the entire production had taken less than five hours – certainly a record-breaking speed for me doing a song with vocals. In 2016, I still held to the “submit by midnight in my time zone” rule. I only broke that rule once or twice.

With an immense amount of trepidation, I bounced the track down, created an mp3, loaded it into the submission form, added the lyrics, and then sat for probably five minutes before pressing “submit.” It was incredibly nerve wracking.

In part, I’m still nervous about posting my work publicly, especially non-polished, non-perfect works. I’m getting better about that. But I was just as nervous about posting to this particular group. While I didn’t know most of the participants, the ones I did know were all amazing musicians whose work I hold in the highest regard.

The amount of positive reinforcement and encouragement I received for this first work was like a drug – in many ways it provided the same rush that performing live as an actor always had. One comment sticks out in my mind, even now:

Ray knows Pop. He is unafraid. I want to sip tea in the rain looking at old photographs.

Three things about that – first, it was from someone who I can’t say enough good things about. An amazing talent and someone I try to emulate at every possible opportunity. Second, I was thrilled that I had evoked some sort of an emotional response through the song. Third, and maybe most importantly, I had never even considered this song “pop.” I don’t know what I thought it might be, and still don’t, but it was the first step in my moving away from worrying too much about genres.

So one track done. 28 to go. I had to pick a leap year to start.

Lyrics

You've never seen me.
You'll never know me.
Particles in a brownian stew.

A brief interaction.
No time for traction.
What were you saying? I haven't a clue.

Watching the world through this tiny little window
Safe and sound, no one else around.
Watching the world through this tiny little window
So many moments, so much to see.
But who in the world is watching me?

You caught my attention.
Belief in suspension.
A glimmer of hope, a response to a call.

But quickly it faded.
Maybe I've become jaded.
It seems much ado over nothing at all.

Watching the world through this tiny little window
Safe and sound, no one else around.
Watching the world through this tiny little window
So many moments, so much to see.

Watching the world through this tiny little window
Safe and sound, no one else around.
Watching the world through this tiny little window
So many moments, so much to see.
But who in the world is watching me?


Copyright © Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.

Colophon

  • Piano: Kurzweil K2600XS
  • Drums: Stylus RMX (Probably)

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