Monday, June 3, 2013

New Music

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Breanne Primeau Radio Interview 5-14-13

Great interview with Breanne Primeau yesterday. She doesn't mention me or Max by name, but we know who's she's talking about.... Plus, they played two of the songs we co-wrote and co-produced, and arranged. Check it out!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Take the First Step - Breanne Primeau

Here's the first look at the project we're working on with Breanne Primeau. Just an acoustic version on on of my favorite songs we wrote on the album, coming out Spring 2013. Breanne's singing, of course, and Dom's on piano. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Check out this rendition of our song "Put The Day On Hold" by the fantastic group from the Netherlands, M-Vibes. I also suggest that you buy their album when it comes out soon...

The sky is falling!

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” so shouted various musicians/artists/writers/executives in the music industry since the creation of Napster. We have been watching the industry’s “death rattle” for nearly a decade now and personally I am tired of it. These arguments just don’t wash. The reality is that we artists, songwriters, and others involved in the music industry have great opportunities ahead of us. Allow me to explain!

First off technology has given those of us at the bottom a great opportunity to overcome typical problems we face: The quality of our product. Instead of needing thousands of dollars to enjoy a great sound on one song it is now possible to create a killer home studio and pump out an albums worth of music with similar amounts of cash.

Secondly, the internet which killed the industry, has given us an absolutely amazing way to create a network and build a strong international following. Look at Rebecca Black, yes we hate her music, but she’s made over $200,000 through a viral spread of her song. She did this with an initial investment of about $2000. Not bad!

Finally, this has led to a massive growth in the number of artists. Now as songwriters this means we need to realize that we have an opportunity to work with a lot of different artists and create great music. Personally I love writing songs, so I have a choice. I can write one or two songs a year and try to get those songs passed into the hands of a few powerful stars that will then have me over a barrel if they want a writing credit on my song! I have wasted a year and lost equity in my work. On the other side, I can spend time writing with local artists who I like and respect. Turn out more work, possibly co-writing, and perhaps coming up with a series of different great songs that then get a following. As such there is killer opportunity to work with new artists, have artistic freedom, and make beautiful music that people listen to.

Or you can sit around and bitch about the industry…

The worst song ever written….

The worst song ever written…. 

               Well that title has been claimed by many but never has there been such general agreement that the song “Friday” has truly earned it (google it if you haven’t heard it and can bear truly insipid things). But what makes the song so truly awful that it transcends genre biases and manages to rankle every listener older than 14 (and many younger)?

First off I think Friday is the natural outcome of a lot of what’s wrong in music today. I am not going to sit here and pontificate that music is dead, because it isn’t! There is a lot of good music out there for anyone who cares to listen. Sara Bareilles, Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green, Paramore, Matt Nathanson, John Mayer, Herbie Hancock, and anything written by Diane Warren are all just a small set of examples of what is happening and what is good! That having been said: There is a tendency to “dumb it down.” Since the turn of the century lyrics have been relegated to second class status. Talk of Melody’s decline began a mere 20 years ago. Fast forward to now and the great musical revolution is reaching its nadir as the abuses of the record industry have taught us to commoditize the work and steal it whenever possible.

                Not that we, as listeners, don’t bear the brunt of the responsibility. As long as Rebecca Blacks can make huge sums of money off their mediocrity/awfulness then they will continue to multiply. Conversely when we give great artists hits, by buying their music and going to their concerts we are voting in a system that is far more important than American idol!

                Now on to the terror at hand, I am a big fan of Kenny Werner’s attitude that every creative endeavor has some value. That having been said I think this song violates that principle, which in turn forces us to consider HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Well I compiled a limited list for your edificative (pretty sure that isn’t a word) pleasure:

  • No sense of craft: Violates basic ideas of songwriting.
  • Bad lyrics: Make no sense and highlight trivial and useless ideas
  • Bad melody: Boring and repetitive
  • Boring Arrangement: There are things other than beats and synths

Ok so we all hate this song. But could it be fixed? The lyrics to this song are horrible. They accomplish nothing. There is no story. They are an unrelated list. Friday Friday partyin, doesn’t bring any kind of significant resolution to our ears or help us understand what the point of the song.  Taking it line by line, cut the initial orgasm noises out of the song and start with an alarm clock going off. This will create the early morning wake up feel. Two Ok you woke up. Did you do ANYTHING more interesting than eat a bowl of cereal. Are you looking forward to a party? Are you thinking about a boy? IS THERE ANYTHING GOING ON IN YOUR HEAD? Next: Are you in a bus or a car? Please pick one and don’t clue us into whether or not you are taking the front seat or the backseat. That doesn’t matter. There is no connection between cereal, bus-car, and the chorus. It is a meaningless mishmash of “hip” buzzwords.

Verse 2 has her on the highway, (she is ghost-riding in the video). Apparently we jumped from a mundane morning directly through school (thank god they cut her verse on the math pop quiz) and she is off to a party. Back to the Chorus which makes slightly more sense now (i.e. The buzzwords fit in the song but still don’t really work). Then she recites the days of the week. Cue the rapper who merely reiterates all the confusion and adds nothing except a cameo for the producer and a sweet writing credit. End repeating the chorus.

                These are all basic things that should never have been neglected. Yet Rebecca and her label are laughing all the way to the bank. Perhaps Ryan Tedder of One Republic fame summed it up when he was asked about the classic song At Last, “…I could write that song now and give it to a Mariah Carey or whomever. And it wouldn't work! You'd put it on the radio and it would die instantly.” Well is he wrong? What is gonna happen to music? The answer my friends is blowing in the wind…

(no that is not an academic citation… yes you can still find it… no I do not care!)

Not Gonna Write you a Post on Love Songs...

Not Gonna Write you a Post on Love Songs...

So what’s up with love songs? Some people love them (a little too much) others hate them with a passion (Frank Zappa). What is a love song? Why are there so many of them? And why the hell are they so hard to write well?
Already I can hear people slapping their heads and rolling their eyes (I have very good hearing). Millions of you reading this (please!!!!!) are saying, “Idiot! It’s a song about love!” Well, fair enough. However, love is a varied and difficult emotion to pin down. So difficult, in fact, that I am not even gonna bother trying. There are songs about happy love, sick love, sad love, unrequited love, even ugly love (Temptations: Beauty’s Only Skin Deep).

Ultimately a love song moves me when it is appropriate (i.e. good with the genre, Sarah MacLachlan lyrics wouldn’t work with a Lady Gaga sound) and the lyrics are elegant. Elegant lyrics mean they say what they need to say in the smallest space possible. My personal favorite is Sara Bareilles’ line, “The heart I swear I’d recognize is made out of my own devices.” The line is poetic, complex (but expressed in a simple way), beautiful, and appropriate for the song.
But this simplicity is precisely what makes them so damned difficult! Take the Taylor Swift song “You Belong with Me.” Now I am NOT Kanye West, I like Taylor, and I think she writes a really good song! But there are times where I am listening and I just don’t get the choices. Take the second verse, of You Belong with Me:

Walking the streets with you and your worn-out jeans
I can't help thinking this is how it ought to be
Laughing on a park bench, thinking to myself
Hey, isn't this easy?

One of these things is not like the others! Why are we calling attention to this dude’s jeans? Is it a metaphor that I am missing? Is it something bigger than just a quick image? Or is it an inappropriate use of a legitimate country lyrical device in an attempt to make a near rhyme? I am going with the last explanation. There is another way to go about it though:

Walking the streets and now it’s just you and me
I can't help thinking this is how it ought to be
Laughing on a park bench, thinking to myself
Hey, isn't this easy?

Now Taylor has been writing songs on Music Row since she was 14 so I am completely humbled by her experiences and her talent! In fact her work is really off the charts good. I recommend her song “Mine.” She shifts her lyrics across each chorus which helps tell the story and sets up the next section of every song. Frankly, I wish I had written it.
Of course there is more than countrified Sugar Pop, I love Sarah MacLachlan songs “Forgiveness”, and “Illusions of Bliss” as well as Don Henley’s “End of the Innocence” and “Heart of the Matter.” I could go on but let’s get back to the theory.

It’s the fundamental simplicity and elegance of a good song that makes it so hard to write. It’s easy to sit down belt out a blues and say “I love you baby!” It’s hard to do that in a way that moves somebody. Cliché’s kill and bad love songs are full of clichés. Take “A Moment like This” which is basically a composite of different Clichés strung together. It did well on the charts, but I’m glad I wasn’t the one who wrote it. (Kelly Please put the knives away I promise it’s nothing personal!)
A Good love song is hard to write because it requires an amazing array of talent. Every word every beat every little thing you do must have purpose.  Then you take it back and slice it down again until it is done. Check out some of our stuff. Naturally I can’t do what I say other’s should do (Though I think Can’t Call it Love sounds very nice!) but I am working on improving. Much to Dom’s chagrin I am trying to write more songs and get the lyrical composition down so I can bring out some nice love songs.

Until then keep up the good fight people!

One more line from Taylor Swift that blows my mind: “Turns out freedom means nothing but missing you”

For an alternate theory check out Nick Cave’s Vienna Lecture on Love Songs