A Song for the End of The World
(I just want to lie down with you)
I used to search for songs.
The hit of being the channel for this being that wasn’t me but sang its words through me - for this thing that I was apparently creating but seemed to have been fully formed before I found it and started brushing it off and piecing it back together - was so fulfilling, its purity so intoxicating compared with anything else in my life, that quickly I developed a strong attachment to it.
I would hunger for the next one to come through. I would have intentions to write certain sorts of song because I felt I needed a certain one to bring balance to a collection of songs. I would so want the perfect buzz of when a real, live actual perfect song just came whizzing through from wherever and landed, sometimes completely whole in just minutes, sometimes in bits and pieces over the course of a few days or weeks…that I would do my best to make it happen. I would think in some way by “trying my hardest” and “working at it” I would make those real crackers come through more often. But of course, one is not in control of that. And the more one strives - as with everything else in life - the more one strains, and the less one is connected to the flow of all that is. But the egoic mind, with all its anxieties - in my case always trying to justify my life as a songwriter to the demons in my mind - and all its dreams and desires has a hard time understanding this concept. In fact the only way it can learn is through experience, in this case the experience of frustration, feeling blocked, songs not coming or if they do ones that aren’t really that great and are written more by YOU rather than when the real ones come through and you are just receiving the dictation, somehow serendipitously tuned in again to the frequency of the ever elusive Flow FM and able to get a song or two or three down while you’re still in that zone.
That was my experience. I used to search. But not for years. I have stopped searching. I finally learnt that it’s much better if I just wait. That that’s actually a better way to do it for me. That I am a songwriter. It’s just something I am. And that my songs are just a natural way I process my experiences and emotions, the echoes of my evolution as a soul. And if I search for them or try to force them, I might be able to come up with something but it’s unlikely to be a memorable song. Now, when they arrive, they arrive. And I am always surprised and delighted and I almost can’t believe it, it is so real.
Like this one, “Song for the End of the World”. I was just doing some yoga one night last week listening to some ambient music and I started hearing this fairly simple, unremarkable yet (to me) poignant melody and something made me feel it was important enough to stop what I was doing and get up and sing it in to my voice recorder on my phone. Then I thought hey might as well try to see what happens when I sing that to some chords on the guitar… the first line came at the same time, a seemingly generic opening line of a love song, and a seemingly generic rock ballad melody. But amongst this rather average premise, there was this vibe, this thing that was unique about it, that made it sound to me like a hit that had already been written yet I had never heard before. I could tell it was real. I could tell it was the tip of a fin of a beautiful fish breaking the surface. I knew the drill, I should at least see if there was an instinctive place my fingers or words would lead me, before going back to the mat and keeping on with my yoga. And I went to a fairly normal chord change for this potential other part and there it was, another very simple, almost too simple melody that also seemed kind of memorable and had words attached “We’re going down”, repeated. Ewww. Depressing. I don’t want my chorus saying “We’re going down”. That doesn’t feel like it’s gonna be much fun. And I can’t see in any way how that relates to the opening line, unless its a break up song and I’m not at the end of a relationship so why would a break up song being coming through? So I left it there for the night and went back to my yoga, safe in the knowledge that something was definitely on its way through and the best thing I could do was nothing at all, just give it as much time to percolate in my sub-conscious as possible and then when I felt the urge I could go back to it and see if anything else wanted to come.
The next evening I was meant to have a creative sharing night in my house but various people pulled out so I called it off. I was free to write, and so I pulled out my writing book and my voice recorder and sat in the garden with my guitar. And that’s when it came. All the rest of it, just like that, in about half an hour. I recorded a version straight away, and posted it to Facebook. And here it is… I hope you enjoy it. (I was amazed to see the two lines I’d got given the night before - the opening line of all the verses “I just wanna lie down with you”, and the opening line of the chorus “we’re going down”, did actually make sense, weren’t used in a generic context, and did fit together in the same song…)