Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Song #219 of 9999 - Brownie Points by Frankie Big Face

As mentioned in my post of July 20, I'm going to write about my own music for a few weeks as a way to get some song comments together for an updated website. My goal is eventually to have a few paragraphs written for every song on my website and I figured I'd start with all the Nur Ein songs I've written over the past six years. Nur Ein is a songwriting competition in the same vein as Song Fight!, wherein a title is presented each week and participants must write and record a song using that title. The songs are posted and listeners vote for their favorites. In the case of Nur Ein, there is a judging panel that ranks the songs and participants are eliminated each week until "only one" (nur ein) remains. There are also additional challenges that must be incorporated such as "lyrics in the form of a sonnet" or "guest rapper." Nur Ein has been around for seven years and I've entered four times and won twice. NBD. :D  This is post #3.


Song #219 of 9999 

Title: Brownie Points
Artist: Frankie Big Face
Year: 2007
Album: Nur Ein 2

Click here to play song!

"Brownie points" is one of those phrases I never use in everyday life. There are certain words or phrases that just rub me the wrong way for some reason ("brainstorming" is one that comes to mind quickly) and I go out of my way to avoid them. So when I was presented with the title Brownie Points, I complained silently to myself—okay, I probably complained to anyone who would listen—and then set out to write the song because that's the world of competitive songwriting. You have to work with what you're dealt.

This turned out really well actually and I learned a pretty good trick in the process. I can't recall how I stumbled upon the harmonized refrain that concludes each verse ("lovin' you the way I do") but I found if I made that hook the focal point of the tune rather than the title, I could live with it much more easily. I've used this trick a few times since then to make undesirable titles more palatable.

The challenge for this tune was time signature changes and I knew I wanted to avoid the typical prog rock style I so strongly associate with meter changes (especially after delving into that realm the previous week). I ended up with this sort of laid-back island music feel which I really like and a time signature pattern of 7/8-4/4-4/4-7/8. I'm really pleased with how well my real saxophone blended with the fake GarageBand horns. Lyrically, I allowed myself to take a lot of near-rhyme liberties ("Rolls-Royce" and "of course" for example) and I think this was a good choice. I've since become much less rigid about rhyming and this has opened up my lyric-writing considerably. My only regret about this tune is some awkward vocal phrasing and intonation trouble that went unfixed. But overall, I like this one a lot and I regained some songwriting confidence and momentum by exercising some smart creative choices. I also won the round so that was nice. :D

No comments:

Post a Comment