Saturday, July 28, 2012

Song #222 of 9999 - Last Hope 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 #6.


Song #222 of 9999 

Title: Last Hope
Artist: Frankie Big Face
Year: 2007
Album: Nur Ein 2

Click here to listen! 

Last Hope is a song that has grown on me. When I wrote it, I was really disenchanted with the simple chorus and the lyrics seemed a little tossed off. This happens a lot with songs that I write and record quickly and it happens in both directions. Sometimes things that disappointed me during the creative process are later accepted, even embraced. Conversely, a song may seem really great to me while I'm writing it and later seem worthless. (More of those coming up!) But this tune has garnered some staying power and I've started working it into my live act.

It's really not in my nature to write a song longer than four minutes, let alone six. But that's what I was charged with for Last Hope. My issue with songs of this length is that they usually overstay their welcome by several minutes and I had a plan almost immediately for avoiding this pitfall: a very slow song with a slow harmonic rhythm and very few chords. I wanted to give the song a lot of space and keep it relatively uncluttered. To that end, the verse is only two chords (I IV I) and each lasts several long measures. The pre-chorus and chorus progressions move along a bit more quickly but the song is so slow it still takes almost a minute to get through these two sections. By the time the second verse starts, I'm almost three minutes into the song and I'm usually wrapping things up by then! To balance this glacial forward progress, I employed a sixteenth-note ostinato in the electric piano to serve as a kind of ticking second hand.

By the time the song wraps, the clock reads 7:51. In retrospect, I could have finished in just under seven minutes but I think the outro is really the only section that feels long. It would probably be less obvious (and annoying) if the saxophone attacks weren't so harsh. I also really wish I had had access to a bari sax, which would have balanced the sax choir with some bottom end.

Fun facts! This is my father's favorite song by me which makes me like it even more. He says it reminds him of Bret Michaels which makes me like it less. While my dad agrees that the ending is too long, he also feels the song could use an additional verse, which he took the liberty of writing for me(!). I'm not sure the world is ready for the Caravella/Caravella songwriting team but I haven't thrown it away either so who knows?

1 comment:

  1. To me it sounds quite a bit like something Bronski Beat & Pink Floyd would have written together. Long intro like Pink Floyd's Division Bell Album. Sax like Bronski Beat's Love & Money. Enjoyed how your voice sounds ethereal, or light & wispy. In a reassuring way you are telling the listener "you're gonna love again." However, I can also hear why your father thought it sounded like something Bret Michaels would have sung.