Song Profiles

Song title: The River
From the album: To the Bone
Requested by: Kristilyn

Before To the Bone was released, I began to produce a music video for the album's "single". However, being the indecisive, wishy person that I can be, I didn't want to pick the song myself. So, I gave the video director three song choices. (Falling, The River, and Stained) He picked Falling...and secretly I was crushed that he didn't select The River.

Now, you may be asking yourself, Why did she let someone else choose the song for the music video? Was there a shortage of brain cells at Walmart? What's up with that? In fact, the only explanation I have is that I was going through my lifelong phase of I AM THE LAST PERSON I AIM TO PLEASE...and I wanted the director to be happy with whatever song he worked on for the whole six weeks he was subjected to me.

The reason I was secretly crushed about not filming a video for The River was that it's just a fun, unpredictable tune. I like that it sounds a bit like an audio assemblage. I thought we could make a weird, disjointed video and that I could flaunt some artsy, nonsensical images. Instead, we made a sober, cerebral piece. I totally learned my lesson, not that there's anything wrong with sober and cerebral. It's just...sober and cerebral aren't artsy and nonsensical, which are just SO much more fun.

I only vaguely remember writing The River - all I recall was sitting in my apartment, and my fingers just fell into the music...effortlessly. Lyrics jotted quickly...pretty much a puzzle in their meaning. Once the song was written, I was at a total loss as to how to produce it. Enter, Kevin.

The River was the first song Kevin and I produced together. During the week I put down the keyboard and scratch vocals. Then over the weekend, Kevin would sit on my bed as he pushed buttons and twiddled knobs on the Roland VS880. I just sat on the floor for hours at a time and waited for a song to emerge. This particular process took weeks. Weeks! On Sunday evenings, we'd drive down the block to Taco Bell, and I'd have one taco and a nacho bell grande...sweet, fatty rewards for our labor.

Around this time, Kevin decided to get ProTools. The River was the first song to transfer from our little digital box, to The Bigtime. Once the instrumental bits were produced, I re-recorded the vocals in the hallway of his tiny Los Feliz apartment. As quaint as it sounds now, at the time, we felt pretty tough.

In writing this article here, I hoped to find the original song notes from my files. However, they're nowhere to be found. There was once a time when I didn't care about archives and songwriting process. Those days are happily over, along with the days of letting other people tell me which songs I like the best. I like this one.

July 2006