Song Profiles

Song title: Wasteland
From the album: A Broke Machine

I fall in love with other artists' music on a weekly basis. Sometimes the love lasts for days, but other times it lasts for years. When I was still writing songs for A Broke Machine, I was deeply in love with Patrick Wolf and decided to record at least one song "Wolf style". I didn't really know what that meant, other than I wanted something more upbeat...something with broader strokes, something that made me want to dance a little. Unfortunately, the song I was working on at the time was Wasteland, which was a ballad I probably would have nixed from the album because I didn't want to include another slow piano song.

Then, all of a sudden, my left hand started bouncing around in a melodic bassline. It was ridiculous! I recorded the track and then laughed for twenty minutes because it SO DIDN'T WORK. However, I kept asking myself "What would Patrick do?" I decided Patrick would like my effort and encourage me to see where the new direction could lead the song. In the end, I followed the breadcrumbs and found my way to the recording that made it on to the album.

Once the song was finished, I played it for Kevin. He hated it. He thought it was flat, pop and meaningless, which left me feeling deflated. I still liked the tune because it was so different (yes, poppy) from my other tracks, but I agreed with him that it seemed to stick out from the whole record in a weird way. I crossed the song off the track list.

When I finally had all the tracks finished, I still felt like the album wasn't complete. I handed the songs over to Tommy to mix them and at the last minute, decided to throw Wasteland into the bunch. I expected that he would mix it but I would decide against releasing it. However, I was really surprised when I heard his version for the first time. It didn't sound flat or meaningless! Although Kevin still didn't love the song, I decided I did and quickly rescued it from eternal obscurity.

Now I'm happy every time the song comes up on the album because it's such a refreshing break from the heavier songs in the mix. I can barely remember what the song sounded like when it was a slow, ballad-y thing and I can't hear it without silently thanking Patrick Wolf for his indirect encouragement. He was right. It's good to play around and follow hopeless breadcrumbs - if for no other reason, than to get a change of scenery.

April 2009