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At long last, my 4th and final song of November 2011.

Challenge #4: Write a song inspired by this Reinfried Marass photo.

I was really fatigued by the end there. Been writing music every evening and every weekend this month, excepting the few days I spent feeling guilty for not writing music. Like Thanksgiving. The broad strokes of an idea for this (love song for Stephen King's Christine) came easily and immediately, but the song wasn't happening. I started to lose faith and look for another topic.

But it kept nagging at me. I had a hook I liked that changed keys by starting on a V/vi, and I was dead set on using it wherever my other decisions led me. My mistake was feeling since it was a love song it had to be a ballad, and in a simple piano or guitar orchestration. Finally when I randomly tried a rock pattern, it just sounded good so I kept with it.

Despite my intentions, it is my opinion that the entire song could be interpreted as a discarded man retreating into drugs to escape feeling anything. I've heard it said on occasion that the artist's intention is immaterial, so maybe to some that's what it's about. But it's actually a car in the woods, hoping his Christine returns to him before either the mechanical stresses of the Earth or rust win the battle to destroy him.

Technical stuff: gain staging! You can all laugh at me for not learning this until my 16th song, but this song was so much easier to mix than the others -- and ended up blending better too -- all because of gain staging. See, in the analog world, you can shoot for 0dB, and overs go over. When working with digital, not only do overs get clipped, but effects and processors don't work very cleanly near the top. So the first thing I did was add a Gain/Trim plug-in to every track and adjust it so that it peaks at -15dB (some use -12, other as low as -20). Then I did the same to every effect I added, making sure the output peaked again at -15dB. Thus, when the sounds hit the faders and I played the song, they all right across the board peak at -15dB. That's when I start mixing with the faders, but from a super clean signal that knits together much better than before.

[Verse 1]
Everything I have on Red to win
A chronic fury just beneath my skin
Only wind bears witness to my scars
A tug of war between the Earth and Mars
Shattered boundaries let the world tear through
Ablating all I am till you
Return me to the stars

I'm not real here
Hiding from existence in between
Until I disappear
I'll wait for you Christine

[Verse 2]
Empty from the effort not to be
Drowned in this morass consuming me
Nowhere's long since ceased to call me guest
Nothing grants a blanket for my rest
Memories of something to forgive
The miracle of how you live
Like a thing possessed



[Verse 3]
Rays of God to fade the clothes I wore
Don't even try reflecting anymore
Time to honor debt repaid in dust
To feel your gleam if only just
To burn me to the core

[Chorus x2]