When people ask me if I write the lyrics first or the music I will answer “yes”, but ‘yes’ doesn’t really tell the story. Sometimes I write some lyrics and then find some chord progressions and work out a melody. Other times I’ve got a bit of melody and need to wait for some words to fit. And sometimes the two happen simultaneously. But invariably the melody will lead to changes in the lyrics and vice versa. Often the process takes place over such a long time that it’s hard to work out what came first.
I’ve got a few songs that I sat down and simply wrote. Mostly they develop over time. Appreciation took quite a while.
At first it was a chord progression. It sounded good and I kept playing it. Little by little a bit of melody occurred to me. Then, walking on a street in Alice Springs, the first line occurred to me. Then I had a clue – this was a song about toxic busy-ness. I’ve always kept myself busy. There’s never enough time to do all the things I want to do or commit to do. Somehow most things get done, but in doing it all I’ve missed a lot. This is a song about a different possibility.
The chords, melody and lyrics of Appreciation are different to anything else I’ve ever done. When I post a song on SoundCloud or BandCamp they always ask me what genres the song falls into. I usually don’t know. I think I called Appreciation “Pop”, but that doesn’t feel quite right. I only arrived at it by identifying what genres it isn’t. Any suggestions?