Blissless Christmas

As hosts for Song Talk Radio’s 2015 Holiday Show, we were challenged to write a 60-second Christmas song in the days leading up to the show.  I decided that in order to get a song done quickly, it would have to be rap/spoken word and I’d need to come up with lyrics first.  I started with the internally rhyming title Blissless Christmas, and wrote 4 verses with an AABB rhyme structure.  I recorded a quick demo on my phone.

A couple of days later, I started on the music. The first thing was to develop the two beats, knowing the structure would be 3 verses of half-time beats, and the final verse at full speed (150 bpm in this case).  This would be reflected in the lyrical shift from cynicism to optimism.  I kept the instrumentation simple with piano, strings, horns, and bass, and used many 9th and 7th chords to give the music bed a more R&B or soul flavour.

I also did a quick video for the final track.   Enjoy!

Blissless Christmas
Why all the sadness?
Don’t have a reason
For blingin’ the season

Blissless Christmas
Yuletide forgiveness
Feed all the children
Canadian and Syrian

Blissless Christmas
Consumerism hits us
After Hallow’s Eve
The pockets, they bleed

Christmas Blissness
Hugs and kisses
Under the mistletoe
Reindeer sleigh go!

Under My Shell

I fooled around with a dance-rock groove with spoken word song several years ago, but never really liked the production I did or the way I performed the spoken word.

I presented my updated song at the Songwriter’s Cafe meetup group and it was very well received.  One comment from the group stood out for me: one member said how at first, she was taken by the dance club feel of the track, but as the song progressed, her attention shifted to anticipating what lyric came next.  Great feedback!

Download the full album for free.

This is the revisited version of Under My Shell:

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here
I’ve always heard be brave don’t fear
My forclaw twitches begs me to start
For what I face I have not the heartNor the nerves or the senses
Nor do I have the defenses

To my left the hot land stretches out
To my right no end with no doubt

Slowly I peer out from under my shell
How far is the other side I cannot tell

All these creatures rumble before me
I cross my eyes and all is blurry

They move with much speed but no grace
On their big black feet they race and race

I’ve never seen such reckless haste
And a greater challenge I’ve never faced

Stepping out slowly but surely
With great dignity I tread
And as the wind rushes by me
I know in seconds I’ll be dead

These creatures they barrel down
Down upon me they seem to frown

For this rush what is the cost
In this hot grey land I am lost

No place for the likes of me
But I was too stupid to see

Feelings of foolish pride give way
To feelings of fear and dismay

I wish to be back inside my shell
This day I must live to tell

No protection it will give me now
All over me these creatures will plow

Shatter the shell I hold so dear
Only now is my error so clear

In the end I feel only nothing
To the memory of a shell I cling

Stepped out slowly but surely
Through madness I fell
Oh I wish I would’ve stayed
Stayed safe under my shell