I rated my 35 written, but unreleased songs: 12 1’s, 17 2’s, and 6 3’s (ascending scale). It was a lot easier than I thought, and I showed no mercy to the recent, or in some cases, the not-so-recent me, with the only criteria being, “Is it good? If so, how much so?”

Decisions had to be made quickly, so it was this am that, in a nod to efficiency, I decided not to work on the 3’s. At all. Notice I did NOT say I dropped them. Still something there in a few. They are just–they each have issues that feel like a lot of work ahead. There is a point where that all gets to be way too much, and art gives way to dirge. That’s never good with songs.

Considering cash and time, the 17 2’s are destine for a mix tape/ b-side release. There is no point in having good songs in the vault.

Could the 2’s be 1’s? Sure. But the goal is releasing these songs. Some I personally like better than some of the 1’s, but that does not men they are better, which I am sure only makes 1/2 sense. Historically I’ve been a fan of demos and b-sides, and good thing since I end up with a lot of them

I’m saving the #1’s, the 12 for outside production help, with an eye to an album or a bunch of ‘pro’ singles. There is something about each that makes them 1’s, and I cannot say what it is. I’ve investigated this slightly, and may be unknowable. But there does not seem to be any sense in really knowing, just like there is no reason to know where a song comes from. It’s just not worth investigating. Keep it magical/ mystical.

Phase 2 of the system starts tonight with setting up for the am. More on that next.

-jd

When the biggest problem you have is how to get all the songs up and out, you have the good kind of artsy problems.

Stretching for material is not my issue. I’ve released 12 with 35 to go. And say 5 won’t make if for one reason or another, that leaves 30. That’s still a lot.

Antithetical to general artistry, I’m going to have to create and execute a plan; one album (11 songs) and 2 mix tapes (9/10 songs ea.). Mix tapes out while I work on the ‘real‘ record.

How many things can stop you from getting something like this done? All of the things.

So, I.D. the snags and eliminate the bottlenecks. In this regard, I’ve divided OPE–my studio–in two. One half is for creation, and the other is for finishing. The thinking here is only create when creating, and only finish when finish. This works, and having two spaces keeps proper mindset.

Also, what goes together and what doesn’t? What’s the message and does it make sense to say some things together? Any of this knowable?

And, besides the song-songs, there are instrumentals. Include those or do a separate release. Is work on instrumentals just a way to avoid getting the sing-songs done? But instrumentals are songs.

See?

This is the long route to: a lot of stuff coming out, some sooner rather than later.
-jd

Modern List-ing.

The record is finished. This should be a really euphoric thing. And it is. But it’s also a relief. And it’s sad.

Finished means these songs are done. No more versioning, and hopefully I’ve stopped while still adding, not taking away. I’ve always somewhat-lethargically enjoyed the freedom of thought to stop on a song. You know, I’ll work and polish later. There’s safety in this too. Unfinished means relaxed judgement; a ‘yeah, but.’ Being content with a diamond in the rough. This mindset allows you to give yourself the permission to jump out of the process. This is the laziness talking.

There is pressure within trying to creating great work, and you can feel it in the process—the responsibility of finishing something great. Easy to just make something. Hard to make something that has potential to be great actually great.

And I am always trying to win in a sense. It’s a win over myself. Can I tap in? Can I just let it flow? Can I be patient enough to let it come? There are a million more question. Any you can’t directly ask them either.

Anyway, the point is all of this is that it looks like hot-on-the-heals of finishing, I only have a one-week break before the next round of writing with my songwriter group (peer reviewed, 12 songs in 12 weeks). So do I let myself off he hook? I just did all this work and spent all this money finishing the record. Need to work. Need to take a week off. Take the Fall off from writing. Right?

No.

Always do the group. Why? Because I always write when I’m in the group. And I am a writer. Writing obviously produces works, and at my very worst, I’m at least one of four. So how could I not.

For example, yesterday I was farting around and had a something pop up. Some  music with a little extra life to it. These somethings—a snippet that’s different—come not every time. But they only happen for me when I’m in writing mode. Really,  I could make a wee bit of time to finish it (or finished enough for the next stage). How much time does it really take? JD: always do it. Here’s a snippet that became Up All Alone. This is the product of the farting around, writing part.

What if I was out—or gave myself the permission to sit out of the group this last summer? What’ve been the real cost? Well, I was like 6 of 8 this summer (keepers to songs written). On fire! And, 2 of the songs made the record, bring it up more than a few notches (not to mention the single, here).

In the case of Up All Alone, I’d have one less keeper.

Lesson: always stick to your patterns and what works . This is where the real growth happens. I can see and hear it. There is a fallacy that art is not work. It’s soul-soul-crushing work. But you have to do the work.

It took about 100 song to get things right, and it takes a lot of time to write 100. You have to do the work.