Friday, 28 May 2010

Without Fear track #3 - Lighten Up, No Thanks


Another track-by-track blog about my album WITHOUT FEAR, released in December 2009. Below is the chirpy, catchy "Lighten Up, No Thanks" on the player. Have you ever been told things like "Why the long face?" or
"Cheer up mate, it might never happen!" when it already has? This song is for you!



http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_2954488


MUSIC
This is a straight-up bouncy, catchy, acoustic-indie-rock song - nothing special about the production or any fancy effects.

That said, there are about 3 or 4 tempo changes during the song, which took ages to work out! I remember choosing it as the very first track of my solo material to record with Matt Langley (of The Library Suits and Captain What), which was a stupid idea because I was always demanding changes to the tempo. I think it was worth it in the end - it creates ebb and flow, and gives real dynamics to the song's mood. But Matt may not forgive me for those tortuous first couple of sessions.

Recording this myself made me realise how much easier producing music would be on my own. I didn't know exactly what I wanted before starting it, but I had a picture in my mind, and through the trial and error of working it out I didn't waste anyone else's time. Also I am notoriously loose when it comes to playing guitar. In the old band, my priority playing live would be just to hit roughly the right chords in the right time while spinning around, and during recording sessions I remember Jon (also of The Library Suits fame) screaming from 2 rooms away to get it right after about the 12th take.

Needless to say I am a little bit tighter with my guitar playing now, and I am much more considerate/casual when it comes to recording with other people (such as the acoustic sessions with Matt recorded last October in the UK). But still, "Lighten Up" was a defining track for me in my learning process on recording and producing my solo material.

LYRICS
The lyrics are the most important part of this song, as hopefully you can see. I'm not a deliberately moody person - I'm no emo - but I remember looking back at the first 20ish years of my life and seeing a barrage of people telling me to "cheer up" when a) I wasn't upset, or b) I really was upset and these people had no idea or right to tell me how to feel. Usually it was said with a thuggish kind of grin, and by the same people who told me I "think too much". So you know what? Fuck those people :)

There's some great lines in this song, but I think my favourite that sums it up is "What the hell would you know? You're no good at being a cynic". There are many people in this world who don't understand satire or cynicism, and many others who think sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. To hell with all of them. Thinking and feeling have more than 1 dimension, and you're the only person who can know how you think and how you feel.

Listen to this song, and feel the awesome liberating joy that only cynicism can bring.

Have you ever had a hundred thoughts in a second?
Are you living life the way you’d reckoned?
You walk around with that smile on your face
I want to say that your bubble is a hollow sham

Lighten up, no thanks
Lighten up, no thanks
You say I think too much, well you don’t fucking think enough
I’m happy as I am, so lighten up no thanks

Have you ever had a hundred thoughts in second?
I don’t think so
Are you living life the way you’d reckoned?
Someone would have told you so
And you’ve still got that stupid smile on your face
I wanna say that your bubble is a hollow sham

Lighten up, no thanks
I’ll tell you where to go
Lighten up, no thanks
I don’t think so
You say I think too much, well you don’t fucking think enough
I’m happy as I am, so lighten up no thanks

You’re the happiness fascists, you’re telling people what to think
But what the hell would you know, you’re no good at being a cynic
And I shouldn’t have to tell you all the things that I’m aware about
I’m living life, because I know the things I really care about
One more time!
One more time
One more time, lighten up no thanks


You can listen to and buy the album at any of these fine places:

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