I have written quite a few songs over the last year or 2 and have been listening back to some of the demos to see which I might like to try playing live. One thing that became very apparent during this review of material was that 95% of the songs are in a minor key and are not what you would call ‘cheerful sing-alongs’. Now this is not, in itself, an issue except that I do feel that when performing live it is good to have some up beat material that might get the audience singing along.
So I decided I should see if I can come up with some songs with a more positive vibe to them. This felt like an important step for my own wellbeing as I have been writing about mental health issues and the stigma around suicide ideation for a long time and I do worry about it having a negative effect.
I picked up my guitar and started jamming with a goal in mind (which was a very rare approach). What I discovered was that the chords etc were quite easy to find in order to put something interesting together. The lyrics on the other hand were much harder to find. The fact that I had a target meant that a lot of the things I came up with felt forced and shallow. Maybe on reflection that is not a problem and a fun song can be frivolous and will come from somewhere less serious than the other stuff I have written. Well I stuck with it for a little while and a song came together pretty quickly which I called ‘Blackpool in the Summer’.
Something else that I discovered was that having started out with the mission of writing a positive upbeat song it did not stop with the one song. For the next few days I noticed that each time I picked up the guitar I was still in this positive groove and a few songs developed in a similar vibe. This did not last forever though and soon something happened in my day to day existence that triggered the need to write a song back in my comfort zone.
The result is that I do have a few up beat songs that if I eventually manage to get out performing this stuff that I have a balanced set rather than singing about the sad stuff all the time. Pushing myself to do something out of the norm has been good for me and has expanded my repertoire into a pleasant place.