Genesis: Over My Head
Is it possible to feel inferior without feeling insecure? Jealous, without feeling bitter?
I say yes.
To stand in awe or amazement of either a collective effort or an individual performance is one way. Maybe it's just the way someone lives their life; sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how they do it with such style and grace.
That's what Over My Head is about.
Starting around 10 AM on a Saturday, I began this song on Piano. First thing I played was the first thing I used: the intro piano part. Nothing about it changed. I was so taken to it that I knew something was about to happen.
Immediately heard the vocal melody, I grabbed my iPhone and sang some gibberish into the recorder app. For an hour and a half, I sat there and sculpted the words.
Wife walks in right around lunch time, maybe a little after. At this point, I had created a loop of the piano part but, at that point, had only added the toy piano thing that you hear on the 2nd verse and the final chorus. But that's it. I hadn't recorded any vocals (and no other instruments). But already I felt very confident about the melody and the words I had just written, so I just sang them to her while the loop played and she stood holding Henry.
After I finished, I looked over, and noticed she was well, a little emotional. "It's just so sad," she replied, hearing the words for the first time. Looking into her eyes, you could tell she was trying to figure out whom and what the song was about. She had her suspicions that this song was more personal than I normally let on.
Well, I didn't offer whom the song was about , figuring she'd eventually put it together on her own. But I did tell her that, on the substance of the lyrics, I disagreed.
I mean, I understood why she felt that way from an initial reaction, because the chords had a tearful feeling to them, and especially alone and without the rest of the the music and its parts (not yet written).
But, instead, I felt it to be beautiful and, if anything, the singer's flaw was that he was blind to his own potential and confidence. Now, he never lets on if it bugged him; ultimately he was just in awe of whom he was singing about. So he wasn't complaining and he wasn't begrudging his muse; he was blown away by it/him/her.
Not too much later, I came up with the bass and drums. I liked how restrained and foundational they were. If you listen to the bass, it's literally a whole bunch of whole notes. It's tough for the musician in me to not want to play more. But it's very easy for the songwriter to see how well it works. And nowadays, the songwriter usually wins.
And, to tell you truth, I liked how they both set up the 6/8 feeling of the piano. It made it feel even more like a lullaby.
Personal Aside: For those of you with kids, or maybe young siblings: one of the most interesting things you find yourself doing is how you rock the baby...back...and forth...back and forth... Sure, it's sort of obvious how natural it is to do that. But what I find interesting is how you unknowingly do it even when you're not holding them. It's this internal rhythm, and it can be very peaceful. For example, I have found myself rocking the grocery cart at the grocery store (just like I do when he's in the stroller), even though my son is not inside it. I know! Weird!
And then came those guitar parts. I had so much fun writing and recording them. From both a technique perspective, as well as a sound and listening back perspective, I found they fill the song with this soaring sense of both earnestness and enthusiasm.
And then, ultimately, was the decision on the vocals. I wanted the words of the chorus to not only feel universal, but sound that way. So I think I sang the chorus 5 or 6 times to give it a small crowd feel.
Hey, at least that's my take. What do you think?
Words & Music written by Chance ©2010 Upside Down Left Handed Music (BMI)