This article is part of a series about my songwriting process in writing a song called “Every Love Song.” Read the whole series here.
With that in mind, I sat down to get it done. I started out by adding the rest of the background vocals and touching up vocals I’d already thought were finished. In going over the song in my head, I came up with some slightly different lyrics (just a word or two here and there) that I felt flowed better and got the meaning of the song across better. Of course, that meant I had to re-record.
That took me about three hours. Much of the time was figuring out what notes I wanted to sing and in experimenting with different ways of singing them.
Then, I spent about 6 hours working on the arrangement. That takes me to 27. I worked more on the drum parts, adding fills, changing the drums on the pre-chorus to give the song some more dynamics and punching the drums up, in general.
Changing The Arrangement
The changes in the arrangement required me to redo a few guitar parts here and there, as well as some of the bass. Mostly, it was because I added builds leading into different parts. If the drums are going thump, thump, THUMP, so should the guitars and bass.
If you’ll notice, the breakdown part is different now too. I drop out everything except vocals and one guitar. Then I add drums, then bass, then guitars and harmony vocals. I also finalized the ending (had to record a couple of quick parts there).
Anyway, all that takes time. To tell you the truth, it was a challenge emotionally. Kristin and I haven’t been on the same page about our relationship (or lack of one) and it’s been getting to me. It’s been hard to concentrate on a love song from that emotional turmoil. Two thoughts helped me power through. One was, if it doesn’t work out between us, I’d still like her to have this song as a tribute to how I feel about her. The second thought was that I liked the song. I wanted to get it finished. I could put on my producer hat and love the music and the lyric, no matter how difficult the subject of the song was.
Even though I made a lot of changes late in the game on this song, everything went reasonably well. A lot of the time I spent was on trying out different ideas and finding the ones that worked best.
I think the changes I made late (especially the small changes in the lyrics), really made a difference for me. It’s important to me to get across the idea I wanted to get across. ‘Every Love Song’ is not a song about fictional characters — it’s real to me. And it’s a direct communication from me to Kristin. It’s important to me to get it as right as I can. I love her and want to make sure she knows it!
Once all of the parts were finished, it was time to mix. Mixing is the process of blending the sounds together, adding effects, panning instruments to the left or right speakers and doing a bunch of technical stuff. In the mixing stage, I decided to drop one of the guitar parts altogether. I liked the song more when it was stripped down to extremely basic parts. It’s a simple song getting across a simple emotion — love. The mixing process was about 4 hours, which takes me to 31 hours.
I also spent a few hours listening to the song at various time during the recording process. That brings it up to about 34 hours. With two hours to make the video, that’s 36. Here it is!
That’s the song, but the story is not over yet. I did get a chance to play the song for Kristin on Valentine’s Day. Her reaction, next time.