March 10, 2017

February Album Writing Month, 2017 — “Soldier”

Category: Music — jerry @ 11:26 am

I think this one came out pretty well. It’s the only “hard rocker” of the bunch for this February project.

My three random songs for inspiration were as follows: for chords and structure, Stevie Wonder’s “Livin’ In The City”, for arrangement, CSNY’s “Ohio”, and my third song, to throw in some lyric ideas along with the first two, was “Welcome to the Jungle”. Haha! Another eclectic group of songs.

And yet…each one did indeed contribute something. I entered Stevie’s chords and structure into Band In A Box and while in the program used BIAB’s database for some of their built-in song styles that would emulate “Ohio”. I listened to several, particularly paying attention to electric guitar “robot musicians”, since I wanted distorted guitar to drive the song–much as they do in “Ohio”.

The rhymes and phrases I jotted down during this pre-production phase ended up not being used much by the time the actual song-writing came along a week and a half later, but looking at my notes I see that I had already decided–with the influence of the lyrics in the three songs, specifically, “tin soldiers” from “Ohio” and “jungle” from “Welcome to the Jungle”–to make this song about child soldiers in Africa. (I’m a huge Idris Elba fan–I think he should be the next James Bond–and loved his Oscar-nominated movie “Beasts of No Nation” about the subject).

Once again, allowing some time to go by from original idea (Title and Theme) to actual song-writing, I had enough ideas percolating to make the lyric writing go pretty quickly. I then generated a number of tracks in BIAB–again, concentrating on good distorted electric guitar sounds–imported them all into Cakewalk SONAR and then started editing, mixing, and mastering.

I imported the final mp3 into Magix Vegas (formerly Sony Vegas) video editor, put in the lyrics, then uploaded to YouTube. Since there is a lengthy Outro, I decided to put some photos of child soldiers in the video toward the end–adding, I believe, to the “emotional experience”.  (P.S.  One critique I received on this song mentions that I have the lead guitar mixed way too low.  Duly noted for the eventual remake.  Absolutely correct!):

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