At some point in the past few weeks 15 songs (demos, really) felt like Good Enough for S01. But more than that I was starting to drag my feet on each song because writing and recording vocals continues to be an extreme pain in the ass. Still haven’t decided what if anything I “do” with the songs from S01 – there are a few I could redo and pull into an EP, but I would definitely have to rerecord everything from scratch and that doesn’t sound fun or interesting or like a process I would learn much from at the moment. This could change!

In the meantime some new ideas started occurring to me and I’m more excited about that, so: S02.

I’ve written here (somewhere) before about the repetitive lines I get stuck in my head and my impulse to build songs around them. So I’m teasing that out a bit, and moving away from things that were a focus last time: lyrics, song structures, interesting & complicated chords. Moving more towards very repetitive, droney, loopy sounds. My inspiration here is definitely John Lurie, although the stuff I’m writing now already seems to be moving away from that, so who knows. But in any case, I doubt this will be a 15-song season, probably 5 or so, just some longer, more repetitive stuff. More meditative, really.

I went for a run yesterday and realized I run in 7/4 at about 80bpm, and a 30 minute song along those lines to listen to/zone out to while I run sounds very appealing, so maybe that’s what I’m building up to here. Who knows, not me, never me.

S01x14 – babe you’re on the sidewalk

I’ve been noodling on this one for a few weeks and kind of dragging my feet about recording the vocals b/c I knew it would be a bunch of work. so then I did the work, but it didn’t come out how I wanted, and knew I needed more work, but decided just to polish up the demo and be done so I can move on to other things. The backing vocals are all a nightmare to me personally but it’s fine to convey the basic idea of a song that maybe 5 people will listen to. There’s some bones I like here, I’d revisit this one in the future.

idk what the lyrics mean. I was driving the other day and there was a person riding their bike on the sidewalk and I said to myself “babe you’re on the sidewalk” and that felt like as good a phrase as any for a chorus.


the curtains moved
I swear I saw a face
just inside the window
staring back

the lights all went out
my senses lit up
echoed by the blue glow
deep within the black

this is just another night
this is just another test
this is just a way to make the neighbors talk
this is you not feeling right
this is you not at your best
this is how you get your body drawn in chalk
babe you’re on the sidewalk

i’m not difficult

they’re wondering what happens next
we’re ruining a sacred text
the things we do tonight will echo door to door for years
they maybe won’t recover from the shock

you’re breathing but your eyes are closed
your mind is somewhere else who knows
you’re getting wrinkles up & down your favorite frock
babe you’re on the sidewalk

this is just another night
this is just another test
this is just a way to make the neighbors talk
this is you not feeling right
this is you not at your best
this is how you get your body drawn in chalk
babe you’re on the sidewalk

this is just another night
this is just another test
this is just a way to make the neighbors talk
this is you not feeling right
this is you not at your best
this is gonna start a trend on tiktok
babe you’re on the sidewalk

What is a podcast season?

When I started this project I was like OK this is the beginning so this is season 1. I didn’t really think (purposefully) about what S1 would be, and how I would know when S1 was over and it was time for S2. I say purposefully b/c I learned a lot time ago that when I am inspired to start a project, my best bet is just to start it as quickly as possible, with as little brain investigation as possible, otherwise I am likely to overthink, overcomplicate, and maybe even never actually even start.

I think somewhere at the back of my mind there was a vague plan in place, however undefined, related to the calendar year, since I started this idea early in the year. S1 would essentially be me doing however many songs i could get through each week in the winter, spring, and summer, and then the fall would be spent cleaning up the best of those and putting out an album by the end of the year. Something concrete to tie it up nicely.

I’m not sure I really want to do that anymore. like 85% sure I don’t.

Factors include:

  • it was way more difficult to finish a song a week than I anticipated. A song every 2 weeks was a more realistic goal in theory & hindsight, except for ~life stuff continually throwing wrenches in that plan.
  • The songs are kind of all over the map. I’ve explored different moods/styles/etc based on things I wanted to teach myself, things I wanted to learn on the back end of music production. So now when I look at the songs so far I don’t see how they form a cohesive set.
  • A lot of the songs are frankly not worth exploring further. I think if pressed I have 5 (out of 13 so far) songs, maybe, that I’d be happy to open back up and tidy/finish up. So, yeah it’s an EP. but I’ve put out EPs before and I feel kinds of unenthusiastic about it. maybe i’ll change my mind about this. maybe not!
  • When I say “tidy/finish up” in some cases it would mostly likely have be a full re-recording. Redo all the vocals at least, since I’ve made significant strides in that area. But the keys and drums bug me on literally every song, so.

My cat Tilly just hopped over and started licking my arm. I love her so much.

I’m working right now on what is Song 14. So I’m sort of eyeing Song 15 as being a good natural stopping point for A Season of a Podcast In Which The Point is Not the Podcast.

I think I’m more excited to think about S2 would be, and keep learning, keep applying what I have learned, to doing better in the future, then I am in tying a bow on any songs from S1. Because I can still only improve, and so who’s to say at some point after/during S2 I would feel better about applying what future me has learned to those same songs, and making them even better.

So what would S2 look like, how would it different from S1.

S1 was just: Start doing this and see where it goes. I learned a lot, I identified a lot of knowledge & skills gaps, and started addressing some of them. I got comfortable with the tools, although I still don’t feel super comfortable with them, and developed a process (and improved said process significantly.

I think the main thing that frustrates me at this point is the process of choosing sounds when I’m recording. I need a bass here, but WHAT bass sound. I need drums but which drums? I need a soft pad in the background – there are hundreds of soft pads and I guess I have to go through all of them to decide which I like best? I’m sure there are people who love clicking through all the options they have at their fingertips every day when they sit down to compose, but I am extremely not one of them.

So: constraints, my baby, my friend, my savior.

The new constraints for S2 should be related to the instrument sounds. Just pick them in advance and force myself to use those, and see how that affects the music I write, the ideas I chose, the things that happen.

1 keyboard sound, 1 bass, 1 drums, leave a slot for guitar, and leave myself 1 wildcard for color depending on the needs of the song. Voice and overdubs/background vocals: whatever I need based on mood. That feels creatively constrain-y but not restrictively constrain-y.

Some of the constraints from S1 will stay: try to get 1 song done and posted every 2 weeks. Don’t overthink it. Use the same hardware & software.

When should I start this, where is the break between S1 and S2. I think I’ll decide after I post song 14. I might do a 15th, or maybe 14 is fine and it’s time to move on! This is what my gut tells me, and I see no value in not following my gut, in just about everything.

S01x13 – I Want to Call Your Dad (Part 2)

I can’t remember when/why I decided I wanted to redo the first song I posted here. Not even really redo – despite whatever ~growth I’ve had in understand music editing, that’s still one of my favorite things I’ve done here. But I felt like I explore the idea more. Not even “flesh it out” per se, but more “keep messing with it.”

I changed most of the instruments, besides also adding verses & bridges.

The main difference between this song and any other song I’ve ever posted here is that I have now taken one (1) singing lesson. I felt like it helped! I feel like it shows. We talked a lot about posture, breath, vowel sounds. He gave me things to practice and I have been practicing them. Recording the singing this week went about 90% easier than it ever has before, as a direct result. So yay for that.

Not sure Part 2 is objectively any better, musically/sonically, than Part 1. I also don’t know that the additional lyrics really flesh out much needed story about why the singer wants to call your dad sometime. But whatever, I learned some stuff and it was fun to make. the end.


he’s got a mansion on an island
a full-time staff of 23
he’s got a voice like honeyed thunder
he’s got a smile meant just for me

he asked me things
not just get to know you stuff, we really shared
what were my aspirations
what’s on my heart
the words fell out
I wasn’t scared

it felt safe
what’s communication anymore? who shares?
he seemed genuinely interested
i thought: someone cares

he smells strong, and clean
he seems genuinely kind
he so different yet familiar
somehow our politics align

i asked him finance advice
he said there’s no get rich quick
named some index funds, said to diversify
and that’s it, there’s no trick

it felt true
it felt right
as he told me how exactly to invest
it felt deep
it felt real
i said i would
he seemed impressed

hey: I wanna call your dad sometime

S01x12 – Cherish the Prototype

Hmmmmm not even sure what to write about this one. Going into it, I had been listening to a lot of k-pop, especially some of my favorite producers like Primary and L-Like; taking apart the chords and melodies they use to understand how their songs are constructed. So that was definitely top of mind when I came up with this song, but it definitely sounds nothing like them, or anywhere near as good.

One of the things I’m still struggling with/amazed by is how different the song sounds when it’s done. All the way through building the music, even through writing and recording the vocals, this sone was One Thing in my head, and then when I listened back to it I realized it was completely Not That Thing.

That’s fine, part of that is just letting my songs be my songs. There’s maybe something good about that, even, a trail that leads to whatever it is “my music” sounds like/is. But still part of me feels disappointment about where the finished product always lands. And it’s not about the reality being not as good as the version I imagine at the start, I’ve been writing fiction for 25+ years, I’m familiar and comfortable and accepting of how that works. It’s more about wanting to see and understand how the choices I make influence the finished project.

Using writing as an example: Say I’m writing a story. I can see how the decisions I make at each sentence level will determine the path, the shape the story will take as a result. This song today mentions “decision trees” and that’s what I mean – I can see how the choices affect what I’m doing to the thing I’m creating, in writing. But in music I’m still very much in the “what does this button do?”/ “who knows why this vocal effect sounds different from that one? not me. / “why is this the wrong drum sound for this song?”

I guess I’m frustrated that the more I learn the more I’m still realizing I have no clue what I’m doing. I wish I was making more progress! But whatever, every song I finish is progress of some kind so here you go.

Anyways this song was really fun for the most part. I think it’s the right direction. I like the chords, I like the key, I like the amount of lyrics it has. Still my singing is the pits (more about that in a different post), and there’s still stuff I would fiddle with and edit (if I decide to do more with this song) , but it’s a pretty catchy song, to me, and that’s what I care about most. Onward!


logged off for the summer
trying to focus on things that weren’t you
wondering if you ever noticed, if you even knew

take it all apart
put it back together
some parts are yours, some are mine
build a better version, learn from past mistakes
this place, this time

midnight in the bedroom
counting the shadows in the mirror
hoping your voice still sounds familiar if you call
whispers getting clearer
trying to hear the prototype behind the wall

went through old notebooks
wondering what might have made you stay
drew a decision tree, found a new you & me
Closer than ever, miles away

took it all apart
put it back together
some parts were yours, some were mine
built a better version, learned from past mistakes
this place, this time