Pretty Good Team

I brought a new song to a songwriting workshop with Sally Barris this past weekend, and it got panned.  I learned a few things in the process.

This particular song was written for my wife.  The idea for the song came from a moment when we were discussing our regular everyday things that we do, and juggle, and manage.  There was a feeling of warmth between us that only couples can probably understand -- couples who have tacked life and kids, and job changes and health issues and aging parents (etc..) together for a while.   At this particular moment she was also feeling down about some things she had screwed up (don't we all?).

Anyway, I smiled at her and said "you know... we make a pretty good team."   

I played the original version of the song for her, nervously, and she liked it.  Loved it, I'd even say.  This is highly unusual -- she's my toughest critic -- to the point where I don't even play songs for her any more if I just want her approval (as opposed to her opinion).

When I offered the song at the workshop, though, the song fell flat. The meaning of the song relied on inside subtext that only my wife and I understood.  It also wandered a bit (which was intentional -- another inside reference).  Finally, the "pretty good team" hook didn't go over with a lot of people.  I was told it felt almost negative.

I've been writing songs long enough to know that, when you offer a song for critique, you can't argue with your audience, and you can't be seeking approval.  I didn't argue, but I will admit that, despite knowing intellectually that I was "too close" to the song to be objective, I really did want approval of my peers -- especially of Sally.  I admit that it hurt to have the song fall so flat.

After I licked my wounds overnight, I tried to address the comments made by my peers, and re-wrote the song.  The new version is what's posted on my site under "new stuff, rough cuts."  This is the version that I took to our regular songwriters meeting last night.

The new version was well-received, though it still didn't seem to be a big winner.  Especially with the ladies in the group.  

Ah, well.  

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