Novak (novak) wrote,
Novak
novak

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Musical: Recording "Listen To You"

Well, I have another demo to post, but I'm a bit more reluctant on this one. I've been working on this recording of "Listen To You" on and off for a month now, and it's been far and away the hardest of the lot so far. After an obsessive last three days, I guess it's done, but "done" only in the sense that I don't know that I can do particularly better at it by myself, at least not yet. So this is the most "demo-y" of the demos: I don't think it's as close to what I've got in my head as I'd like, and definitely needs the entire creativity of the band and perhaps all the recording resources of Nashville to fully come alive.

"Listen To You" was written for my students in the spring semester of 2002, my last year teaching at St. Joe before starting grad work. It is strange for being written backwards, more or less. I can remember coming up with the last verse first, maybe during the Christmas break and singing it to myself. And then I remember thinking of the lines for what became the fourth verse outside St. Joe Hall walking to or from Mark Lang's car one winter night, and stopping under the bare trees along the drive and thinking it through, watching my breath float up and away from me, and then singing the two verses to Mark, and receiving his blessing for keeping at them. Then at the beginning of April, when I was at Kate Fagan Taylor's place in Victoria, I wrote the first verse after she and I had spent the afternoon walking along the Pacific coast, down at the base of a forest of gigantic evergreens some 30 miles upcoast from the city. I then wrote the three verses out on different slips of paper, put them on the coffee table and tried to arrange them. Moving them around, I only then realized that my first, second, and third verses were in fact verses 5, 4, and 1 of a song that now needed verses 2, 3, and a chorus, if not a bridge, too (although that didn't happen). With that arc in my mind, I was able to "fill in" the missing pieces of what it seemed I was trying to say. My visit with Kate provided some more imagery for verse 2, and the whole seemed to sum up the feeling of "farewell" and "graduation" that I was feeling as I planned to leave the school along with the senior class that year, although I tried to make the lyrics more universal to human experience than my specific situation.

So, here is "Listen To You" for you to listen to. :-)


Listen To You

I saw you stand there, watching the sea
Sunlight fading, waves on the beach
The sound of Time, familiar and strange
Always the same, but hinting a change
Always the same, but hinting a change
Both familiar and strange.

Conversations, a walk after dark
Playing games, a day in the park
Patterns of life, the rhythm of days
The dance of friendship fashions its ways
The dance of friendship fashions its ways
Through our rhythm of days

And when our time here comes to an end
Something new is bound to begin
We’re running toward it under the stars
And all we know is we know that it’s ours

Love on our lips, life in our veins
Songs in our hearts of wonder and praise
These sudden moments when all is clear
Perfect love casts out fear
Perfect love casts out fear
And then it all becomes clear

Memories fade away
Photographs take their place
The years slip by and then we’re gone
But something in us keeps moving on
Something in us keeps moving on
Even after we’re gone

And when our time here comes to an end
Something new is bound to begin
We’re running toward it under the stars
And all we know is we know that it’s ours

Everyone’s got something to say
Don’t let those words slip away
Bring them out in all you do
Let the universe listen to you
Let the universe listen to you
In all you do.
Tags: friends-notre dame era, musical, saint joseph's high school, students, the renaissance men, writing
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