Old Guitar Songs [part1?]

Back in 2011 I’d just gotten my first real job and realized that I now had the supernatural ability to acquire a thing when I wanted a thing, using an unfamiliar sort of magic called “money.”

I used my new power to buy a guitar on craigslist. Next step: learn to play it.

In the two months after buying the thing, I wrote probably a dozen practice songs, designed to take advantage of exactly the skills I had. I made them real songs with lyrics to amuse myself, and because singing distracts from the pain of practice, and to give incentive to play well, and because composing is in my nature.

And then, comfortable enough in my amateur skills to add “guitar” to my arsenal, I slowed down and used the guitar only for things I actually wanted to use it for, like when I have a sudden need for a song about a snail for a video, or something.

Yesterday I suddenly remembered the existence of these old practice songs, and that having gone unplayed for the past two years I was at risk of forgetting them forever. Most had never been recorded, or even heard by another human being.

I got three remembered and recorded before my unpracticed fingers started complaining. I figured I might as well share them. I’d pile you with warnings and apologies, but they are what they are, and they exist, so here.


I’ll Be Here” is a song sung by mathematics personified. I gave an impromptu performance of it on a boat once. It’s got a very simple guitar part that involves mostly open strings. The only hard part was the little high melody that comes in sometimes. The long held note forces me to work hard and get the guitar “solo” right, because if I stumble or pause I’ll run out of breath.

The lyrics are me amusing myself with double meanings. Poor mathematics gets so much hate, despite being the most beautiful and reliable thing in existence.

Keep your ears out for inversions.

Lyrics:

I’m tired. I’m tired. I’m tired of solving your problems!
You use me. Do you need me? Do you want me at all?
The way you look at me, like I’m something foul,
yet you keep coming back to me.
I’ll be here, you know I’ll be here, I’ll always be here.

Sometimes you forget me, but I don’t mind so much.
You don’t understand me, but that’s ok,
I don’t expect you to. I can be… difficult.
Will you keep coming back to me?
I’m tired, but I’ll still be waiting.

Why won’t you smile at me? Do you really hate me so?
Is something wrong with me? Some day will you not come home?
I’ll be here, you know I’ll be here, I’ll always be here.

I’ll be here, believe me! I’m trying so hard to please you.
You might never love me. I still have hope. But…
I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired.


Because I” starts super easy to play (the G is tuned down to Gb) and then, once I was comfortable with that, I started filling in more notes. The hardest part of guitar for me is all that finding-a-chord stuff you do in your left hand, getting the fingers down properly and firmly. But once they’re there on a good set of notes, you can just pluck strings and it’s like cheating. That’s what the B section does.

The important part is the chord AED# that hangs in the air after the word “I.” The point of getting a guitar wasn’t to jam out on tunes, it was to have another tool for expressing the things where words fail. Those three notes say so much more than the words ever could.

If you got to this blog post fast enough, you may be the first person besides myself to have ever heard this song.

Lyrics:

I hate to say goodbye. Don’t you hate to say goodbye?
I’d like to tell you one last time
That I…

I should be moving on. You would want me to move on.
But I don’t want to let you go
Because I…

Through the years you’ve been by my side and I
Never told you, I Never told you

I’d give anything just to have you back
I’d give anything
I’d give anything

I guess I have to let you go. I don’t want to let you go.
There’s things that I can’t change.
I…


The Puzzle Song” is where I’m starting to try and take advantage of some of my pianist skills, like the ability to use the fingers on a single hand independently to play rhythms like 2 against 3, to bring out a melody and make me sound better at guitar than I really am. It’s another one where you might be the second person ever to hear it.

The coffee table in front of the couch where I sat writing has a bowl full of puzzles on it, including some great 2-piece Hanayama puzzles. Seeing them and connecting that to the intertwining rhythms of the guitar part, I wrote a song from the perspective of one puzzle piece, to its counterpart.

It makes fun of some of the awful cliches of unhealthy relationships, except this time actually sung from one actual object to another, two things that were quite literally made for each other. It amuses me.

There’s a sock, and a shoe.
One is me, one is you.
And I need you! I know it’s silly, but I need you.

There’s a lock, and a key.
One is you, one is me.
And I need you! I know it’s silly but I need you.

Without you I feel broken.
When you’re not here, I feel incomplete!

Two parts so intertwined,
I need you and you need me!
Yeah, you need me!
Yeah, you need me!

There’s a you, and a me.
There’s an us. Together we…
Together we, together we
Together we can be complete.

That’s all for now! When I have time, I’ll record some of the others.

Like most of my stuff, these are Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike. Maybe they’ll come in useful for someone.