Sweet Dynamite

In our house, a very favorite story is when my firstborn was young and one of us parents chided her for taking too much of something.

“But I like too much!” she shot back.

Yes she did. Luthien before adolescence was a whirlwind of a spirited child, my little stick of dynamite (I wrote about it on this very blog!). Now she’s just about finished with high school and that little pixie is history. She asked me the other day if I miss that kid, and I could honestly say no, I dearly loved that child and I deeply love the young adult she is now too.

This song and picture show is just a little lingering over a colorful past that I’m so grateful to have enjoyed – and gotten through!

Somebody said the sky’s the limit
So you had to go and get stuck in it
That’s my baby, that’s my child
Tangled in blankets of thunder clouds

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

And wouldn’t you know you’d find a way
To break the surly bonds and play
There’s something in the air up there
Makes you shake like you just don’t care

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite
I love you I love you I love you forever

Where would you be if not for me?
You’re very welcome, I’m so sorry
Oh my baby, oh my child
You make me crazy, you make me proud

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

You throw yourself down on the kitchen floor
Cause I gave you candy but you still want more
Nothing feels like it’s enough
When you’re loaded with a heart that loves too much

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

I love you I love you I love you forever

Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet dynamite

Two Lost

This is one of those songs I don’t feel like saying too much about. It’s shaded with some personal experience but I was also thinking (feeling?) about lots of other things including but not limited to face slaps, cancel culture, love and war.

And if I told you all
What kindness could you offer me
Who caused you pain, me
Who you have reason to blame?

I’ve fallen far from grace
Misspoken, made mistakes that you
Can not forget, you
Have never wanted to yet

Try as I might I cannot
Make it right without you
And your heart in the game
Cause it takes two to win
And right now we’re just two lost

We’ve both been hiding from
The truth we can’t face up to here
Where we’re so scared, here
Where life’s pathetically fair

I’m thinking if I go
You might just think it over then
When I’m gone, then
When you’re old and alone

Try as I might I cannot
Make it right without you
And your heart in the game
Cause it takes two to win
And right now we’re just two lost

What if we start again
Who says we can’t imagine more
Than what we had, more
Than in and out, good and bad

Try as I might I cannot
Make it right without you
And your heart in the game
Cause it takes two to win
And right now we’re just two lost

February Lullaby

The chords and melody are central to this song. I considered making it instrumental only. The only lyrics I could imagine working would be something antiquated, as if the song itself is old, because that’s how it felt to me as I was writing it. But then I came up with these lyrics, and their simplicity grew on me. It felt like maybe this is what something I know as antiquated might have felt like when it was first sung.

“No windows” was the prompt for this week 6 of #songaweek2022. I didn’t use it but I did record it in my windowless basement studio. With my little studio buddy at my feet (watch till the end to get a glimpse!).

It’s going to be alright, it’s going to be okay
It’s been a restless night but now it’s almost day
Go back to sleep a while, you’re going to make it through
You are my own dear child and I will sing to you

It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be alright
It’s been a long hard day but gently comes the night
Soon you will sleep a while, you’re going to make it through
You are my own dear child and I will sing to you

Who Loves You

“Against” is not necessarily a negative word. Nor is “close.” I was thinking about this when I jotted down the first verse of this song months ago. You can lean against someone for comfort or protection or just to feel cozy. You can sit close, draw close, in love; rather than close your mind or your heart or your door. The hard s or the soft s, the adjective/adverb or the verb – they all come from the same Latin root.

The prompt for week 48 of #songaweek2021 was “tell me everything.” When I sat down to write my song last week, I revisited that first verse idea and then looked up the prompt for development ideas. I wanted each verse to set up some sense of juxtaposition – things that feel at odds that actually aren’t in a true love relationship (which is not at all limited to romantic ones). So the prompt helped me write verse two.

As I was playing the first two verses the song felt a lot like a lullaby. The first verse felt reminiscent of late nights holding my second baby, who would wake up crying hard and long and simply would not be comforted. I ached for him to just relax into my arms, against the warm loving body of his mother, but he’d twist and fight until he wore himself out.

I can be that baby too, with the people closest to me. I don’t want to open up and share my pain and mess with you. I just want to blame you for it, pick a fight to use up some of this bad energy I’m feeling.

Verse two describes the kind of loving conversation I think crying babies like me most need – a listening ear and heart, a recognition that you can never completely understand but that you want to know me. “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” said Simone Weil.

The juxtaposition in the first lines of the last verse may feel harsh on the first listen. But we all know it’s true, in any and every relationship – and I think in the most deeply loving ones we find gentle honesty about it. The song ends with a reminder that morphs into a question that is also about paying attention.

Lean up right against me
You don’t need to fight against me
Come close, don’t close yourself away

Tell me everything
You don’t need to speak a word
I know, I’ll never understand

I am here for you
Until I am gone away
You know I’m not the only one
Who loves you . . .

Out With It

Here’s a song for the beloved conflict-fearing member of a relationship. It’s not an anthem for the general public. We’re living in a moment that rewards or at least amplifies hostile venting in our public spaces, both physical and virtual, and that isn’t what I’m singing about here.

This is about the person who fears conflict, and so keeps to themself about difficult things, unresolved hurts, unrevealed personal truths, for fear of rejection or causing pain, or whatever other reasons. It’s about the value of opening up about these things in the context of a supportive relationship. I’ve been on both sides of this and I’ll bet most people have in some way, at some time. We’ve all been the person holding back an important but painful truth from a loved one, its persistent psychic presence growing heavier as we keep trying to manage it alone. We’ve all been the loved one who feels something is wrong and begs for openness, or has no idea something is wrong until the painful truth comes out in an often more painful and unexpected moment.

Also, would you believe it, I followed the prompt once again! (Week 45 #songaweek2021, “out of sight”). The video is a 1927 instructional video about using a dial telephone. I didn’t have much time for recording or filming this week but I much prefer posting songs to YouTube rather than Soundcloud so I wanted something visual to go with it. And the experience of talking on the telephone has always made me nervous, something like discussing difficult things with loved ones.

If there’s something you’ve got to say by God let’s hear it
Chances are it’s not as horrible as what could happen if we don’t
If you keep on trying to hide your troubled spirit
It’ll cut you like a broken bottle settling in your soul

Out with it, out with it
It’ll do you good
Out with it, out with it
It’ll do you good

I can’t guarantee that I’ll be understanding
But you’ve got to give me something to go on if I’m going to try
Time has ancient ways of making sense of
The words we heard in ragged moments that have passed us by

Out with it . . .

Here’s the truth, I love you and I’m with you
Nothing you can say hurts worse than finding I’ve been left behind
I know it’s hard to bring out in the open
But keep it out of sight, it might drive you out of your mind

Out with it . . .