Alice's Song - Nowhere left to run... a new-old Emmasong

A new-old song I have pulled out of my ‘parking zone’. My ears have become numb from endless repetition and tweaking so any feedback gratefully received.

[Edit: updated version now posted below - thanks so much for the really helpful feedback!]

Alice’s song - Nowhere left to run…

With a sense of incredulity, she’s laying down to die,
with a startled look of disbelief – this really can’t be me,
There’s a cup of tea still sitting on the table by the bed,
there’s a piece of apple crumble in the fridge,
There’s’ a cat out in the garden sleeping underneath the clothesline
and you’re telling me it’s time that I was gone…

Been too long a-drowning , in endless cups of tea
Been too long a-fighting with your friends
It’s seemed so long but now you don’t know where the hell you’ve been
and there’s nowhere left to run to now

With a sense of incredulity she’s laying down to die,
She’s fighting the finality, the closing of the eyes,
there’s a letter on the fridge, that she really ought to send
and she hasn’t spoken yet to Mary Jane,
There’s an awful pile of clutter underneath the spare room bed
and you’re telling me, it’s time I was gone

Version 2.

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Great song Emma! I love those cool dissonant sound effects - really effective in setting the mood for a little domestic melodrama. Excellent melodies too. Vocals sound great.

The only thing that takes me out of the moment is the sound that first comes in @ 53 secs. Is it some kind of plucked acoustic bass or cello? It kind of sounds like it is coming from another room in the house. Maybe that was the intention, but it really needs some taming in the mix, because it completely takes over the low mids and stomps all over the song like a construction worker’s filthy workboots tracking giant clumps of mud through your house…

I don’t really know what to suggest there… It makes me wonder what the goal was in using that kind of sound… I get the idea of creating some pathos and dissonance to tell the story… Maybe I’m a bit to conservative in my musical tastes, but that sound is just a bridge to far for me!

Otherwise, I really enjoyed it!

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Excellent - thanks so much Andrew! This is a classic example of really needing different/fresh ears. The bass part had tied me up in knots and I think I’d simply stopped hearing it. I had a sound in my head that I was after but couldn’t quite find and just felt an overall dissatisfaction… will dive in again tomorrow, I suspect I have some odd guitar rig fx still lurking in there - Yay… thanks again!

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Hi. Well at this early hour, you got to me again . You are so talented my friend. I love how you lowered the piano when you sang, Great vocal from you. I hear what Andrew is saying. I guess “that sound” doesn’t add much I get that. If it were a clean bass maybe. If it was strings maybe. “She’s fighting the finality, the closing of the eyes” geeesh…that was powerful. If Andrew can only find one thing to improve on, I think you pretty much nailed it. This is so good Emma.

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Beautiful! Love a good creative use of dissonance. Piano sound is perfect along with the voice. The harmonies could be a bit more at par with the voice levels during the chorus but still over all amazing!
Lyrics are powerful.

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Wow. I hope you don’t mind the comparison, but this song evokes the same sadness, regret and the inevitable feelings of ‘unfinished business’ that I got when I first heard “Heartattack in a Layby” by Porcupine Tree. Your lyrics are delicate but hit like a sledge hammer. Very nice. The sounds of life continuing around you make it all the more poignant. At this moment I have nothing critical to add. :slight_smile:

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Wow indeed! Not the great big LIFE flashing before your eyes scene but the mundane clutter under the spare bed and the letter on the fridge. I’m sure that’s how it goes. Powerful stuff Emma! On the techmical side: I liked the way the second voice echos’ behind the lead, in and out of time as some sort of ghost whisper.

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O yippee… thanks so much folks for checking this out… I got such a buzz to read your words. Have been out of the studio for too long and it has felt quite a challenge to pick this up yet again (rolls eyes at self)…

Thanks heaps Paul! Honestly I had become so ‘blurred’ with this song, trying to salvage it and in the end, not sure whether it was just a crock… ahh… this process never ends does it??
Going to re-visit the mix shortly and see whether I can nail this little beast. I just wanted a simple ‘real’ song about death… the little details and hopefully capturing some of the poignance.

Hi Michelle, thanks so much for taking the time to check this out - and yep, I love a good shake of dissonance, can’t resist it… :slight_smile:
Thanks for the feedback, I did spend a lot of time tootling around with things and it’s great to read your comments. I’ll re-check the harmonies, I do tend to allow them to wander a bit so can certainly check them out again, ta. For me, the piano and voice are always the key components… which is why I often err on things like percussion and bass when I’m mixing… ark!

ah emma it is so good to hear you back in the studio. I don’t have anything else to add, just wanted to let you know it is a good listen.

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O I had not heard that song before and it is beautiful… thanks so much… a gentle deep wrenching - I love it when music does that. I don’t often get caught in a song like that, it has a truthful magnetism. And as for my humble offering, well, I am so honoured to be compared. I was driven by the domestic minutiae of dying and the confounding depths of insignificance… hah… if that makes any sort of sense? Thanks so much!

Ahh thanks so much… yep, not everyone dies grandly… some are just there one minute and gone the next… it just seemed so very sad. I was wanting to somehow simply tell the story without sentiment but somehow to enable the sense of loss… I guess, like a poem. The domestic sounds seemed to be an integral part - and when I was recording the sounds of my grandfather clock, a bird began to sing so I kept that in too… like a sort of tapestry maybe?? :thinking:
Thanks for the backing vox feedback… I always tend to follow my own ears on these and often they confuse people so great to read that you liked them as they are… thanks!

Hi there Eric! Just noticed you dropping by :smile:
Thanks so much… yeah it’s kinda that dichotomy to be back… driven by creative force, mangled by angst… eeek… but yep, it is exciting to have the space and energy back to be creative on my own projects… yippppeeeee

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Great to hear a new Emma tune and read along with your lyrics. I typically love all of the ear candy you add, but on this one, I have to agree with Andrew. The plucky bass part kept pulling me out of the song. Other than that though, another fabulous melancholy beauty! Amazing lyrics too!

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O crikey… when my ears go numb… they go super-dooper-numb! :crazy_face:

A main problem I have with re-working old mixes is my tendency to dive in boots and all and throw literally everything at the song… a gazillion different ways to try things before I settle for a sound…
It’s my classic struggle between wild creative muse and trying to reign myself in so that I can engineer the blasted thing… I also struggle to make sure I listen to everything in the mix instead of just the voice and piano… and a heap of other things haha

Yes… I had left the guitar rig fx on that I thought I had removed - duh…
I have posted a revised version up the top if you could possibly have a listen sometime and let me know your thoughts?

The original mix just wasn’t gelling for me, I’m hoping that removing that fx clears things up but alas,
I am not sure that I can tell any more.
This is not a hobby for the faint-hearted is it!

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Yep, version two has it for me.

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Excellent stuff - I love it! :beerbanger: :beerbanger: :beerbanger:


Thanks for checking it Paul!
And yeah… I know those voices are annoying, sorry… but it is intentional… a sort of irritating vibe, a dis-harmony - to my wonky musical idea, a sort of gentle dissonant unravelling… uncomfy and not quite right… no sweetie nicey in this song, it was a grim story, a death of no apparent consequence and yet kinda edging into the underbelly… maybe?
I overthink these things I know… but it is mostly intuitive - I just HAVE to do things a certain way, and to hell with it.
hehe… I wonder why I was never a commercial success… snortle!!

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Thanks so much Andrew…
ready to print this one and move right along!

It is a great song with a poignant view of someone saying goodbye for the last time. I really like how you emphasize the trivial thoughts that she has as she’s letting go, like the mess under the spare bed is important at a time like that.
I’ll probably get skewered for saying it, but the one critique I have is the quirky timing on the vocals during the choruses. The verses handle it well, and further portray the bewilderment she must be going through, but it makes me wish you tightened up the cadence on the choruses to make them stronger and more “on the beat” to really let the listener know she is sure of the finality of what is happening, even if she drifts off to worry about apple crumble and clutter momentarily.
(Just shows you got my interest in one listen, so it’s more of a compliment than a critique).

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Hey Bob, thanks for dropping by!
And I had to go and play the chorus again to try to understand your comments coz I did actually do this track to a click (I usually but not-always do :slight_smile: ). Am guessing that it is my loose timing and backing that you are meaning? Yeah, I just couldn’t do that on-the-beat, it felt as though things were unravelling. I’ve use the musical metaphor (?huh? haha) of the recorded ticking of my grandfather clock and while singing it, found a real resistance to specific beat so, as usual, I followed that flow. It’s just not a normal song I spose… but it is really important for me to hear how it comes across to others.

I seem to be moving back towards soundscape songs that defy referencing which can make it a real pain for listeners sorry! :sunglasses:

hmmm, just reading your comment again and I think my trouble is, she is not sure of the finality, there is no clarity, just an anxious sort of drifting if that makes any kind of sense?

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I really like the vocals and the mood the background instruments created. On my system I did not feel like anything stood out as a problem. I enjoyed the song.

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I’d just like to add, in addition to your lyrics, I particularly enjoyed the piano in this piece. Just beautiful! (Still using Allicia’s Keys?)

Also, I like the new version better. Now the the funky sounding bass really works at the end with all the ear candy. Nice. :slightly_smiling_face: