Continuing the trend of me spending ridiculously long on one song at a time, here’s my latest. This one is based on the video game Red Dead Redemption 2. I didn’t actually play it, but my wife did and I ended up watching a lot of the story. This song is about finding out that you’re going to die pretty soon. I think that the key lyrics are basically:
Yes, I’m afraid now
But not because death is near
No it’s this new beautiful view
And this sinking feeling that it was always here…
And I’ve been looking over there
I hope it comes across well in the song. It’s really about regret, I guess.
Here’s what I’m proud of in this song:
- I think that the main guitar part turned out pretty cool. It set the general groove for me, and I think it’s fitting for a western. It has kind of a “I’m riding a horse” cadence to it.
- I like how the drums/bass turned out, and how they work with the guitar to create the groove. Seriously this is something totally new to me. I haven’t thought much about rhythm until the past… 4 months or so? I feel that I have so much more to explore in this space, but just starting to pay attention to it has elevated my music, I think.
- I like the way the song builds from verse -> pre-chorus -> chorus/hook. It’s kind of an interesting progression I think. I also especially like the energy that I created in the second chorus section. I might still have a ways to go, but this is a lot of energy for me!
And things I’m not as happy with:
- The vocal. This song is hard for me to sing. Some parts are right at the bottom of my range and I think it showed.
- Even though I really tried, the song could be tighter. I want to keep practicing guitar to get better timing.
- I’m not sure it’s that great of a song. I spent a lot of time on it because I’m working on improving other skills along the way. I think it’ll work pretty well with a video I have in mind, using clips from the game, but to me it’s not a gem. A lot of my songs have been like this lately… just vehicles for improving my performance and production skills. And that’s fine by me because that’s my jam right now.
Anyway, I wanted to write that all out because this continues to be a huge learning experience for me and I wanted to share my progress for anyone who’s interested.
This is actually not the whole song… the end is long, with an a-capella choral part and then a meandering guitar outro. It’s artsy and doesn’t really need critique haha, and it’s not totally done anyway. I wanted to focus on the part of the song that has a lot of moving parts and could really use some bashing! I’ll post the whole thing when it’s all done for kicks.
Version 3: Started from scratch with the unprocessed tracks. Spent about 2-3 hours mixing it in mono with ear buds, then 30 minutes or so making some adjustments on my 2.1 computer speakers.
Update: I’ve decided to get this professionally mastered. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I think it’s kind of a sweet spot from a cost/value perspective, especially when they offer free mixing advice before doing the master. Having my EP professionally mixed/mastered was a nightmare, but I want to try just having someone else do the mastering part. Anyway I’ll post back with whatever that result is!
Here’s the final result. Is it good? I don’t know. Is it done? Yes.