Hard To Take You Down

I dreamed the hook, where the voice sings "it's hard... to take you down...". It came to me in 1998 and was inspired in part by our President, "Tricky Bill". April's sister also used to be married to a con artist. What I want for this song is for it to be sung from the point of view of a former victim, accusing the slick, slimy, no-conscience anonymous second person entity, and asserting calmly but firmly that he will now have one less person to use. Originally the singer was meant to be female, but Jeff, the singer on the rough vocal demo, changed the melody around a bit and kind of "made the song his own". Since con artists are equal opportunity victimizers, the song is valid from either viewpoint. I'd love to have a nice melody for a female singer, though.

Song Concept

My concept for the flow of the song is that the first verse introduces the character, from the point of view of one of the few people clever enough to see through him and brave enough to tell it like it is. The second verse would develop the story a bit more, perhaps revealing some bad things that have happened to the protagonist or to others. The bridge is the one place where the singer can lose his or her cool just a bit and let off a little steam, but quickly a serene mode overtakes the anger for the peaceful and resolute third verse. I want the third verse to state once and for all that, while he will probably just go on with the same kind of life, the singer will never again be a part of it.

Where The Song Stands Today

Below, I will include an email to Jeff, where April and I make suggestions as to where to take the lyrics from here. This is as far as we were able to get. If you have ideas that aren't along these lines but that seem to fit the music well, we're definitely open to them.

[begin included material]

Hey, Jeff!  Here's those song ideas we promised you.  We really
appreciate your energy and devotion of talent to the project.  Once
you've had a chance to digest it all, give us a call.  And feel free
to suggest totally different ideas if they come to you.

Talk to you soon...
David and April

Disclaimer: we're not lyricists, so when we suggest lyrics, what we
usually mean to do is suggest a refinement to the concept.  In very
few cases do we think we've hit on "the" words to use, and we think
you'll instinctively feel where those are.  We bow to your superior

	Hard times
	Smooth lines
	Isn't that what you say
	It's your art
	You really play the part
	See it through all the way

Great verse.  Feel free if you have new ideas, but we're happy with

	And it's hard to take you down
	You can always turn things around
	When people only see what you want them to see
	It's hard to take you down
	Really hard to take you down

We plan to remove the second-to-last line, shortening the first chorus
and tightening up the song a bit.  We don't plan to shorten any of the
other choruses.

	Plans and schemes
	Disconnected dreams
	So many lives get bruised in your wake
	Eyes that see
	Beyond the mystery
	Just wait until you make that first mistake

The line with "bruised in your wake" is a great concept, but maybe
there's a better way to say it.  Perhaps there's a better word to use
in place of "bruised".  Of course if I knew of one I'd tell you...

	It's hard to take you down
	Walls may crash
	You're immune to the sound
	Everyone believes just what you want them to believe
	It's hard to take you down
	Really hard to take you down

"You're immune to the sound" is again a good concept but perhaps not
ideally worded.  I [David] thought of maybe saying "but you don't
hear a sound".  It fits the meter and conveys the idea of
unaffectedness.  The only trouble is, put my way, the line is weak and
uninteresting.  Your words are more powerful, but not quite *it*.

The line, "everyone believes just what you want them to believe" is
very strong, both lyrically and melodically.  We want to save the good
stuff for the last chorus, so for the second chorus, let's swap in
"people only see what you want them to see".  In the last chorus,
we'll be making some changes to the words, but it will be a minor
variation on your "everyone believes" line, with the same powerful

	Through lies and leads
	And personalities
	With self assurance and possibilities
	Perseverance will prove there's a forest to see
	Through the trees

Up until the bridge, the music is pretty tame, suggesting that the
singer is at peace, telling a story more than anything else, and
your lyrics fit great.  The bridge increases the tension and I
pictured the singer actually getting angry, just for a minute.  Sure,
the singer is at peace and in control in the present, but on the way
from the past to the present, the singer had plenty to be angry
about.  I want the listener to glimpse that anger.

April has a great idea for a way to do that, without really having to
change much!  Check this out:

	Your lies and leads
	Your personalities
	Your self assurance and possibilities
	My perseverance will prove there's a forest to see
	Through the trees

Okay, great so far.  Now for a few more thoughts.

"personalities" is the right idea but a little vague.  We like "Your
false identities", but maybe you can think of another way to accuse
this scumbag.

Same deal with "and possibilities".  The concept and melody are very
good, and I hate to add syllables.  We want to be a bit more specific
about what's going on.  April thought to say "endless possibilties" or
something similar.  Trouble is, that's too many syllables to work in
gracefully.  I thought up maybe "grand possibilties" or "vague
possibilities" [naw, too vague!], but that doesn't seem ideal either.
Maybe "shining vagaries" [gawd, is that even a *word*???]  We'd like
to paint the picture of the con artist at work in a little more
detail, but without making it too hard to sing.  Tall order, I know!

Now about those trees... that is a fantastic idea!  We're betting it
can be even more powerful, though.  The idea is that the
singer/accuser now sees the light.  The slimeball will be unable to
harm the singer any further, from this moment.  The *exact* moment
when the light bulb goes on should be right at the end of the bridge
when the song's texture changes.  That's the moment that singer can
finally have serenity.

So, how do we do that?  One lame false start is to rearrange the
existing words:

	My perseverance will prove through the trees there's a forest
	To see

The "to see" at the end is strong, since the "seeing" is done right at
the crucial moment in the song.  Of course the first line is now
utterly elepantine, but we hope you can see what we're trying to do
and perhaps do it for real.

	Hard times
	Same old lines
	You take all you can take
	Times will change
	You'll always be the same
	Waiting till you get that lucky break

April sez: How about changing the third line to "I've taken all I can
take"?  Instead of "Times will change", it could say "I've changed".
This keeps the song more personal and emphasizes the singer's newfound
power and detachment.

One more minor suggestion: maybe sing "just waiting".  That's the kind
of thing the singer [that would be Jeff] can decide on the spot.  We
just like the way it flows, I guess.

	But it's hard to take you down
	You can always turn things around
	When people only see what you want them to see
	It's hard to take you down
	Really hard to take you down

April had some ideas for the last chorus.

	But it's hard to take you down
	I can always turn my life [or myself] around

[and of course we swap that line from the other chorus here]
	Everyone believes just what you want them to believe

Only we're making it more personal:
	I've stopped believing what you want me to believe

And we're planning to change the arrangement so "believe" is a big
climax money note, bathed in reverb.  It's sung powerfully but not
with anger or bitterness.  This is the singer's positive assertion
that the funny business really is over forever.  Life is going to be
better from here on.  Then the reverb gives way to just the piano and
vocals, and the second to last line, if sung, is sung tenderly:

	It's hard to take you down

Then the last line crescendos into the tumult of the coda.

	You'll never take me dooooooooooooooooooooooown!

[or get theological and sing "He will take you down"?? just a

[end included material]
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David B. Thomas (dt@dt.prohosting.com)