5 Of My Favorite Original Songs

I’ve been playing and writing music for at least half of my life. As a freshman in high school, I recorded four or five songs and distributed them on CD-R to friends at school. I’d love to hear that CD again. Would probably be embarrassing. This isn’t it.

Since then, it’s become much easier and affordable for bedroom musicians to make more fully produced and embellished music with limited equipment. I involved myself more fully in home recording a couple of years ago, and when there’s something on my mind, I write and record a song! Here are some of my favorites with a quick description of their inspirations.

1. Holiday

I wrote this a couple days after talking to some girl at a bar who called herself “Holiday” who subsequently disappeared. I don’t think that was actually her name. Musically, I was very inspired by Mercury Rev, a longtime favorite of mine. I went for atmosphere here – heavy reverb, and lots of strings. It’s a bit of a departure for me.

2. The Wasteland

I had been listening to a lot of Motown, Steely Dan, and Santana when this song was conceived. The lyrics are based on observing people try to close a partner for the night. The meter change in the middle is one of the more difficult things I’ve had to arrange – took a lot of tries to get it to work. Bonus points if anyone can recognize where the chord progression in the solo break comes from.

3. Idaho

This song is very heavily inspired by George Harrison’s slide style and Brian Wilson’s harmony arrangements. I kept the instrumental arrangement as simple as possible while still feeling “full”. I wrote it in the week leading up to bar exam results, and the lyrics describe how I responded to that pressure and anticipation. Mostly, I just wanted to run away.

4. Dinosaur

I tried to go for a really messy, lo-fi sound on this one. The intro is a feedback mess (deliberately). The title is a tribute to a main musical inspriation – Dinosaur Jr. I am a huge fan of J Mascis’ guitar work and I tried to imitate it here on the outro solo. The lyrics are cheesy, typical generational conflict stuff. Seems to be a common theme in rock music.

5. Share Your Burden

This is one of my earliest compositions and recordings. I was still a novice, particularly in recording my voice. Some of the harmonies waver and I hadn’t yet ironed out the treatments I would later use to optimize vocal recording. Still, I’m proud of the arrangement – particularly the harmony that ends the chorus and reappears during the outro crescendo.

Thanks for listening! I also publish music submissions, and send those over to thesearethejams@gmail.com TC Mark

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