So I just spent another hour working on La Da Da Dee. The keen readers among you may remember that just yesterday, I proclaimed that song "done." But you can never underestimate the need to revise, to perfect, to tweak. I started by just making innocuous fixes here and there, cleaning up the timing of a piano part, adding quiet strings to supplement a build in the 2nd verse. But by the time I hit my stride, I had completely dismantled the first section of the bridge and built it back up again.
Now I'm not sure which version I like better. The first one was too sloppy; every time I listened, I winced a little bit at the poor timing and the slapdashedness of the parts. So I redid the parts, one by one, thinking them through, practicing them, and making sure they worked well with each other. By the time I was done, that section was much cleaner. Much prettier. Hmm. Much duller?
I recall a conversation with a friend a couple months ago; he was suggesting that I get some other people playing on my album. His argument was that getting someone who actually played drums, for example, to play the drums would result in measurably better drum parts, and therefore a better album.
I resisted, of course. I had no good counterargument at the time, but over the course of the next few days, I thought about it. Why am I so resistant to having other people play on this album?
And then I remembered. That the true goal of artistic work is not empirical quality. It's self-expression. I have things to say, and no one else says them the way I do. I have met literally dozens of better singers and better instrumentalists than myself, better ears and better stage presence and better looks, better whatever. But none of them could make this album. Not necessarily because it's better, just because it's mine.
What does that have to do with this bridge section? Well, it's one thing to state your grand theories to the people; it's entirely another to be able to stick to them. Every time I listened to that part, sort of pretty with airy vocals and strings, I remembered the Sufjan Stevens album Illinoise I've been listening to recently, and a little voice in the back of my head said "Sufjan wouldn't have been so sloppy."
Bah. So now I've got this new much prettier section with boring timing. What to do, what to do.
After that, I got to work on 4ths, which is definitely going to be the weirdest song on the record. I hadn't touched it since January, so I wasn't sure what would happen. I just left what I had alone, and started futzing around with a groove for the rest of the song. I like what it's turning into; it's very different from everything else on the record so far. More like the stuff I used to do when I was just fooling around with Logic and didn't have to worry about song structure. Something nice to croon and scat and growl over.