It was snowing in Denver yesterday and today. It reminded me of a song I wrote in 2004. It was one of my first songs, and I made a conscious effort to use imagery, metaphor, and create a good melody– things I had learned at my first Lyons, Colorado Song School in August 2004.
Some other songwriters that I showed it to had some criticism of the lyrics and music. So I tweaked it over the years, and just yesterday and today changed 4 lines. I haven’t figured out a way to change the music, probably because I actually like the melody and chords. Demos of the music are at myspace.com/robroperdemos. Here’s the lyrics as they stand now:
© Rob Roper January 2005 revised Nov 14-15, 2009
2am on a winter night
I put on my boots, and winter coat
And step out into the snow
The cars are all sleeping
under their blankets of white
And a snowflake kisses my face
As I stop and view the sight.
The snowflakes toy with gravity
As they dance in the streetlight
Refracted, soft and blurred
Like whiskey eyesight
And the multicolored houses
Are now nuanced shades of grey
Like a black and white photo
A winter painting by Monet
I’ve seen many of the wonders of this world
And I’ve known the touch of a beautiful girl
And I’ve seen the works of the great Van Gogh
Ah, but this is just as fine
Like a great bottle of wine
Standing in the middle, of the street
at 2 am, in the snow.
The snow plays a symphony
of silent eloquence
and I know that I am lucky
to be in the audience
It’s 25 degrees out here
But I don’t feel the cold
And though I’m standing by myself
I don’t feel alone
Now you might think I’m crazy
And maybe I am
But if you could only be here
I think you’d understand
4 thoughts on “2am”
Kind of zen…I like the sentiment. It reminds me of an experience I had one night when the frost covered all the trees, and the light of the streetlights made my home town seem like it had morphed into some magical other-worldly place…a peaceful, serene place…yet I hadn’t gone anywhere but where I was.
On the two versions you put up on your demo site, I actually find myself wanting something different from either. I don’t like the drums on the first version…they really distract. (This comment coming from Mr. cheesy drum machine guy.) I don’t like the acoustic on the second…also the second dragged a touch. What I want is something somewhat like your acoustic version…but done on electric.
Thanks for the feedback, Kurt. I’m glad you got the essence of it. Yes the drum machine was cheesy, it was basically a click track to play to, just to see how the 12-string electric and organ sounded for the song. A demo in the rawest sense.
I’ll make a version with just the electric guitar like you suggest and post it.
Years ago I played this for other songwriters–songwriters I respect– and they liked the lyrics but didn’t think the music was right for the lyrics. By music I mean the melody and chord progression, whether played acoustic solo or electric. I tried to think of other melodies and chords and couldn’t. That’s because I actually liked the melody and chords–to me they match the lyrics and underlying emotion. So I guess I wasn’t motivated to try anything new musically.
I think the music works fine with the lyrics…I guess I would like to know what they were talking about, but to me the feeling of the music works well with the lyrics. I have to ask…did you write the music or the lyrics first? If you wrote the music first…and the lyrics came from the music then I’m not sure how you could get a disconnect between the two if you were writing from the feeling of the music. I worry about comments like that…that comment sounds kind of “workshoppy” if you know what I mean…a good path to writing a song that sounds like everyone else’s song…but what the hell do I know.
It started with lyrics, the line “Standing in the middle of the street at 2am in the snow”. Then, while walking outside, I found a rhythm for that line. Then I developed a melody for it. From the melody the chords came.
Then I developed the verses, lyrics and melody and chords more less together, all of which were more or less designed to serve/explain/flow into that hook line.