I’m in something of a holding pattern right now with respect to the new album; well, maybe “holding pattern” isn’t the correct phrase. What’s the best way to say “I’m starting to work on lyrics and I’m incredibly intimidated because I’m not as good a writer as I’d like to be and I really want these lyrics to matter“? There’s one song in particular – it’s been one of the stronger songs right from the beginning – and I think I’ve come up with a chorus for it, but now I need to find a verse.
As I said the other day, writing lyrics is really, really difficult for me. It’s particularly difficult this time around, though, because I’m not just writing one song; I’m writing an album, mostly from scratch, and while I’d hesitate to call it a “concept album” (because ugh) there’s definitely a thing that spurred this whole project on, and that thing is where all of this music is coming from.
I’ve never been a lyrics-oriented listener. With a few notable exceptions, when I sit down with an album I almost never pay attention to the words; I’ll listen to the voice, but I’m almost always focused on everything else. And when I was in my songwriting heyday (1993-1999, back when I was in bands and thinking about music 24/7), I almost always wrote lyrics only because I needed something to sing, rather than because I had something I needed to say. I dearly wish I could simply be abstract the way Beck and Stephen Malkmus are, but I can’t (and believe me, I’ve tried, and it’s awful). More often than not, I’m painfully and awkwardly sincere, and to my eyes and ears the words I come up with are cliched and lack any poetry.
I’m trying my best, is all I can say. In the absence of a lyric-writing partner, that’s about all I can do. And I’m hoping that with a little creative focus, the words can come a bit easier.
In the meantime, I’m also trying to keep myself distracted, because nothing impedes lyric creativity more effectively than me staring at a blank page for hours at a time. So I’m getting back into my gaming backlog.
As I mentioned earlier this week, I bought a bunch of indie games; now I’m starting to play them.
I remain frustrated by the Xbox One’s apparent inability to download stuff while in a powered-down state, which was a feature I heartily enjoyed on the 360 and which I still enjoy on the PS4. It means that I had to leave it powered on all night in order to finish downloading Ori and the Blind Forest, which I’m hoping to get my hands on this evening. (It doesn’t help matters much that my apartment’s internet is spotty at best, which makes a 7GB download take that much longer.)
I am currently mostly enjoying Never Alone, which is absolutely gorgeous and fascinating and charming and adorable, but marred very occasionally by frustrating controls and unclear platforming puzzles. Be that as it may, when it works, it’s wonderful.
I’m a little frustrated with Pneuma: Breath of Life; like I said the other day, its over-the-top self-awareness can get exasperating, and not all of its puzzles are fun to solve; it doesn’t do the greatest job of teaching you its rules, and while I certainly don’t need my hand held at all times, I’d appreciate some sort of guidance, however opaque it might be. Still, though, Achievements!
I was tempted to buy Hotline Miami 2, but then I remembered that I’d never gotten terribly far in the first one on the PC, and that I’d maybe want to replay the first one to make sure I’d even be interested in the sequel, and you know what? I don’t really like that game. The controls make no sense to me at all, and one-hit-kills make the learning process incredibly frustrating. It’s got style out the wazoo, but as a game it makes a rough first impression.
I’m also dabbling in Munin on the PC, which is a puzzle game I bought during the most recent Steam sale. I forget why it was on my wishlist, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless; it’s a 2D platformer where you progress through each level by rotating each area on the screen in order to move; it has some sort of mythical Nordic art style, and it’s rather beautiful.