So, to the first song on the Franklin and Bell album; “Life Lines”
Straight away, this song caused some controversy between Cally and me. I thought that the lyrics represent a woman in an abusive relationship, who will do anything, be anyone, just to get affection. Whereas Cally felt the lyrics are about the choices we all must make as we live and learn about personal relationships. Modifying ourselves to “fit in” with those relationships.
So you see, dear listener, even the writers of a song can interpret the meaning in different ways.
The way we interpret a song also affects how we record and produce it. I felt that the song needed a slightly abrasive edge which is why I choose to open with a quite strident string quartet. I love the emotion of strings but did not want to use a string orchestra as I felt that was too romantic. A string quartet is much better for a more personal sound and doesn’t have all the lushness of a string section. Also, if it is played in an aggressive manner it can be quite dramatic and this is why I think it works so well as the opening to the song.
Cally delivers the vocals in the opening verse in a wistful style so we decided that the backing would continue the aggressive style of the opening as a counterpoint, using a strong bass and drum part with the string quartet continuing in the background. The snare part is based around a military style of playing, with lots of grace notes which is common in military playing. This is to represent the masculine, as that is partially who Cally’s lyric are directed at. This idea of representing the masculine in this way is also present in another of our songs, WHAT A MAN, which we will discuss in a later blog.
The first chorus is very understated, almost the opposite of how a chorus is supposed to be, but we felt that the song should grow slowly. The next part is an interlude which is quite pretty but still with the strong edge to the backing. The slightly over-the-top piano part representing all that is going on in the singer’s head. This interlude ends dramatically to represent the singers underlying frustration.
The second verse and chorus are similar to the first. Again, with a wistful vocal. This leads us into the second interlude which also follows the format of the first interlude and leads us into the dramatic conclusion to the song. This is cued by a return to the string quartet of the opening and flows into the final out chorus, where Cally’s vocal becomes more aggressive, showing her frustration with trying to be the right person.
Lyrically, I think Cally did a great job with this song. Lines like;
“Love is blind in a young girl’s dreams, Man, her island to shore”
“Love can survive in a climate cold, Where the young never go till they’re old”.
are very poetic (Cally started her writing by writing poetry). Lyrics have to convey meaning in such a concise form and these are great examples of how to do this successfully.
So dear listener, is this how you understood this song? What do you think of our production ideas? Is this type of discussion of interest to you? Is it too technical or very interesting? Would you like to know more about the lyrics and meaning or more about the production?
Please do get in touch and let us know and we will do our best to answer any questions and format future blogs to incorporate your ideas. Writing is all about communication and we want to communicate with you all as much as possible.
Thank you for visiting with Franklin and Bell today. Stay safe 😷