Hard to Find a Friend

To continue my trite pattern of opening each post with a reference to the song title, it’s hard to find the influence for this week’s song, “Hard to Find a Friend“. It’s kind of either everyone or no one. I’ve been writing songs in this vein since I was about thirteen, and I don’t think too much when I’m writing them. Randy Newman? Billy Joel? Sinatra’s “saloon songs”? Andrew Lloyd Webber? Springsteen? Your guess is as good as mine… we all drink the same water.

As for the subject matter, we are definitely in a neighboring area code to last week’s song, “Kathleen”: nostalgia, or what your local alternative weekly might call “missed connections”. The narrator is singing to a love interest who repeatedly comes into and departs from his life. In the end, he throws up his hands and goes back to basics: “What does it mean? / We come from slime / Just do me on time / Do me on time.” (Note: this post not sanctioned by the Creationist movement.)

The arrangement, to the extent that there is one, could be classified as “no-frills”. Piano-vocal, just like it was 100 years ago. The vocal performance is a little uptight, in my opinion — the performance of someone proving that he can sing on-key… a rather clinical exercise. But the piano coming through that dictaphone — ah, there’s nothing better. I’m quite tired and beginning to drool on myself, so the rest of the commentary is up to you, dear reader.

8 Responses to “Hard to Find a Friend”
  1. dictaphone eh? sounds cool! i like the dated live recording sort of character.

    also, in general, i love the stories behind your lyrics. i love that you think the character/story out enough to write to it, without “telling” the story in the lyrics, but by writing from the perspective of someone in it. very cool!

  2. Abraham says:

    thanks jonny. yeah, I dunno… I think I write lyrics first, and then take a step back and figure out who the character is and what they’re all about. but, it turns out the same in the end. glad you like the dictaphone.

  3. will says:

    springsteen and newman…definitely. um, the vox are uptight; but, yer voice has the power to overcome that. also, yer vocal tone is dark here…that gives the lyrical content the added weight it deserves. the piano sounds magnificent! not an immediate classic; but, this is the type of song that (at least for me) will grow on the listener with repeated listens with context. feelin’ lonely? give this one a few listens…you’ll find a friend. (beside the bottle and those pills to cure yer ills). i’d like to put it in a box with my other sad songs and pull it out when i need it. have to admit—yer such a good songwriter; but, this one feels like you were on autopilot…mabey a residual of 2 difficult ones in a row? perhaps you (subconsciously) fell back on a style of song you have written since you were 13…? that being said—it ain’t no stinker…but, yer enthusiasm for it seems…eh…of course, you were drooling on yerself…curious about what comes first: vocal melody/lyrics/or instrumentation? or, is it always different? p.s., i was at schubas last week and played THE SIMP in it’s entirety on the juke! an impromptu dance party! current joy: bill fay. bye!

  4. Abraham says:

    thanks will… as usual, I agree with most of what you’re putting down. I’ve been back to writing at the piano lately (for a while I was writing on guitar), and it’s usually a couple chords and a vocal-melody fragment that arrive simultaneously. then from there, I record whatever comes out of my mouth, and usually there’s something salvageable. then I go back and listen to the recording a few times, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get an idea for a B-part. (although B-parts are not currently in vogue, I realize…)

    thanks for playing the simp on the box!!! you’re the man. I don’t know bill fay…?

  5. Jonny Mess says:

    This song makes me sad. In all the right ways. I’ve listened to it three times in a row and it’s pretty much ground my day to a halt.

  6. Abraham says:

    thanks my man. mission accomplished!!!

  7. crabby says:

    feels real. hits in good spots.

  8. Abraham says:

    thanks crabby, that’s good to hear.

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