Diamonds

My reference points for this week’s song, “Diamonds,” are  the Stones’ “No Expectations,” various Wilco slow jams in the vein of “Poor Places,” and “Estranged” by Guns N’ Roses.  I’ve had a longtime love of the latter, the most ostentatiously epic track from the Use Your Illusion albums, and I was excited to find a used copy (Used Your Illusion, if you will) at Ear X-Tacy in Louisville when I was home over Thanksgiving.  While I wasn’t conscious of it while recording, the piano and guitar interact at 1:03 of “Diamonds” in a manner similar to the interplay at 5:19 of “Estranged.”  Check it out, nerds!

Structurally, this song is a Frankenstein.  The main body, from about 1:10 to 3:02, is a standard A-A-B-A form (two verses, then a bridge, then a final verse).  I’ve had these pieces lying around for a while but didn’t think they stood up on their own.  Then a couple weeks ago, I got a few lines stuck in my head while I was trying to fall asleep.  I rolled over, grabbed a notebook, scribbled down “When diamonds are too rough / When diamonds ain’t enough,” and then conked out.  A week later, I reread it and liked it, so I put a melody to it, slapped it on to the beginning and end of my moldy old A-A-B-A, and “Diamonds” was born.

Prodigious props go to Dan J for his comment last week — the technical advice about getting more volume out of GarageBand-derived mp3s.  By and large, it worked.  This track is a little distorted, but it’s much louder than last week’s.  I got my kicks this week using the onboard effects for my vocals and guitar.  There was no guitar at first for most of the track, but the overall effect felt a little too melodramatic.  By adding a little guitar, played in my trademark clumsy fashion, the track acquired the grit it needed.

Love and peace to all.

P.S. If you haven’t checked out “This I Love” from the Chinese Democracy album, do so.  It’s the closest Axl has come to the glory of “Estranged” in a long time.  The critics on “Sound Opinions” said it sounded like he was auditioning for an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical…. that’s about right.

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Comments
4 Responses to “Diamonds”
  1. detholz says:

    You’ve got the makings of a seriously melancholy record here…

  2. Abraham says:

    Sorry…. too busy crying to respond.

  3. Brilliant! The lack of choruses makes this a relentless torrent of yearning tears. It’s strange to me that it didn’t garner the responses of other tunes; I always go for the underdog. Here’s hoping it gets a chance at one of your shows. I think it would kill as the second-to-last in a set. Then bring it home with an old favorite.

  4. Abraham says:

    Thank you for sticking up for my beloved underdog. Yes, I’ve always been a fan of the penultimate song, when the lead singer walks out with an acoustic guitar and a single spotlight. Of course in my case, the acoustic guitar would be more like decoration.

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