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.

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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