Rescue Me by DavidN (critique requested)

Rescue Me (critique requested)

DavidN

23 April 2017 at 18:20:11 MDT

Poison Skies song five!

davidn davidn
All the songs so far were written roughly in the same order that they appear on the album, but Rescue Me was the last song to be completed. You can hear its story in our audio commentary - Kjorteo was working on it independently and kept adjusting sections and lyrics as I was recording the rest of the album.

And it was an absolute boss monster to sing. I tried to make each character’s singing voice slightly distinct from the others but without putting so much effort into it as to make the whole thing laughable - for example, Edward with very clear enunciation, Girard with a slight snarl - so by my own rules I could probably have got away with making it easier on myself and singing this an octave lower, but to my ears it didn’t seem right for Celine. I considered getting my sister involved, as she’s a singer (a proper one with training and everything, not just me in my ramshackle studio with a microphone sellotaped to the ceiling and some vocal exercises I found on the Internet) but she would have then had to do all of Celine’s lines through the album and the logistics were a bit much.

Even though I can now reach a couple of notes higher than I could when I started the album, I’m still not quite at the minimum range to be considered a tenor, and this song had the longest stretches of notes near the top of my range (I think the highest notes on the album are isolated B4s, which I could just about hit on a good day). At first I sang it in snatches - “I was always told to make my name”, then a moment to recover, then “Raised to gather glory, wealth and fame” - and put alternate lines on different tracks to create a call-and-response effect, but Kjorteo understandably didn’t think that worked for a song sung by one character. So in the end, after a lot of takes, I was finally able to get through whole verses at a time! I think it mostly works, but I’m still a bit unsure about the final elongated “free”.

I found one of the renders I did on the song when it was close to finished, and the slight but obvious differences from the final one are fascinating to listen to - you can hear it at http://teamouse.net/music/poison/re.....ta-version.mp3

It really is an amazing song, though, especially considering it’s the first one that Kjorteo wrote the entire lyrics and melodies to independently. Perhaps it’s because a song entirely by Kjorteo sounds fresher to me than one I knew the ins and outs of from start to finish, and maybe some of it is because it’s the first song on the album to have been recorded after the hiatus and reworking of the original Modplug project. Whichever way, if I know I’m not going to have time to listen to the full 90-minute album, I will often start the playback here :)

I did slip one little musical reference of my own in while I was putting the arrangement together - the last three chords at the final “Rescue me!” are Helloween’s “I Want Out”!

kjorteo kjorteo
David showed me a track list he imagined for the album, with songs like Rescue Me having a title but nothing else--"we're going to have the Poison Skies title track, and then something probably called Rescue Me or something like that for Celine, and then...." I was working on edits and rewrites of Celine's chapter of the novel itself at the time, so her perspective and character voice were at the forefront of my mind. Seeing that title when I was already in Celine mode anyway sparked an intense surge of inspiration, and from her headspace I almost instantly came up with the starting ideas for the main riff, the verse, and the chorus. Rescue Me ended up committing mitosis as it slowly became "Disappear" and then the original Rescue Me returned to its original position, and the the final version remains very close to unchanged from how it all started.

Lyrically, this is the first full song whose lyrics I've ever written entirely on my own, so someone with more experience than me will have to tell me if this is how the process normally works, but... I found my biggest challenge with the lyrics to be leveling off and averaging out the peaks and valleys that came with the earlier drafts of what I'd written. I'd come up with a line that was so brilliant that I just had to use it, but that locked all the lines around it into restricted word choices to fit the rhyming scheme. In some cases, I felt like I was doing the best I could to get certain lines up to the level of "hopefully I can get away with this one and no one will notice" just so that my favorite ones could shine. For example, I love and am proud of "Be the winner of this wicked game I don't want to play." It flows and sounds great, and the mental image and metaphor are powerful and perfect. I even want to find a way to work that line into the novel itself now. Putting that in the lyrics was absolutely worth it, even though it meant I had to shape the entire rest of that block with lines that rhymed with "game" and build the next block toward ending with something that rhymed with "play." I think the whole thing works overall, though, as with enough time passing I'm having trouble remembering which parts I hated. I guess they must not have been that bad after all.

Musically, though the final version is very close to my original idea, there were one or two adjustments along the way. I had to change the "You built me to be strong only by your decree" part of melody after realizing the original chorus was accidentally identical to "Break Away" by Nocturnal Rites. I do feel guilty about vetoing David's call-and-response effect and making him sing entire verses like that, but... like he said, I just don't think that was the right effect for an internal monologue with one character. Also, I made him change its order in the overall track list.

I had David put Rescue Me before the Poison Skies title track, because it makes more sense for the story. In the novel, Rescue Me comes when Celine is torn between her father's expectations and her own desires, as the two factions of the tribe are drifting farther and farther apart. The Poison Skies title track captures the moment where the tribe disintegrates and splits in two, and everyone (including Celine) choose which side to follow. This is the culmination of Celine's character arc; she's been agonizing about having to choose between her father and herself, but in the end she gathers her courage and makes that choice. For that reason, having Rescue Me after Poison Skies felt backwards; Celine would be complaining about a problem that had already been resolved. With Rescue Me coming first, it feels more like a proper buildup to the split, one of the many issues that ultimately doom the tribe.

Overall, in contrast to David's fascination with how new and exotic this one seems compared to his work, I see Rescue Me as a rather basic "verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/bridge/chorus with key change" formula, mostly because it's my first song. The power of how we view our own work versus others', I suppose! Still, even there, there's a lot of room to work within even the most cookie-cutter song structures and make something that sounds unique and nice. I put David through way too much trouble bringing this song to life (dear God, figuring out that solo,) but I love how it all turned out in the end.

Lyrics
I was always told to make my name
Raised to gather glory, wealth, and fame
Be the winner of this wicked game
I don't want to play

You want me to break down every wall
Go and prove myself to one and all
I would rather live before I fall
Find another way

Chosen fighter
Soldier forced onto the battlefield
Claimed decider
of the path I’m on
Can a writer
of her own fate choose instead to yield
Something lighter
for my final dawn

Rescue me, rescue me
You built me to be strong only by your decree
Rescue me, rescue me
But I’m only the hero you want me to be
Rescue me
Rescue me
Rescue me

I don't want to sit atop the throne
Rule unchallenged, peerless, and alone
Vanquish every foe I've ever known
Just to fall and burn

If I'm meant to perish in this land
why do you insist I make a stand?
Why can't I accept the helping hand
you want me to spurn?

Chosen fighter
Soldier forced onto the battlefield
Claimed decider
of the path I’m on
Can a writer
of her own fate choose instead to yield
Something lighter
for my final dawn

Rescue me, rescue me
You built me to be strong only by your decree
Rescue me, rescue me
But I’m only the hero you want me to be
Rescue me

Rescue me, rescue me
From this brave and fearless prison
Is it stronger to admit when I am weak?
With this sword you've forced into my hands
I guess I may as well swing
But it won't be for the conquest that you seek
To wreak
Rescue me, rescue me

Rescue me, rescue me
I don't want to be strong only by your decree
Rescue me, rescue me
I will not be the hero you want me to be
I will live my own life before death comes for me
I can stand on my own but I'd rather be free
RESCUE ME!

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Comments

  • Link

    very catchy and epic, love the story :3 look forward to more!