Back at the end of December, after I finished writing "New Years Day," I wrote a list. It looks like this:
1. It's cold
2. It's short
3. My birthday
4. Groundhogs Day
Not exacly a basis for a stunning song. With March already in the bag, and January coming out naturally, it appeared February was going to be the first song I'd have to force.
Forcing a song is a dangerous game. The best songs write themselves, three of my favorites agree. Paul McCartney heard "Yesterday" in a dream, woke up and wrote it down. Samuel Taylor Colerige wrote "Kubla Kahn" the same way. Neil Young says, "Stop trying... If you don't have an idea and you don't hear anything going over and over in your head, don't sit down and try to write a song. You know, go and mow the lawn."
Blood Year flies in the face of this. By committing to a song a month, I'm forcing myself to work in a new, less organic way. The song for February would be the first test of this.
When I began, I wanted to make it a short, sweet song. I had "Her Majesty" in mind as a model. Short in honor of the month. Sweet because the January song is ponderous, and the March song is outright depressing.
I ended up with this. At five minutes, it isn't short, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. The song went through a lot of iterations, starting as a shuffle and morphing to piano pop and then a ballad. Unable to pick between the pop and the ballad, I mashed the two together.
Neil Young wouldn't have approved of the process (and possibly not the end result), but it comes as a relief to know that I can start empty handed and end up with a song. Making something out of nothing doesn't feel natural. But it would be a long year if it wasn't possible.