The Jealousy Project

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JealousyThe first song I ever wrote as a love-struck 20-something who was playing guitar for the first time was “Jealousy”. For the most part it was terrible, with memorable lyrics such as “How could you give yourself away / You know I love you anyway”.

What’s more surprising was that bits of it were actually pretty good. The chord progression is complex but elegant and the hook reasonably memorable, so long as you like your power-ballads epic and drippy.

For that reason I had many attempts to record it with the assistance of several good friends, without ever producing something that reflected the potential I though the song had.

For some reason, the song came back to me last year and I thought it was time to give it another go. What was different this time:

  • Brian Metcalfe who has been playing drums with Handsome Jack agreed to do a studio job for me
  • I’ve got the guitar skills now to lay down the solo the song needed
  • I was sufficiently far from the song to re-visit the lyrics

Re-writing the lyrics came surprisingly easily. The worst offending lines were very earnest and one-dimensional. I tried to replace them with something more oblique.

A few structural changes came to make the song less predictable and longer. Originally it was 3:00 minutes of verse-bridge-chorus * 3. I’m a big believer that music should not be predictable. Chopping and changing the length of the chorus and inserting a heavy instrumental section that rapidly progresses the song through several keys help keep the song moving.

The final ingredient was the right singer and I was lucky enough to find a special one in Danielle Sharp. She was my first choice and she agreed to do the song in two sessions: One rehearsal and one in the studio. I have to say how impressed I was with Danielle. After listening to it at home she had it fully worked out in 2 hours in rehearsal. Then she had the song recorded in two takes in the studio!

The song was recorded in FL Studio over several months. Most of it came together very quickly. The biggest issues were the pads for the intro and the solo. I struggled to find some synth sounds that I liked and settles on an organ sound in the end. The solo took many takes as I found there’s a world of difference between blazing a solo in a pub gig and recording something perfectly that will stand the test of time. In the end, the solo is shorter than I originally planned and composed of 8 chunks linked together.

Finally, great things were done by Steve Longbottom at Vibration studios firstly in engineering the drums and vocals, then in mastering the track. I learned great things about mixing too. One of the big differences between this track and my previous efforts is that all the instruments have been EQ’d to get them to fit together in the mix. The results are excellent.

The finished results have been published using Tunecore to all music stores. Here are some links:

Lyrics

I close my eyes
To see you smile
I dream to see your face
The image fades
Into the grey
You’re gone without a trace

You had your road
You had to go
That cold September day
But I didn’t know
The speed you’d show
To get back on your way

Oh Jealousy
Is what you mean to me
Looking through the window at a fantasy
Staring in the mirror at reality

We had our fun
Our day in the sun
In the Latin Quarter bars
Now tied to the memory
Lonely and empty
Wondering how you are

So thank you for
Your honesty
Confessions of your frailty
Hate that burns me
Consuming jealousy
I’m dying piece by piece

Oh Jealousy
Is what you mean to me
Looking through the window at a fantasy
Staring in the mirror at reality
Seeing a mirage of ideality
Living an existence of futility

I know his name
I know his face
I’ve been to where you live
I can’t move on
I can’t forget
And I never will forgive