Well, week 1 of FAWM 2015 (February Album Writing Month) is now over. Throughout the week, I posted and tweeted some of my favorite songs on social media but now that the week is over I thought I’d collect them into a quick blog post. I’d also like to say just how impressed I’ve been, in general, with the overall supportive and constructive atmosphere of FAWM. What a refreshingly different side of the Internet from… oh, I don’t know—Reddit? So kudos to all you FAWMers out there.
In exploring this year’s FAWM I began, naturally, by first listening to the songs of friends and people I know because I am on the site to support them first and foremost. But then I branched out from there and looked for new discoveries and often made some happy ones. This list will work the same way, starting with songs that I liked by people I know, in alphabetical order, and then moving on from there. All musicians here are identified by their FAWM usernames preceded by the “@” symbol and hyperlinked to their profile pages. Go support ’em! (Note: lyrics to all songs are also available on the artists’ respective pages.)
@debs, “Sky. Always There”
It’s been a great joy to see Debs, formerly of the band Debs & Errol, appear on FAWM. Here is a beautiful, meditative song with enigmatic yet evocative lyrics. Don’t try to “figure it out.” Just free associate and let it mean what you want it to mean.
@debs, “On My Grave”
In FAWM parlance a “skirmish” is when you write a song lightning fast upon being given a title or theme—in this case, the title “On My Grave.” Again, I dig the evocative imagery, particularly in the opening which conjures images of a mythical backdrop to very personal lyrics that cut deep into the core with scathing honesty. I can very easily see this song as a number in a stage musical.
Look out, Andrés Segovia, here’s Devin Melanson of Copy Red Leader. Wow, this guy is just annoyingly virtuosic. Oh, sure, this is some impressive finger picking and all, but let’s see how well he can meet the “Metal Mantra” challenge I offered him, hehe (prediction: he’s gonna kill it).
@devin, “Here on the Edge”
A song to perfectly match the ethos of everyone’s favorite one-season show, Firefly. Wait for the moment at 0:55. Yes, kids. Learn from Uncle Devin. This is how it’s done.
@meriamber, “Back to the 90s”
Meri Amber chose the unifying theme of the 90s for her FAWM songs—you might say she’s writing a FAWM concept album. And “album” really is the key word here because with seven songs already posted on her profile page it’s clear that nothing less than an album is going to satisfy this songwriting machine.
Only Meri Amber could compare the fictitious (or perhaps semi-fictitious) loser of a boyfriend in this song to a sad little Tamagotchi. Just try to resist this song—just try. And see if you can keep from laughing when you figure out what she’s actually talking about when she says, “For a full grown man, damn baby, you need help with everything / (And I mean everything!)”
@nicelegs, “read to me in secret”
Each week FAWM issues an official challenge that songwriters are free to take up or ignore as they see fit. Nice Legs accepted the challenge and, boy, did they ever rise to it. “S-i-n-i-s-t-e-r- s-i-s-t-e-r…” begins the song. Yeesh, why does that sound so… sinister? This song is like sugar-coated lyrical poison encased in floating pink bubbles.
@nicelegs, “ashtrays and alleys”
In addition to FAWM’s official challenges are categorical sub-challenges that users issue to each other. One of them is the Oddly Specific Moment Challenge. This challenge was “meeting the love of your life at a bowling alley” and was issued by user @acoustice (see below). Lovely and dreamy… as is everything by Nice Legs.
And now moving on to some new discoveries…
@acoustice, “On My Grave”
Based on what I’ve heard so far, this artist seems to alternate between acoustic songs that cut to the bone and dancy pop numbers. This one here’s another skirmish, a different take on the title “On My Grave.” Apparently written in just 21 minutes, it is also, like @debs‘ own take on it, unflinching and honest.
@ericdistad, “The Bad Coffeeshop”
Since there’s such a thing as flash fiction can there be such things as flash songs? This amusing little ditty would seem to suit the description. I just love the “uh-oh” moment.
@mattblick, “Bedtime Prayer”
Delightfully simple children’s prayer performed with sincerity. Yes, I like Christian music; I genuinely like all genres and never quite understood it when people would say things like, “I like all genres of music, I really do. Except country. And gospel.” That’s… not all genres?
@mattblick, “Polishing a Turd”
Matt Blick might have just invented a new sub-genre we could call “comedy punk.” True to the spirit of punk, anger is what drives this hilarious song, but if the transition at 0:24 doesn’t give you a genuine LOL moment, you might not have a soul.
One of the more accessible black metal songs (and songwriters) I’ve had the pleasure to discover and hear in recent memory. In the comments section on this guy’s page I wrote, “F**k. Yeah.” That’s it. And that pretty much says it. (Side note: one of the fun things about FAWM is somehow randomly landing upon a songwriter’s page and then seeing that someone you know has also discovered or already knew this songwriter’s work: geek pop artist @meriamber exchanging comments with black metalist @sapient—I love it!)
Genuinely beautiful ode to dawn. You’d swear it was Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath himself in that opening. And the lyrics, oh— “Behold! / The fires of heaven / Spilling through glass.” Yes, that is morning… a divine and sacred miracle, each and every day.
@stuartbenbow, “A Winter’s Memory”
Very happy with this new discovery. I was immediately struck here by the warm sound and imagery, and the song has held up to numerous repeated listens. Nice.
@stuartbenbow, “You Don’t Fix Faith (It Fixes You)”
An interesting one, this is. If you were to listen to it without any prior briefing you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a straight-up Christian song. It’s not quite. It’s actually about Firefly, but I think it speaks highly for the song and its writer that it does work as a religious song also. So now I’ve given you @devin’s “Here on the Edge”and I’ve given you this song. Let it never again be said there aren’t enough geek songs about Firefly!
So that’s all I had time for this past week, but it has whet my appetite for Week 2 and I hope to make even more felicitous discoveries yet. Will be back, hopefully, after Week 2! And to all you FAWMers, I leave you with this little meme from DJ Paulo Arruda’s Facebook page: