A Different Approach from Brian Powell

new lyrics, new music, and a request

Hi Guys,

For those of you who remember me, I am working on a new track and would like feedback/comments. I don’t have a title yet, but I am looking for possible help producing the song, as I have kind of an idea on how I want it to sound, but would like feedback.


i got up early this morning
for the first time in weeks
something shocked my heart into believing
there was more to life than I could see

so my heart was dead
after three years of giving it was out of breath
after three weeks of dying it just needed rest
but something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth
of depression and sadness that I could not seem to understand

why this was happening
why the life I’d worked so hard to build was
crumbling, why the love I’d given selflessly now
meant nothing why my every thought and my every move just seemed to
echo back her name, and here I stand
waiting to begin myself again

and all of these thoughts
are slowly driving me crazy
how do I erase these years
and still be left with more than you?

why is this happening
why is the life I worked so hard to build now crumbling
why is the love i’ve given so selflessly now mean nothing

LINK: No Title Yet

This is much different from most of my songs, and much less “finished” than the things I normally post. I just grabbed a mic and did a quick recording of it to get the basics down, but I want to know, how… do you, the listener, think it should be produced? Piano? Guitar? If you’re familiar with the bands, I am thinking currently of doing something that sounds like a mix between Coldplay and Death Cab.

Let me know what you think, and I hope to make this into a beautiful new addition to my music!


Personally, I think it ought to be recorded as vocals and acoustic guitar. :D

I hear the Death Cab thing - like “marching bands of manhattan” or something. (I know, too slick…)

Very good in a lot of ways. I enjoy the singing, and the song definetly fits well in the mode it’s in. Before I give advice on recording, a couple things to take issue with, etc.

1) The grammer between verse and… whatever… is wrong. Here, let me show you:


but something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth
of depression and sadness that I could not seem to understand

why this was happening
why the life I’d worked so hard to build was

The word “that” should be changed to the word “and.” If there was not the following lines, the word “that” would be correctly. Something woke my heart up from all this depression that I couldn’t understand. In this form, though, what you don’t understand is the depression and sadness. But you have it linking both to that and the why this was happening, etc. Grammatically, you can’t do that. However, if you change it to and, here’s what happens:

but something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth
of depression and sadness, and I could not seem to understand

why this was happening
why the life I’d worked so hard to build was

you still have the same effect. it could be read that you don’t understand the pain in sadness, but you clearly don’t understand why it’s happening. However, this time, the form is clear and grammatically correct. Anyway, sorry bout that. a grad student in english, and stuff like that bothers me. :laugh:

2) the form of your song seems odd. you have no chorus, which can be ok, but with this song is creates fatigue. I’m as big an emo fan as any, but without the repeat of a chorus and verse, the form seems to strain a lot. by the end, you are lost in it all. Not the feeling you want your listeners to have. You have a good verse and chorus in the first three stanzas (given you see the 1st and 2nd stanzas as two parts of a verse). I’d say consider a second verse matching the first one, ending with the word “understand” (a cool thing would be to switch it back upon the girl, asking her to help you understand. either that or saying that no one will even help you understand. Something like that.) Then use the following stanzas as the bridge, not lingering too long upon them. Perhaps if you had a second verse, you wouldn’t need to repeat both parts twice.

Anyway, given you do both of the previous (not that you have to), I’d say that a bit of build-up to the chorus would be good. I’d suggest electrics on the chorus, but then that doesn’t sound like exactly what you’re going for. Nevertheless, some sort of build up would be good. Perhaps a piano part built up in the choruses? you could then make the verses nice and sad/pretty with the guitars/drums dropping out and going just to piano on the bridge. That would sound nice with what you got going on. Even if you don’t go to the verse/chorus format, some buildup and breakdown would help relieve monotany and liven things up.

Oh, and here’s a few thoughts on titles. You could always go with the old “why…” or something like that. Sometimes the “dot dot dot” titles are cool. I don’t know if you want to go that way, though. You could go with “early day” or something like that to embody the hope expressed in the first part of the song. Though, if you do, you might want to bring the song full circle and end on the first two lines of verse or something like that. The problem is that the song seems to lose focus about half-way through, and the point seems to change or something. I don’t know. I think you got potential here, but seeing as I’m giving advice, I’d say that you might need another run-through with this one. A bit more revision, really. Find some way to bring it down to expressing a singular idea. You seem to have at least two going on here. Writing a second verse will help, I think. For example, if you decide to make the song about the hopefull “I might be rounding the corner” theme you start with, you could write about how, though you’re sick and tired of being depressed over the girl, that doesn’t help you understand (or how you could start moving on if you could just understand, or something. whatever). however, if you made it about the “something” that shocked you out of this depression, then you could write about what that was and go into that a bit more. Either way, a second verse could do a lot for this song, in my opinion.


Does poetry require good grammer?

Thanks for the feedback so far, I appreciate it, although… I disagree with your comments on my grammar. In one way, I am doing what Tom commented on by invoke the “poetry” aspect of my writing, but even if we’re talking purely grammatically, it still works. Look:

…but something shocked my heart and woke it

from what did it wake it?

from the depth of:
a.) the depression
and b.) the sadness

that I could not understand.

“What could you not understand?”
-I could not understand the depth of the sadness and the depression that I was going through.

Something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth of the depression that I could not understand.

Something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth of the sadness that I could not understand.

Both of these sentences work fine on their own, so it’s granted that they will work find if I combine them.

Something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth of the depression and the sadness that I could not seem to understand.

Now here is where I invoke my poetry law… because this sentence works fine, until I make it just a clause in a larger sentence, which is I think what you were talking about. Once I put the “… why this was happening,” the sentence falls apart gramatically. “something woke my heart from the depth of the depression that I could not understand why this was happening.” It makes one cringe. So technically, you’re right, but… think of it as two separate sentences.

"something shocked my heart and woke it from the depth of the depression and the sadness that (1. I could not understand)

(2. I could not understand why this was happening, why the life I’d worked so hard to build was crumbling)

It’s like I use it twice, once as an ending to the first clause, and secondly as the beginning to the next one, but I only say it once.

Does this make sense? I hope so :) But I thank you for that, I don’t know anyone else in the world who loves spelling and grammar like I do!

So the song now… I’m wondering if anyone wants to record a demo for themselves with some ideas for me. I will try to record something else tonight, with a tempo, so someone could add strings/piano/drums if they wanted… I am just at a loss for how I want to proceed. And on top of that - I heard a John Mayer song last night that gave me yet ANOTHER idea for a direction I could take the song. So… let me mess around with some stuff, and I will post a little later on tonight.



I like a lot of the stuff you’ve done in the past so I’m going to comment on this even though I probably shouldn’t :)

The one thing I think is not quite right with this is that I find the opening part of the song too light, melodically, to justify the darkness and intensity of the lyrics. I can hear the Colplay connection and when I hear the opening of your song the “feel” I would like to hear is something along the lines of the emotional feel of the song " The Scientist"

Don’t know how much sense that makes but I’m sure you can do something good with this. The lyrics deserve it!

Take Care,


beautiful… beautiful! So someone else heard it… I’m glad. I like the feeling of The Scientist a LOT, and I think that somewhere in the whole “piano/light drums” thing is where’d I’d LIKE to head, but I don’t think it would sound good since all I have at my disposal are soundfonts, (great for backup, horrible for lead).

And in regards to the mix - this is not how I want it to sound per say, it’s just… a demo. So everything other than just the main tune could change. I also want to put a break after the chorus and the bridge, and maybe add another verse…> i want to do a LOT to it… I’m just not sure how to proceed.


I won’t get into the grammer issue with you, as I can already tell you are going to disagree with me no matter, but I will say that grammer in poetry is bendable, not breakable, and I think that your idea would flow better if you said “and.” I’ll spare you credentials, as it would appear that I was saying that my opinion was more important than yours (which it isn’t), but trust me when I say that grammer, especially grammer with regards to poetic construction, is my field, so I do know what I am talking about. Of course, as I said from the begining, you’re the author, so you can write what you want. I was just trying to help. :)

haha :) Don’t think that I am disagreeing with you, I may actually go change it. I looked for a while at the construction of the song after you wrote that, because I am actually very… picky normally this kind of thing too. Sorry if I sounded like I was attacking you

not at all. I just know that sometimes, if you disagree on something like that, people tend to get defensive, and I didn’t want to get into an argument, when really you can do what you want. I will say that I think that using the “and” will give you the effect you are going for (that the line seems to end at the verse, but then ends up connecting to the chorus) without having the problematic “that,” which seems to confuse things, IMO. :)

Famousfish, you are no postmodernist.

I’ve often argued that when it comes to songs, the actual lyrics are unimportant - what matters is that the sounds fit the melody. I’ve written a bunch of songs where I’d sing the vowels, opening them up when the melody went up, e.g., and then set words to it later, based on the resulting vowels. I’ve always admired the cocteau twins for similar reasons.

Why not start another thread on the poetry issue?


Another potentially good song Brian, I agree with most of the comments so far, well, except the grammar, I’m not qualified to judge and after all, doesn’t poetry add up to more than just the sum of the words?

The thing that sticks out for me is that the music seems to lose it’s way, almost as if you are just making the chords up as you go along. That tended to distract me from actually listening to the song, I was attempting to follow something which seemed to have no form, if you see what I mean.
Simple, yes the music needs to be simple, because the words do it all.

Please don’t forget to post this one again when it’s finished, I’d love to hear it.


Okay - so - about a year ago my computer crashed and I lost all of my best samples. Does anyone have a good set of drum samples that I could use to start programming a drum track for this song? I feel like such a nerd saying this, cause I played drums in band in high school, but I forget what this thing is called. I need some samples of the snare drum, but with the… brushy stick… the one that has a bunch of brushes at the end of it so it makes a lighter sound? LOL :D ??? what a nerd…

I also need like - the rest of the pack too. So, that’s what we can do to start this out… I will start messing around with some piano and seeing what I can come up with.


Here is the chord structure:

The song starts in the key of D

"I woke up this morning…"
D, D#dim6*, Em, A, A#dim6*, Bm

"depression and the sadness"
Em, D2/F#, G, A (or some variation of A, A7, or Asus)
- this exists basically as a step up, from E, to F#, to G, to A

"why this was happening…"
D, A#dim6, Bm, Bm7, Em7, D/F#, G, Asus7

"all these thoughts…"
Bm, Em, D/F#, G, Bm, Em, D/F#, G, D
- that last “D” starts the “more than youuuuuuu” part

"more than you…"
D, Em, Bm, G (320000), D, Em7, Bm, G)

* - I’m not EXACTLY sure what these chords are, but my friend and I concluded they were these. The D#dim6 is x6x575 and the A#dim6 is 6x565x.

What if I modeled the song after this one?

Death Cab For Cutie - Tiny Vessels

Quote (TomS @ Mar. 06 2007,15:32)
Famousfish, you are no postmodernist.

I'm not famous. I'm more than famous. I'm infamous. :;): and no, I'm not a postmodernist. I enjoy having a fixed point of reference. Thanks. :laugh:

Does anyone have a good set of drum samples that I could use to start programming a drum track for this song?

Try this:


Have you tried hotstepper? you can create a rhythm pattern using drum samples really easy, then save to a wav file and import in N-Track. Very good proggie.



Well, I didn’t want to ask, but which famous fish are you in?

Well, I’m not really in a fish, but if I were, I think I would prefer to be in pinoccio’s fish rather than Jonah’s. Pinoccio’s exit from the fish was preferable to being puked up on a beach…

sounds fishy to me. Seriously, I want to hear your argument in favor of the use of proper grammAr in songs like this.