The Story Behind the Song – Something Ain't Right
Or ‘How A Murder Ballad Gets Itself Writ’
I either begin writing a song with a tune in my head, or start with the chords. I do love me a sweet chord progression, and I believe I got the one for Something Ain’t Right from Schubert – after watching Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon a bahzillion times. Schubert got his idea from a Swedish folk song back in 1827, Kubrick’s movie was in 1975, and I began writing mine in 2008. Ain’t that a grand lineage?
I was visiting a friend in the USA, writing songs on his porch and looking for an agent for my science-fiction novel, in between times meddling with them chords. He was having a little woman trouble, and I picked out a thread from it and spun my own tale of paranoid jealousy. With a little help from Marvin Gaye. I put the verse and chorus together real easy once I knew which direction I was going in (that’s always the hardest part), but there was something lacking…. or ain’t right. It felt incomplete.
That didn’t stop me playing the tune live, though – and when you have to put a song out before an audience you really feel the bumps of it. I had a filler mid section – and, boy, did it feel fillery. I knew I wanted a chromatic, perhaps cheesy, return from the mid to the refrain/ chorus, but what to do in the meantime evaded me until 2011. I guess I lost my rag a bit and simply hit two chords hard – trying to snap myself out of the oh-so-seductive sequence. It worked.
The Fmi and Dmi staccato really adds the chili-pepper to the whipped-cream verses, and reveals the frustrated fury beneath the entire lyric. I don’t usually write tunes with a storyline, much less take three years to do so, but I have to admit – this one sounds so good it doesn’t sound like me, it sounds like a band I really love. And that, gentlepersons, is why I do it.
So, here she is – Something Ain’t Right.
BTW, you can get Kubrick’s movie and the music over on iTunesazom. Enjoy!
© A Power