Saturday, October 13, 2007

Didn't We?

Lyrics in Songwriting Example:
"Didn't We?" music and lyrics by Jimmy Webb

Okay, so it's surprising to me that I waited until my 12th blog to write about a Jimmy Webb song -- but better late than never! If you're not familiar with Jimmy Webb, you may at least be familiar with some of his handiwork -- "MacArthur Park," "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," "All I Know," "Up Up and Away," "Wichita Lineman," etc. He's also written a great book on songwriting which I highly recommend called "Tunesmith: The Art of Songwriting". You may also want to check out his CD "Ten Easy Pieces". It's definitely one of my favorites (love his piano style as well).

And now for today's song -- "Didn't We?" The most amazing thing to me is that he wrote this song when he was in college (probably about 18 years old). Wow. Makes me either want to give up songwriting completely or try a lot harder (depends on the day!).

"Didn't We"
By Jimmy Webb (music and lyrics)

This time we almost made the pieces fit, didn't we?
This time we almost made some sense of it, didn't we?
This time I had the answer right here in my hand,
Then I touched it, and it had turned to sand.

This time we almost sang our song in tune, didn't we?
This time we almost made it to the moon, didn't we?
This time, we almost made our poem rhyme
And this time we almost made that long hard climb.

Didn't we almost make it?
Didn’t we almost make it?
Didn’t we almost make it this time?

Simple. Simple. Simple. Yet so moving and, quite frankly, poetry to my ears. Note the use of another lyric songwriting tool...the question (which in this case is used poignantly throughout the song without being cliche). Now I will say that the melody is also quite beautiful - the line soars through the phrases 'this time we almost made our poem rhyme' and 'this time we almost made that long hard climb' (with a big 'build' here to reflect that long hard climb). And then the line resolves through to the end (as the singer resigns himself) with the lyrics 'Didn't we almost make it this time?'

Wonderful CD... Ten Easy Pieces with "Didn't We" as well as inspired versions of many of his hits - performed by none other than Jimmy Webb!

Ten Easy Pieces

Jimmy Webb Links:
Jimmy Webb: Ten Easy Pieces CD
Jimmy Webb Wikipedia

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