Time

The Story

"Time" is definitely the one song I've written that everyone seems to like. Even I like it. It was a huge pain in the ass to write, though. It took me months!

It all started on the toilet.... Strangely, that's true: most of the chorus (together with the melody) did come to me suddenly one evening while I was going to the bathroom. It was during a time when I was working 2 nearly full-time jobs in webdev and volunteering 10 hours per week at a grade school. I hardly had time to crap, which is probably why I used that time to inspire a song about time and doing things with it that aren't work.

The first verse was actually pretty easy. I was riding on the satisfaction of the sound I had conjured, and ever since hearing Donald Fagen sing "drinkin' his dinner from a paper sack" in "Daddy Don't Live In That New York City No More", I was dying to steal that image. Out came, "drinkin' pity from a paper bag". I don't know where the rest of the verse came from, but it wasn't too hard.

The rest of the song took me fully 6 months to complete! It took so long that the process actually managed to outlive the abortive relationship I kindled and subsequently destroyed with my roommate, Jackie, hence the love references that were, for once, not just fluff.

I do feel like I should explain the second verse a little bit, though. I always feel a little self-conscious singing "her eyes are lowered to your crown". The thing is, I had not only just secured two really high-paying jobs, but I had managed to make them fight over me. I felt kingly. So when I wrote that verse, it was actually a little bit of a self-jab, alluding to being on a bit of a high horse. This is made a little bit more obvious when the second part of it comes around ("and then she leaves without a trace...."), but honestly, I've never been sure if maybe I just sound like a misogynist douche. Anyway, that wasn't the intention.

The only part of this song that I deeply regret is the end of the last verse. For all the great material in this song, I just couldn't think of a better ending than "it's time you find what's on your mind, and walk a different way" (in the attached recording, it's even worse: "it's time you find what's on your mind, she's not so far away"). I'll keep rewriting that line for the rest of my life.

Other interesting tidbits:

  • The last verse in this recording has been rewritten with the lyrics indicated below.
  • This was my debut as a trumpet star, playing a $60 horn I purchased on craigslist!
  • Did U Know? This is my second recording with a drum machine, though this one was the much more sophisticated loop application within Apple's Logic Pro, rather than my chintzy little Alesis drum machine.

Lyrics

An old man in a winter coat
Winks as you walk by
Drinkin' pity from a paper bag [STOLEN from Steely Dan!]
The moonlight in his eye

And he says, "hey there, young man
sing this old boy a song
A song to heal the man who feels
His time here isn't long"

You sing to him of brighter days
You sing him songs from far away
Melodies of memories
In every shade of gray

And you say, "hey there, say what you see
Between the stars, the moon and me
Come pass the pipe, embrace the night
Together we'll be free"

Singin' time, time, time
It isn't worth a dime
There's more to life than runnin'
Down the line

A woman stands before you now
Her eyes are lowered to your crown
Your riches and your royalty
Are known the world around

And she says, "hey there, you wealthy man
I'll show you something new
Something that you lost when all the world
Fell to you"

She opens up the sky above
She shows you what it means to love
And then she leaves without a trace
With no more than a shrug

And you say, "hey there, wait up for me
There's so much here I've yet to see
My eyes are open shining oceans
Think what we could be"

Singin' time, time, time
It isn't worth a dime
There's more to life than runnin'
Down the line

Time, time, time
Time away from time
Time to ease your mind
Time, time

A different style of clothes you wear now
A different way to comb your hair
The times they are a'changin'
The summer into fall

Another dollar 'nother day
Another hair now gone to gray
It's time you find what's on your mind
And walk a different way

Singin' time, time, time
It isn't worth a dime
There's more to life than runnin'
Down the line

Time, time, time
Time away from time
Time to ease your mind
Time, time