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Read December 04, 2017, 11:08:08 PM #0

Our Town

Hi everyone, I posted this a couple of weeks back on an international songwriting forum I have been participating in for a while. But, being from the UK, I did think it might be more appreciated or critiqued more aptly by listeners in my own country - well if indeed you are from the UK, and I realise all aren't- and appreciate our industrial heritage. I am wondering if I should work closer to home if I am putting out songs like this! So I am hoping, very much so, that I can also be welcome here in this forum with a seemingly UK heart.

So anyway,  I completed this new narrative song which did take quite a while, given its length. It's over 5 mins long, but sometimes it just takes longer to tell a story. But if it makes you nod off, then do let me know!  Wink

FYI, I grew up in an old Mill Town in Lancashire UK, quite an industrial place especially at the time. I don't go back there much these days, but a few weeks back I did have to go there for a meeting. I felt like I was in a dream as I drove past many of the old landmarks of the town - which made me remember back to people I used to be with and the things we did together. The upshot, some weeks later, is this song where the town plays the part of a significant backdrop to this little love story. The narrative nature of the song is inspired by old folk songs of the industrial revolution, which were often melancholic, but life was hard back then! But I have tried to give it a modern twist too. Hope you like it anyway, but let me know if the story works for you, thanks.


Our Town

Well that was our town
Some thought hard to like
Ugly and grey
Still I’d get on my bike
And I’d ride across that town
Past foundries and mills
To bring you stolen daffodils

Well that was our town
It was all that we knew
It was where we belonged
But somehow you outgrew
Its clouded horizon
You wanted new thrills
Far more than stolen daffodils


Oh there is the iron bridge
Where I first took your hand
And there is the factory
That shaped up this man
And there is the church
Where I hoped we would marry
Oh here are the streets
Where I dreamt life would carry on

Ah there’s the canal-side
Where we’d laugh and play
And there’s the old dance hall
Where we’d sway
And you were the girl
Who I hoped to marry
One day you were gone 
Didn’t think I could carry on

With these bitter sweet
With these bitter sweet

Well that was our town
But you flew afar
And I watched you on TV
Something of a star
All champagne and roses
Beyond your new thrills
Did you dream of stolen daffodils?

Well this is my town
And in time I moved on
When down at the factory
Met kind of someone
And it makes her happy
Just to pay all our bills
Ah no more stolen daffodils


Still this is our town
And all through these years
Fought back disappointment
Fought back a few tears
But there is some worse news
On TV that chills
I dream of stolen daffodils

Well this is our town
And it welcomes you home
In a pale wooden box
Buried under a stone
Taken all too soon
As the old churchyard fills
I bring you stolen daffodils

Read December 04, 2017, 11:48:00 PM #1

Re: Our Town

Hi Michael and welcome  Grin Grin

This has a lovely Simon and Garf feel to it and the lyrics are nice.
The bass is a little busy for my tastes and I think you already know it needs a bit off the side in length.
But it is an impressive first post nonetheless  Grin Grin

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

Best wishes from Canada  Grin
Read December 05, 2017, 12:26:15 AM #2

Re: Our Town

Nice song. Old school.
Two criticisms
I'd work on the matching the pulse of the lyric and melody a bit tighter.
I'd like to a little more chest register on the vocal but that personal taste.
Read December 05, 2017, 07:08:33 AM #3

Re: Our Town

I enjoyed the music-box quality of the main instrument here... is it a guitar sound on a keyboard? I liked the slightly syncopated rhythm of it.
I thought the length would be ok if you did a bit more to 'build' from the second verse. Interesting that you decided not to use percussion - I'm sure that was a conscious choice, but for example some drums coming in on verse 2 could keep it varied across the 5 mins.
A poignant song, I could picture your town. You paint a clear picture. Nice one.

It's all too beautiful.
Read December 05, 2017, 02:49:09 PM #4
Silver Machine

Re: Our Town

Dude this song is all about the lyrics which are real sad and poignant. Damn they are sad, I felt it all. Great work, man.
Although the music is real nicely done, it's just a vehicle for the story in those formidable  lyrics.
At the start I remember thinking there was an awkwardness between the vocal and the music. But as I got into the story I forgot it.
Top work, man.
Read December 05, 2017, 04:11:10 PM #5

Re: Our Town

Thanks for the feedback guys!

Paulski, yeah I have quietened down the bass on my version and centred it. It is less distracting now. Best wishes to you too - from somewhere near Liverpool UK  Wink

JoeAntaine - well I only really do 'old school'  Grin Nice observation on the lyric rhythm. But when I do try for more chest register I find my vocals sound quite harsh - just the way it works!

PaulyX - hi and yes I did think of drums, but was trying to keep this relatively 'unplugged'. Although to be honest there ended up more going on instrumentally than I had envisaged. I will have a play at your suggestion though, thanks.

Silver Machine - I'm really pleased you highlighted the lyrics, as for me too that is what this song is about. I was trying to tell this touching tale - and yes indeed the music did come in as second priority on this occasion. Conveying the emotion through words came first! Cheers!!!

Read December 05, 2017, 05:26:18 PM #6

Re: Our Town

Hi Michael,

The lyrics are excellent and you tell a very sad story. I liked the olde English feel to the guitar. Thought the bass was slightly stilted and a bit distracting being panned too far left.

It's an unusual song which works very well IMO. I can appreciate the comments regarding drums but see why you've chosen not to use them

Good work  Smiley 
Read December 05, 2017, 09:39:57 PM #7

Re: Our Town

Hi Michael,

Welcome to the forum. I grew up in Preston so totally relate to the lyrics. So evocative. Appreciate you are probably refering to Blackburn or Burnley or Accrington, or somewhere in the hinterland but they are all proud old industrial towns. Being from one of these places is totally character forming and remains a big part of your identity whereever you end up. The lyrics are very poignant and tell a heartrending story that we can probably all relate to on some level so great job there.

And the music. The melody is so understated but works so well. Needs a couple of listens or more to appreciate fully. Its the kind of song you just want to lose yourself in. I think this is an exceptional piece of work. I suspect (unless you are a genius) that its kind of just worked out that way. Sometimes a song comes together and its greater than the sum of its parts.

youve captured something really special with this one.

Read December 05, 2017, 10:54:03 PM #8

Re: Our Town

Well this is very nice to have total strangers being prepared to comment on your songs after one day in the forum. Thank you all!

Hi Pompeyjazz, thanks for picking out some good elements - and yes I have altered the bass on my own DAW now. 'Olde English' - I do like that!

Hey Mickyplankton, well Preston is actually the town of my birth. But we moved to Blackburn soon after that and 'Our Town' for me is your Lancashire neighbour. Yeah, I agree it is character forming to have grown up in these parts and that helped me get a bit of necessary grittiness and heartbreak into these lyrics. You're also right in that this song just fell into place, while others I can struggle with for ages. Maybe all the spirits from my old town came around to help me out. Well in the end, this one is indeed a very special song for me! Thanks for the SC comment too!
Read December 05, 2017, 11:04:32 PM #9

Re: Our Town

Michael it's great to see you getting involved and yes I can really relate to this as my dad was from Accrington, my grandparents from Great Harwood and Burnley. I'm a South coast geezer these days but never forget my northern roots
Read December 07, 2017, 10:50:38 AM #10

Re: Our Town

Lovely storytelling and some very nice imagery.

It's slightly on the long side for me in its current arrangement and there was the odd occasion when the lyrics felt like they fell slightly awkwardly or were slightly shoehorned.

Nothing major though, just trying to be constructively critical.

Still a nice piece of writing though.

Read December 07, 2017, 02:50:47 PM #11

Re: Our Town

Thanks Yodasdad, a couple of people have mentioned the lyric thing, I think I will have to rewrite one or two lines. Glad you enjoyed the storytelling though, as that was my main objective with this song!  Wink
Read December 07, 2017, 06:29:19 PM #12

Re: Our Town

I know it is all about the lyrics on this site, the lyrics I thought were great but the voice and the music put me off and I found it hard to listen to, but hey that is only my opinion
Read December 10, 2017, 11:51:13 AM #13

Re: Our Town

Mightily impressive lyrics...very wistful and poignant...the sentiment reminded me of a Roddy Frame lyric about “drowning in a sorrow so sweet, I don’t want to be saved”

Musically, a little breathing space would have been good the lyric is quite relentless...but I guess you’d need to be conscious of the clock ticking...

A minor detail...but Pompey’s right about the bass works on Live at Leeds...but tricky for rest of us to pull off   Smiley

Lovely song, though...really nicely done.

heart of stone, feet of clay, knob of butter
Read December 10, 2017, 03:26:44 PM #14

Re: Our Town

Hi Lillypilly, sorry this wasn't your cup of tea, but my style and execution is never going to secure universal appeal, so that's OK!  Wink

Thanks PaulAds, I pretty much agree with all your comments there. There was a long story to tell and any more space for the music would have just ended up with me losing the plot, literally! Yep I've also centred the bass on my DAW now - funny how that small experiment seems to have strayed me into a no-go area re the mix. That'll teach me!  Grin
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