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Read December 06, 2017, 05:09:41 PM #0
redrhodie

Headlights on the Ceiling

I wrote this one about a neglected girl growing up in an alcoholic household.

Thanks for listening and any comments. Thanks to Keith for everything, especially the help with the lyrics. I feel much better about this now.

Lynn




Listen to Headlights On The Ceiling by faraway my lovely #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/user-468459034/headlights-on-the-ceiling

Headlights on the Ceiling

It was summer
She lay awake in the middle of the night
Waiting for his headlights on the ceiling
She knew her father
Would be sleeping it off by now
If he was quiet he could slip in through the side door

And in the morning he was gone
And she just lay there all alone
In the morning he was gone
And she just lay there all alone

In the winter
She was falling through the cracks
Waiting for the other shoe to fall
She watched her father
Drinkin' away the days
Waiting for a prince to come and save her

And in the morning she stayed home
Waiting all alone
In the morning she stayed home
Waiting all alone

The next summer
She was picking up the pieces
Trying to make sense of it all
There was no other
Who could put it back together
It was up to her to take care of herself

And in the morning she was gone
Before anybody knew she left home
In the morning she was gone
Before anybody knew she left home x2






Life is just a dream.
 
Read December 06, 2017, 05:25:06 PM #1
shadowfax

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

You have a good writing style, a good vocal sound and a good song..but, to show these talents off better you gotta tighten the production..lot of timing issues in the track Smiley
bit more variation in arrangement would be good also Smiley
the chorus sounds the same as the rest of the song..not melodically but instrumentally Smiley
bit of a change there would improve the effect of the chorus.. Smiley
dunno what DAW you use but it's not difficult to tighten things up in there...

A good song needs a good showcase, you have the former, now work on the latter and your songs will shine, they deserve this...because it's good stuff,

best, Kevin Smiley

 
Read December 06, 2017, 05:58:27 PM #2
S.T.C

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

I like this. But there's something i can tell you for free .If you were to pitch this ,or get a critique , they would like to see  'headlights on the ceiling used in the chorus , after all it is your chosen title and the most interesting phrase of the song .

So:What about this, having to do it quick cos i'm at work...

'And in the morning he was gone
So, she just lay there all alone
And in the evening before the moon
she saw ,headlights on the ceiling
and knew he was nearly home'

Also from .58 -1.37 ,the songs just treading water , and it does it again later on...you need to sort that out..and bring the timeline in..it goes from summer to winter and then to next summer...waiting for headlights on the ceiling suggests a more common event, not one thats seasonal ,over wise you may as well use the harvest or something? Wink


 
Read December 06, 2017, 06:05:35 PM #3
Wicked Deeds

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

This would benefit from a  little less reverb on the guitar that is panned left.  At the moment it is detracting from the main vocal.  The guitar track is interesting in itself but I think it could be mixed to allow the vocal and guitar to coexist and make for a fine song.  Lovely vocals!

Paul


" I'm the thief who stole the riches in the night."

www.soundcloud.com/wicked-deeds
 
Read December 06, 2017, 08:09:16 PM #4
PaulyX

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

Lovely sleepy Velvets feel to this.
For me, the looseness works well, I wouldn't tighten it up... it's got that slacker cool to it.
Vocals sound brill and I liked the plaintive 'whale noise' guitar licks too.
Interesting title too, you can't help but wonder what it's going to be about.


It's all too beautiful.
 
Read December 06, 2017, 09:52:03 PM #5
Mutrins

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

This song has a lot of potential. You have a knack for melody and lyrics. I also appreciate the melody of the guitar solos. I think I agree with the others where you could benefit from better production, but the base is definitely there.

I do like the reverby quality of it, but again things need to be cleaned up.

I hope you continue to work on this one!
 
Read December 06, 2017, 11:20:00 PM #6
Silver Machine

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

Lady I really like the lazy way this drifts along in a post Velvets haze, It sounds truly analogue and  makes no concession to what's current or proven.
Good title. I also think having a title that repeats ad nauseum in the chorus is equivalent to dumbing down a song to some moronic level. So plus marks for avoiding such a thing.
I get the impression you  write for enjoyment , like me, and dont study the form hoping to back a winner.  Your song is the sort of stuff that keeps music alive.

 
 
Read December 07, 2017, 01:09:39 AM #7
Paulski

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

I liked this one Lynn
What a great innocent sounding vocal.
Bit of the cowboy junkies there for me.
You've had some great advice above on how to tighten this up.
I don't mean timing wise but production wise Smiley

Enjoyed it muchly!
Paul
 
Read December 07, 2017, 10:06:24 AM #8
diademgrove

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

When I first got this song from Lynn I was blown away, it was brilliant. We had a discussion about what the song was about, some of the lyrics had to change before the world could hear her song.

The song, for me, is about dealing with adversity and disappointment. Its about independence and relying on yourself to solve your problems. Its also about dreams or more accurately daydreams, hence the title headlights on the ceiling. I always associate headlights on the ceiling as being in bed, in that golden time between being awake and falling asleep thinking about tomorrow.

The dream was for her Prince to come and save her, which, of course he didn't.

The tiny amount of reverb on the guitar reflects that lazy, easy feeling as you fall asleep and a longing for a better life. It doesn't get in the way of the vocal for me but I've heard it dozens of times.

What happened to Autumn and Spring? Basically it is the choice facing her, Summer/winter, hot/cold, yes/no, heaven/hell, stay or go. No room for the compromise that is Spring and Autumn. Adding lyrics for Autumn and Spring would get in the way of the story for no real gain. Removing the contrast between Summer and Winter would take away the stark choice facing her, stay or go.

I like the comment about treading water because that was what she was doing, treading water, trying to make a decision about her future. Even when she has made the decision and left home there is still a doubt over whether it is the correct decision.

The drum is on the beat and relentless, it reflects time and life. There is no escape. If the rest of the song was tightened up it would sound like she always knew what she was doing to do. That leaving was inevitable. Which of course it wasn't. Life is messy. Tightening up the production would change the meaning as well as the mood of the song.

The title doesn't have to be in the chorus, or even in the song. How many people criticise Neil Young, Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell for not having the song title in the chorus? If Lynn wanted a "hit" she has plenty of songs with the title in the chorus which are more commercial. Although none of them are quite as good as this, at least for me.

Lynn will have her own views on the meaning of the song and the production, but these are the reasons I mixed it like this.

Thanks for all the comments, much appreciated,

Keith

 
 
Read December 07, 2017, 10:27:41 AM #9
JoeAntaine

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

Lovely moody little number. Production could be better but I feel everyone is making too much a deal about that. This is better than 90% of the stuff on here.
Very atmospheric very suzanne Vega style. Nice vocal, very innocent sounding. Really nice writing I think.
 
Read December 07, 2017, 11:10:17 AM #10
S.T.C

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

It's funny how people get defensive about Feedback when it's not what they want to hear.This has happened to me i must confess.

Remember ,a song can always be re-done. Esp these days with DAW etc. I think the reason this track ,(though it's been presented as finished) is getting 'advice': is because it is liked

I didn't comment on the production, i commented on the structure. I don't think this should be overproduced if it means losing that watery, drifting quality, but it's letting itself down the way it is.

Keith ,this is not 'hit; material in a chart sense , but i could see someone like First Aid Kit doing it?

The title needs to be in this song more than once....fact. It's a basic songwriting principle....nothing to do with commerciality.
Im sure i heard 'oldman' or 'like a rolling stone' more than once..why because its a hook and reminds the listener of what the songs getting at.

Example:
How does it feel, how does it feel?
To have on your own, with no direction home
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone'

What's the point of 'headlights on the ceiling' anyway? We've all been there, who's that? or the excitement you feel when it's someone you were expecting !

It's not being seized upon, the 'hook ' that the song has , which i like a lot is 'in the morning' but it's repeated again which devalues it ,cos it's lost energy somewhat...
 
 
Read December 07, 2017, 12:07:23 PM #11
diademgrove

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

I'm not defensive, I just explained why I like the song as it is. It may help people understand why I mixed it like I did.

As to the so-called rules of songwriting:

Woodstock is mentioned once in the song and isn't in the chorus.

Positively Fourth Street isn't in the song once, neither is Subterranean Homesick Blues. Both were hit singles. Admittedly a long time ago.

After the Gold Rush doesn't include the title either. It didn't stop it being a minor hit for Prelude.

All the above are great songs written by great songwriters that have stood the test of time. Using the title more than once isn't a fact or a basic songwriting principle. Its just a very popular and successful way of writing a song. Its not the only way though.

Headlights on the ceiling will mean different things to different people. For me it means laying back thinking about what to do, what life has in store, in this song, whether the woman should stay or go. For Lynn it may well mean something else. It clearly means something to her as its the title of her song. That's enough for me.

Only hearing the title once doesn't stop me liking the song. The same thing happened when I bought Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 2 as a 16 year old and heard Positively 4th Street for the first time. I didn't care that the title wasn't in the song. Neither did it stop me thinking Joni Mitchell's Woodstock was a great song when I heard it covered by Matthews Southern Comfort. When I finally heard her version it was even better.

Forcing Headlights into a set structure would create a very different song. Not necessarily a worse song but a different one. There is room for all sorts of songs, even songs that don't follow the accepted conventions. For me this is simply a great song.

The tree of life grows many branches, enough to accommodate one or two odd song structures.

Keith
 
Read December 07, 2017, 12:20:09 PM #12
S.T.C

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

Ok , maybe i made a rule up that isn't 'law' , but some songs may benefit from it,and i think this one would do. Why not call the song 'in the morning' then.

All i'm saying, and maybe this is Lynn's call , is that the title is right at the beginning and forgotten by the time you are a third into the song...bring it back again once towards the end.

 
Read December 07, 2017, 12:57:52 PM #13
diademgrove

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

Ok , maybe i made a rule up that isn't 'law' , but some songs may benefit from it,and i think this one would do. Why not call the song 'in the morning' then.

All i'm saying, and maybe this is Lynn's call , is that the title is right at the beginning and forgotten by the time you are a third into the song...bring it back again once towards the end.



Most of my musical education came from the radio at a time when there were a number of brilliant songs that didn't repeat the title or even include the title in the song. For singles I wanted to buy I'd have to listen out for the title or the artist. After discovering Dylan and many others I no longer find it odd if the title isn't an essential part of the song.

"In the morning" isn't a very descriptive title for the song. Its about adversity, love, fear, loneliness, hope and eventually independence. Adding another headlights on the ceiling would feel, at least to me, contrived and would stand out like a sore thumb. She has decided to walk away and not rely on anyone else to save her, why would she need headlights on the ceiling, they have been and gone. A bit like in real life they shine brightly for a few seconds and disappear.

Part of listening to Dylan and discussing his songs at school was asking what the hell does Positively 4th Street mean?  Especially if you lived in a northern port off the East Coast of England.
 
Read December 07, 2017, 01:29:29 PM #14
S.T.C

Re: Headlights on the Ceiling

Ok , maybe i made a rule up that isn't 'law' , but some songs may benefit from it,and i think this one would do. Why not call the song 'in the morning' then.

All i'm saying, and maybe this is Lynn's call , is that the title is right at the beginning and forgotten by the time you are a third into the song...bring it back again once towards the end.



Most of my musical education came from the radio at a time when there were a number of brilliant songs that didn't repeat the title or even include the title in the song. For singles I wanted to buy I'd have to listen out for the title or the artist. After discovering Dylan and many others I no longer find it odd if the title isn't an essential part of the song.

"In the morning" isn't a very descriptive title for the song. Its about adversity, love, fear, loneliness, hope and eventually independence. Adding another headlights on the ceiling would feel, at least to me, contrived and would stand out like a sore thumb. She has decided to walk away and not rely on anyone else to save her, why would she need headlights on the ceiling, they have been and gone. A bit like in real life they shine brightly for a few seconds and disappear.

Part of listening to Dylan and discussing his songs at school was asking what the hell does Positively 4th Street mean?  Especially if you lived in a northern port off the East Coast of England.

You're not Dylan, this is not a Dylan song...

The song really is about how a neglected woman with a drunk father probably in a unsatisfying home , and how she feels in the 'morning'

1) when he leaves her
2) when she starts to understand months later he ain't returning
3) when after even more months she decides to do one.

Theres no metaphorical use of the title, she waits for real headlights(not an epiphany)
has left the side door open , and he stays with her for a short while and clears off early..

The listener having connected with the first 3 lines ,is deprived of them again ,my opinion.
 
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