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All The Things – How a Song Evolves

Songwriting continues to be a mystical, sometimes frustrating, and always rewarding process.

I had the idea to write my wife Gayle a song for Mother’s Day. There were a couple ideas terrorizing me— either in little melody snippets, or non-sensical lyrical ideas that wanted to rhyme.

On Friday, while I was sitting in my office, the whole thing arrived pretty much in tact. This is not my usual process.

It’s usually more similar to writing, rewriting, and editing my book.

The entire little tune below was written around the central idea “Of All The Things I’ve started / thank God we’re not finished yet.”

The verses were a lot of fun, thinking about how we’ve traveled together from various stages of being “at effect” or victims in our own lives… Either consciously, or unconsciously.

Evolving from the things we “used to do” like drinking for instance. Or “have to do” like all the overwhelm that comes and goes.

To finally— the things we choose to do, get to do, love to do.

That’s the measure of a life. How much do we get to do things we love, with the people we love to do them with?

The rest of it explores the exhilarating monotony of 25+ years of monogamy. LOL. What a wild, expressly-HUMAN ride.

As usual, Bono usually says it best. “You’re the best thing about me” packs the same sentiment, in even fewer words.

Gayle is the sun in our Carter solar system. I was overdue in reminding her just how crucial she is in my ongoing functioning.

Take a listen below to my first full pass through the song. This was playing my guitar and singing into my phone, on our back patio.

I’m tracking this (alongside a batch of new songs) inspired by the book Permission to Glow — for release this fall!

LISTEN TO TAKE.1: ALL THE THINGS

ALL THE THINGS v.1

Music + Lyrics, Kristoffer Carter, ASCAP 
 
 
ALL THE THINGS I USED TO DO
THE STUPID THINGS I USED TO DO
SOME OF WHICH I HAD TO DO
I HAD TO DO THEM
 
ALL THE THINGS I HAVE TO DO
SO MANY THINGS I HAVE TO DO
A COUPLE THINGS I GET TO DO
I LOVE TO DO THEM
 
SUNRISE SUNSET
NO MORE SAFE BETS
OF ALL THE THINGS I’VE STARTED
THANK GOD WE’RE NOT FINISHED YET
 
EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR ME
AND ALL MY INSECURITIES
MY ONLY TRUE SECURITY 
IMAGINE WHAT A MESS I’D BE
 
ALL THE THINGS I DIDN’T SAY
IN THE FRAY, DAY TO DAY
MY BIGGEST FEAR YOU’LL NEVER KNOW,
HOW MUCH I LOVED YOU WHEN WE GO
 
SUNRISE SUNSET
NO MORE SAFE BETS
OF ALL THE THINGS I’VE STARTED
THANK GOD WE’RE NOT FINISHED YET
 
ALL THE THINGS I TOOK FROM YOU
PATIENCE, TIME, FORGIVENESS TOO
I ONLY HAD 1 JOB TO DO
BUT DID I DO IT?
 
IN OUR SILENCE, IN OUR HASTE
IN ALL OUR JOY AND ALL OUR RAGE
EVERY WORD ON EVERY PAGE
WE KEEP ON WRITING
 
SUNRISE SUNSET
JUST 1 SAFE BET
OF ALL THE THINGS I’VE STARTED

THANK GOD WE’RE NOT FINISHED YET

 

 

 

Have you tried your hand at writing, or performing a song in just a take or two? The trick is to CREATE without EDITING. The traffic jam of those two causes all sorts of problems, and results in stale sentiment.

 

 

I’ve written plenty from that traffic jam— and, seem to be getting more comfortable just letting it flow as I get older.

What are a couple of your all-time favorite songs?

 
 

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