Writing "Model Woman"

Well, I’m sorry. It has been a while since I’ve posted anything. I haven’t been writing much lately, and when I do get on the internet it seems I spend so much time removing “cookies” shoved up my computer’s “back door.” Apple’s Safari Preferences simply does not “Block Cookies Always” as it claims. I’m sorry the Stormcock Forums become an accidental victim. I still listen to Roy (or Nick) almost every day and hope for news of “more.”

Anyway, for the two of you who remember I was going to write about writing my song “Model Woman,” here I go:

I had been playing around with rhythms on my new Taylor Koa acoustic guitar involving two chords, A and E7 both fingered on frets 5 through 7. I was thinking about the irony of fashion models as model women, and also the influence of the women in my life. (Yes, many of them have modeled briefly, including my Mom and ex-wife, but I am also guilty of being in two published photo shoots before I turned four. I received no compensation.)

The first six lines came to me without pause:

"Why, Oh Why / She’s always the first to cry / She tells the big old lie / and she won’t back down"

Well, duh... Why hadn’t someone else written this lyric by now? Society always frowns on a Man crying first. And woman tend to resent Men when they are more emotional than their Moms, Wives, Daughters, Classmates, Co-Workers, ad infinitum. Did I say “resent?” I’m sorry, I meant women “compete,” bursting into tears of joy or sadness -- not always knowing which -- overshadowing the quickly forgotten emotions of their male inferiors. I mean “counterparts.”

"No excuses / Whatever she chooses..."

No excuses? Hell, she’s never been wrong once in her life.

The next two lines are why I call the first third of this song “Paris Ingenue.”

"...she easily bruises / every night in town"

Remember when she crashed the motorbike in low gear on a crowded sidewalk at night in front of paparazzi? (To think I met her grandpop at the L.A. Hilton when I was 10 or 11. That puts me 2-3 steps from Marilyn Monroe!)

"What can I say? / I only met her yesterday
Everyone, everywhere / Pretty flowers in her hair / Fancy free, without a care / Never see her frown"

Wow, I must be good if I can jump from Woodstock to Botox in a single verse while extending my rhyme scheme to AAAB CCCB (DD) EEEB! (Botox? Think about it...)

"She’s a “Model” woman / So she’s technically human / But it’s all an illusion / In the public’s eye"

This is not a compliment. I am being ironic. My ex- knows this and still wants permission to tell people I wrote it about her. I told her she can tell people whatever she wants but it still won’t be true!

"She’s young, knows how to flaunt / Tease the lens she taunts"

A skill nearly every successful fashion model uses in her youth.

These first 20 of 56 lines were written in under twenty minutes and the magic for me wasn’t nearly over that night. I had the melodic phrasing of the lyrics almost completely worked out, and except for two “excuses” the melody was written in a single night.

The next third of “Model Woman” (Lines 21-40) I call “Vegas, Baby!”

"Why, Oh Why / She’s always the first to cry / She tells the big old lie / In her wedding gown
No excuses / Whatever she chooses / She always loses / When she doubles down"

What happens in Vegas is raised on Ritalin, Alimony and Regrets. So why not Double Down? (Notice I got in two more ---B rhyme schemes? I used mirrors...)

"Love is forlorn / No rose, just a thorn"

Thanks to the Brit who coined the now trite phrase I twisted, and no thanks to the Bret who wrote a whole song about that damn rose!

"You know she’s never been / A model citizen / She’s only been a model / Halloween skeleton"

You say Anorexia, I say Bulimia. Hello, Goodbye. Let’s call the whole thing off! I love this blunt lyric and it’s imagery...

"She’s a “Model” woman / So she’s technically human / But it’s all an illusion / In the public’s eye"

Okay, now I’m just plagiarizing myself. But all the great songwriters repeat myself!

"What can I say / To make her go away?"

The fascination is over. Next!

The final and shortest third of “Model Woman” I call “Retirement Barbie:”

"Why, Oh Why / She’s always the first to cry / She tells the big old lie / and she won’t back down
No excuses / Whatever she chooses / Clubbing or cruises / She won’t settle down"

Model Woman has traded Cruising the Nightclubs for Country Clubs and Ocean Cruises, but she’s still a Party Girl at Heart. Barbie and I are the same age. Based upon Popularity alone, she’s more real than I am.

"She was young, knew how to flaunt / Now she’s old, memories haunt"

My ex- has openly admitted how much this lyric resonates with her.

"She’s a “Model” woman / So she’s technically human / But it’s all an illusion / In the public’s eye
What can I say? / She won’t go away."

I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille... Anybody?… Hello!...

- - -

I finished the lyrics for “Model Woman” (my thirteenth of fourteen songs) on May 6th and finalized the melodic phrasing of the lyrics two days later on May 8th, 2008. In less than a month I “sampled” two verses for a small crowd in a seminar at my local music store GAND MUSIC & SOUND being taught by Chicago Blues Legend CORKY SIEGEL. My guitar playing was pretty basic, but I was rather bold singing before such a critical audience. The applause were extremely gratifying for such a short performance. Since then, I have added to my accompaniment and written and revised the lead guitar parts with a few suggestions from others. Still, this song is especially about the vocal, and I love singing it, but direct requests like the one from Corky are rare and I don’t normally push my music on others. I prefer a receptive audience, and sometimes the critical audience is the best.

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aspwatterson's picture

Hi NC!

Good to hear your creativity and continued inspiration. Thought you might be interested in this link? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYK_PF9WTRE&feature=related Rgds Andi

Infinite Tone

Well, Thank You, Andi.

Quarter-tones, semi-tones, micro-tones. How cool is a guitar with adjustable frets? Interesting how the guy used both the odd fretting and bending to get some of the same micro-tones.

I just got to meet Troy Stetina at my local Music store (Gand Music & Sound, again) -- of Second Soul and 40 instructional books, CDs and DVDs published by Hal Leonard (something like 1 or 2 million units sold). This guy is an amazing shredder, so my fingerstyle made me feel inadequate. Got to work on my fast-picking and want to learn all the ancient Heptonic scales by name. Maybe next I'll figure out how to use all those quarter-tones etc. by means other than bending and other fingering techniques. Thanks for the homework (or do you call it schoolwork, classwork or just plain old lessons?).

Liz Taylor NOT Marilyn Monroe

I should have corrected this long ago. Both my Mom and my eternal fiancee/wife/ex-wife Christina remind me the Hilton brother (Nicky?) was one of Elizabeth Taylor's exes, not Marilyn Monroe. Sorry I misled my loyal readers.