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We All Fall Down

Posted By: Deej56

We All Fall Down - 06/20/19 06:34 AM

HI, all:

Well, I was combing though some old stuff and came across this somewhat folky thing . . . I recorded it some months before I joined JPF, long before I discovered BIAB, and back when I just started doing takes on a single track in Garage Band (looks like I recorded it almost three years ago). So a very amateur acoustic take on what this song might be.

Anyway, I don't think I ever posted the lyrics on the L3 forum, and listening to it again recently after some time, I'm curious whether it has any legs. Is it worth spending some time on? Do the lyrics work? Any suggestions on how to approach from a production angle? There was a nuance to the lyrics I was shooting for--curious whether it came though.

I'll be a little out of pocket in the coming weeks and had nothing else baking . . . so thought maybe it would be a good time to throw this one out there for folks to ponder. Have at it JPFers, and thanks in advance for your suggestions.

WE ALL FALL DOWN (Acoustic)

(V) Brother, my brother,
the call has come—
to arms, to seas, to skies.
We suffer, we suffer—
the weak, the young,
and the one’s who stand by their sides.
Take good care of the ones we love.
I swear we’ll all be together soon enough,
because we will all fall down;
yeah, we will all fall down
into the deep, dark ground;
yeah, we’ll all fall down, yeah, we will.

(V) Mother, dear Mother,
dry your eyes,
there’s no cause for sorrow or tears.
Troubles are troubles,
soft truths, sweet lies
will not change the fate of our years.
So raise your voice; your flag up high;
and come kiss your baby boy goodbye,
and know we all fall down,
yeah, we’ll all fall down
into the deep, dark ground;
yeah, we’ll all fall down, yeah, we will.

(B) What’s ever been will ever be;
what never was never will.
All our worlds will one day cease to be,
but God knows love never will.
It’s forever more, ever still.

(V) Lover, my lover,
don’t be unkind;
let’s embrace and part with a kiss.
We stutter, we stutter, our words slow and blind—
I didn’t mean to leave you like this.
Tell our daughter Daddy’s gone,
but we’ll be side by side before too long,
because we all fall down,
yeah, we all fall down
into the deep, dark ground;
yeah, we all fall down, yeah, we will.

(c)2019 DJ Lekich
Posted By: Calvin

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/20/19 09:19 AM

Hello Deel,


I like it, and coooool vocals as always.


Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/20/19 02:25 PM

Inspiring work, Deej:

As always, your vocal carries the day. Hurry home to JPF when you can. I will do the same... if I can.

All the best, ----Dave
Posted By: lane1777

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/20/19 05:12 PM

well D, that was way cool, right down to the basic singer songwriter here ya go stuff....lol
we have a coffee shop here in town and always fun to go down and listen...this reminds me of that
and I didn`t have to drive... good guitar and vocals D. Lane
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/21/19 02:57 AM

Hi Deej,

I could hear this done at about 105-115 BPM with a rolling 16ths 4/4 beat, like "country train" or something similar, something with that medium horse gallup sound.

It really sounds {to me) like a classic Phil Ochs-y kinda (protest) folk song written during the Vietnam War era. Lyrically, kind of a first person "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" meets (Laura Nyro's) "And When I Die." with allusions to "Ring A Ring o' Roses" and it's dark "ashes, ashes, we all fall down.." reference..and also feeling that "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" is a song the singer (by that I mean the character the singer is playing) knows well and that he understands the cyclical nature of existence.

Musically, when you get to that "ALL FALL DOWN into the DEEP DARK GROUND...

That seems like your primary hook, and it's an unusual and really cool augmentation of a common progression. I'd punch out those chord changes with downbeats as hard as your singing. Those are 2 sets of 3 sforzando BAMS that will really make the song, I think!

Lyrically, I find it fascinating. The first verse clearly pertains to him being indoctrinated into that mind set of patriotism, or he already has been, cuz he's owning it, then him trying to ease his mom's future suffering, of worrying about him. Same with his lover. Through it all, he wants his peeps to know that he's okay with death. That it's inevitable for everyone.

The lyric paints the singer an interesting guy. He believes in love as a cosmic force, but doesn't seem tethered to his life or to life on this planet, but has empathy for loved ones who he imagines will suffer much if he dies..if that makes sense? Like he's just seen "All Quiet On the Western Front" and gets swept up by the fervor of the first half of the movie and doesn't feel the impact of all those young men dying in the second half in a negative way.

It could be looked at as a song of Patriotism, but it's darker than that for me, cuz it twists a nursery rhyme and has him using it as a rationalization for going off to war. He seems conflicted somehow. His set of personal beliefs seem to me to be at odds with each other. Maybe I'm supposed to question what the singer is saying! As in..questioning the reasoning behind "though Love is all there is, I choose to fight for my Country because we're all gonna die anyway." That could be made to sound absurd--or at least an absurd combination of nihilism and Patriotism?

But your earnest vocal..

Actually if Phil Ochs had sung this, it might have been confusing for his listeners. He would give as earnest a read as you, and so I'm tempted as a listener to take everything he says at face value, whereas, say, if it was a Randy Newman, there'd probably be irony in his voice.

Love it..makes me think.. smile

Mike
Posted By: Travis david

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/21/19 05:22 AM

Hi Dave
Reminds me very much of songs that evolved around the time of Woodstock.
Incudently about 20 of us are having a Woodstock/ Summer Solstice event today with all those song. Fifty years ago,where's the time gone!
Great story ,i liked the intro a lot and to me the song it is faultless.
I'm not techinally minded i 'll leave that to Mike, Vic etc.
All the vest with it and a happy holiday too
Regards
Jihn
Posted By: Vicarn

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/21/19 10:58 AM

Hi Deej.
Certainly worth working on.

Mike has already given some good advice so I won't go there.
If anything, I'd like to hear a change to the slightly morbid and unloving "deep dark ground" to "same shared ground".

Nice one.
Posted By: Deej56

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/22/19 03:07 AM

Calvin, Dave, Lane and Travis,

Thank you all for the listen and kind comments. It's much appreciated. Have had my doubts about this one for a long time, and this helps me think it's worth doing something with.

My best to each of you,

Deej
Posted By: Deej56

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/22/19 03:30 AM

Mike,

Thanks much for the great feedback. Lyrically, I was concerned about two things. First, whether it was clear enough in the first stanza that the singer is going off to war--all that really conveys that is "the call has come . . . to arms." The second verse reinforces it somewhat, but it's not explicit. That you picked up on it makes me feel a bit better.

Second, was whether someone would pick up that this could be from the singer's perspective as he's leaving for war but also from the perspective of the singer having died in war (the second and third verse in particular), his spirit calling back, seeking to reassure those he loves. It started off being the former, but as I was writing it, it struck me I could play it both ways, and intentionally tried to write it as such. It intrigued me because the latter seems proof of his assertion that while we all die, love survives.

I love that it made you think . . . because it making you think is making me think. I'd like to say I can answer definitively your questions regarding his motivations, etc. I can tell it wasn't intended as patriotic--but I hope it comes across that the singer is one who feels a responsibility to protect those who need it, even if he gives his life to do it. And you also nail the darker edge I was going for, though see below my comment to Vic. There's a fatalistic slant I was trying to convey.

Anyway, your having gotten those things gives me a little more confidence that this might work. And the production suggestions are awesome . . . though as usual some of it goes over my head. But I think I get the gist. Whether I can execute on it is another thing. I'll have to think about how I can keep that riff in BIAB. Well, that's for another day, and well down the road.

Thanks, again, for the thoughtful suggestions.

All the best to you, Mike.

Deej
Posted By: Deej56

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/22/19 03:38 AM

Hey, Vic,

Well, that's an interesting and really good suggestion--been thinking about it all day, and I'm torn. I think the softer "same shared ground" is more in keeping with the reassuring nature of his message to his loved ones--it's less dark, and a little less cynical perhaps. And I like it because of that . . .

As I recall, I wrote the hook first, lyric and melody, and then some time after the song around it. So the "deep, dark ground" has always been a big part of it. And I've always viewed it as revealing of the singer, that it's of no consequence to him that the fall into the deep dark ground, because love transcends that.

Always tough to give up a preconception as a writer, but this is one I'll have to think about more. And as it will be a bit before I can turn to this, I guess I'll have some time. :-)

Thanks again for the great thought, VIc.

Regards,

Deej
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/22/19 04:27 PM

Hi Deej,

My thought on your lyric keeps evolving. I can see how the title line is meant to give consolation, not meant to be any kind of reason he went to war.

The juxtaposition of the bridge with the verses is very strange, to me. Mentioning God and Love..then verses dealing with (if he's alive) "I'm off to war, I may not return, but we all eventually die" OR, if he's already dead, "I'm dead, dry your tears..one day you'll join me in the afterlife" --still feels like there's some underlying thoughts connecting the bridge and the verses that I am missing, or maybe you are driving at something but not quite driving it home. Cuz he's stating the power of God and love in the bridge, but then in the verses talking about going off to war or from the grave consoling his loved ones. What are you trying to get at, in the bridge and how does it connect with the verses? That love drove him to the decisions he made? If so, it's a little buried in how you said it, to me, considering he's very straightforward with everything else he has said. Or maybe it's a case of..it's so well written and concise that the concision is throwing me off, and I'll see the genius behind it in a few weeks, LOL..

But, yes, the bridge seems to be fighting the verses. With him placing love so high on a pedestal, going off to war seems antithetical--perhaps a line or two connect the bridge idea to the verse idea would work. That love drives us to make decisions that we really, deep down, don't KNOW if they are right or wrong decisions, but we do our best..I think something like THAT is a missing link in your song. I am looking for a way to humanize the character who is singing.

I do know this...If he would have mentioned he made mistakes, I think I'd warm up to the character the singer portrays better, as that would allow me the freedom to see him as more human--I could then imagine him questioning if his decision to go fight was the right one--that's a verry human trait, and I'd warm up to the guy more, I think!!

Your poetry on the title line is powerful--but it's kind of blunt..and may not be received as consolation the way he intended. The rest of the poetry around the title line is gentle, but the title line was written with single syllable words to THUMP, thump, thump, and it fights the gentle-ness of the rest of the verses..so I am "about facing" my original idea about the music: I would imagine going as gentle there as possible would fight the thumping bluntness inherent in the words.

Btw, I originally wrote that v3 could be viewed as a Schrodinger's Cat kinda thing, but when I reread that he offered a kiss, I struck that idea as not possible for a ghost.

Still loving it, still processing it..

Regards,

Mike
Posted By: Deej56

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/23/19 04:41 AM

Mike,

I love that you’re wrestling with the lyrics—this is all great stuff and helpful to me to define what I really intended in these lines. For me, what I find attractive about a poem or lyric is sometimes the story behind the story, the unknown that makes you as a reader think. Heck, same goes for movies. Would “Inception” be the same if they told you which way that top fell? Sometimes the uncertainty is what makes it interesting. And there’s nothing wrong with the intent of the writer being different from how the reader interprets it. That’s what sparks some engaging conversation, and therein lies the fun.

All I can tell you here is that my intent was not to create a patriotic song or a protest song. War is the backdrop of the singer’s broader message: “I am going away. I may die. But it’s ok because while everyone dies, the love we share will live forever.” But as I think you see you, the hook is not intended as his reason for going to war, rather it’s the basis of his assuring those he loves that they will be together—for example, first verse, “we’ll be together soon enough . . . because we all fall down.”

The reason why the singer is going to war, to me as the writer at least, wasn’t all that relevant—though lines three and four of the first verse suggest both his reason and his views on war. But the intended message could have worked if the singer was going in for life-threatening surgery or any other life threatening scenario. The context of war, to me, just seems to have more gravitas.

The verses though don’t explain why “we all die” should reassure his loved ones, though “we’ll be together soon enough” and “we’ll be side by side before too long” hint at the singer’s belief that they will be together again even after “falling down”. That can be taken both as physically in the same deep dark ground, but also spiritually, which is where the bridge comes in. Everyone dies, but love, and his love for his family and theirs for him, is eternal. That’s what makes it OK.

But Vic’s comment is intriguing because “deep, dark” conveys a bitter, cynical, darker vibe that could seem contrary to the singer’s view. Though I’m not sure it’s comfort that they “share” the same ground. I think I mean “deep dark” as the singer acknowledging it to be what it is—we’ll all be buried six feet under, he’s not romanticizing it knowing that being in the deep dark ground is not what matters.

Hey, I don’t know if I achieved my aim—the above just highlights some of the things I had in my head as I wrote the lyric, and what I’m thinking about as a I sing it. I’ve always been uncertain about this song and whether it hits the mark or coveys the emotion I want.

Regardless, this is a great conversation to help me think that through more and I can’t thank you enough Mike for that. Really appreciate your thoughtfulness here and taking the time to help me make this better.

All the best,

Deej
Posted By: MFB III

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/23/19 03:59 PM

Hey DeeJ, superb tribute to the men and women who serve to keep us safe. The expressive tone of your voice moves the listener to remember those who have fallen and all those who yet will. Excellent lyrics and story.
Posted By: Michael Zaneski

Re: We All Fall Down - 06/23/19 06:48 PM

[i][/i]
Originally Posted by Deej56
Mike,

I love that you’re wrestling with the lyrics—this is all great stuff and helpful to me to define what I really intended in these lines. For me, what I find attractive about a poem or lyric is sometimes the story behind the story, the unknown that makes you as a reader think. Heck, same goes for movies. Would “Inception” be the same if they told you which way that top fell? Sometimes the uncertainty is what makes it interesting. And there’s nothing wrong with the intent of the writer being different from how the reader interprets it. That’s what sparks some engaging conversation, and therein lies the fun.

Deej



Hi Deej,

I totally agree. Some writers may think that their songs are puzzles for people to solve, and when the listeners don't get what the writer intended, it's the listener's fault.

I KNOW it's a song that's hard for me to hear in any other way than a fervent, patriotic way. The way Matt heard it. I tried hearing it as layered protest song, but the foundation for that was ultimately not there, so that way of hearing it fell apart. I have yet to hear it the way you intended, with a broader message about how love is the most important thing, through it all, and that it lasts beyond our mortality. I can see that idea is there in the bridge certainly.

In an AABA form song the most important thought usually occurs in the tag line, especially if it's the same tag in every verse. The bridge can serve to modify and show things in a new light, but in an AABA form song with such a strong tag line, it's facing competition in terms of how listeners may create their personal hierarchy of relevance and importance in regards the main 3 verse ideas, the third being that very important tag line 1)I am leaving, 2)don't feel bad cuz 3)we all die sooner or later, and the bridge idea (love lasts forever). So maybe him consoling with "we'll all fall down" became the most important thing for me, because of its tag line, title line marquee placement, and why it created problems with me understanding the song.

But perhaps its also because imo war can swallow up any other theme in its site/sight, just like it can change everything in real life.

The very first thought in your song reminds me of the early scenes in "All Quiet On The Western Front." The enthusiasm to go fight for one's country is the same in both. Then in V2, before consoling his mother with the title lines, he tells her to raise her flag. These lines set a scene, but unlike him say, dying of cancer or something, it's a scene that can have a bit more breadth as to what each individual listener may imagine is going on. That's what happens in songs that use a minimalist style that conveys the bare bones of a story. Listeners tend to fill-in-the-blanks using their own lives and memories to do so, and in this way it makes the song relevant to them, I believe. In other words, we all tend to feel similar things about dying from cancer, but the spectrum of thought around going off to war and possibly dying in that war runs much broader, I believe.

BTW, IMHO I think the tag feels kinda forced in V1. He is in the process of going off to war and is feeling enthusiastic about it, so for him to say, at this presumably young age,

"I swear we’ll all be together soon enough,
because we will all fall down;
yeah, we will all fall down
into the deep, dark ground"

strikes me as strange. I think most soldiers-to-be would say something like "I'll be back before you know it" or something to that effect. But yours is saying " we'll all be together again when we're all dead." which is really weird and not very organic to young men going off to war the first time, I don't think?

I think, over time, though..thesis, antithesis..synthesis..happens in a listener's mind, over time and especially with repeated listenings..The bridge and then the overall song might finally be felt the way you intended with many, maybe even most.

I think you could, possibly, re-write the bridge to "brute-force" your intended meaning, since songs are not puzzles, and do it in as simple a way as adding one word to it, such as

What’s ever been will ever be;
what never was never will.
All our worlds AND WARS will one day cease to be,
but God knows love never will.
It’s forever more, ever still.

That's not quite "brute-forcing" your intention, but it's a nice, noticeable nudge towards it. It helps a listener hear how the bridge idea relates to the verses. It's like The Dude's rug in "The Big Lebowski" --it ties everything together. smile


Sincerely,

Mike

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