Revolution Book Store

A walk-through on how to steal songs
Aug 18, 2021

Revolution Book Store (new demo)

I've been visually diagramming existing songs over the last week or so:


I black out the titles so that I forget the authors. I'll come into this Miro board once in a while, and just sketch song ideas out based on the shapes. I've probably recorded 10 or 20 acoustic demos over "I Saw Her Standing There." The point isn't to turn any of these into my own demos (at least not to start). The point is to start to internalize the mechanics of good songwriting. There are all sorts of little tricks. The two main things I'm looking at in these diagrams are 1) patterns in chord progressions, 2) how rhyme overlays with these patterns.

Here's a progression of diagrams to show how a cover of a song warped into my own.

1st up is a diagram of "Dead Flowers" by the Rolling Stones. It's a classic, but my mother-in-law says it's boring. (I swore there was a DM Bob cover of this song, but I can't find it.)

2nd diagram - a close imitation - I sent it to Kevin to show the concept. No one would recognize that it resembles the original. It has different chords, tempos, rhythms, and melodies. By bringing my own elements into it, the structure slightly changed (check out the expanded middle shape, which I took from MGMT Time to Pretend).

3rd diagram - I attempted to add lyrics to the melodies from shape 2, but it felt constraining. I slowed the tempo, changed the rhythm, and a new melody emerged, which let lyrics flow out easier. The whole loop was feeling long, so I ended up completely re-slicing that 2nd half of the loop.

While the 1st shape is a replica, the 2nd shape is novel, and now I have a first pass at (eh) lyrics for it.

"At the corner was the Revolution Book Store, it was filled with hooks. Filled with top ten best-sellers when your life is circlin' the drain. Reverent John the poet, he was suckin' wind out back, it was just another day-time panic attack. With his falsetto, his Bibles, and his metaphors, he lost his brains. Joey, Gina, and Persephine, yeah she was there too. You better believe she was looking for you. All those colors that are locked up in your head, don't need a book store. Send a letter to a stranger. Send a letter to open then third door. Send a letter to the cowboy ranger. But don't you dare send a letter to the Revolution Book Store."

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