Must it exist physically as polycarbonate, vinyl, tape, drive, or cloud storage? Must it spin?
Must it be made in a studio? (What is the definition of a studio?)
Must it include a producer? An engineer?
Must it be multi-tracked? Click-tracked?
Must it contain real instruments? (What is the definition of a real instrument?)
Must it have a human element? (Is there a line between what is human and what is hardware and software?)
Must it play for a minimum duration?
Must it have an audience?
Must it be owned?
Must it be purchased?
Must it be streamed?
Must it be promotional?
Must it tell a story?
There are very few “musts” for an album anymore. That notion can be both scary and liberating.
All I know is this. An album (or record) is one medium on which music can be captured and communicated. Like any piece of art, it is created using tools of the artist’s choosing to make a statement.
Draft of new song, “Walking On”
I’m working on a new song.
As I do, I am keeping in mind the advice of writer Steven Pressfield. He says that your only job on the first draft is to cover the canvas. Get your ideas on the page, no matter how sloppy. Don’t lose momentum. Don’t second guess or rewrite when you’re in the idea-capturing phase.
I’m finding that it works quite well. It keeps my mind in “creation mode,” knowing it doesn’t have to switch over to “editing mode” until later. In the past, I would try to be in both modes at once. I would work on one verse until I was satisfied and then try to move on to the next one. Usually by the time I got to the next one, my mental energy was too low to make any further progress on the song.
I’m finding it refreshing to work this way, using the first draft to simply cover the canvas.
Here are a few takeaways from the experience:
- It’s much easier to react to words that are already on the page than it is to create them out of thin air. Getting the first draft done quickly is key.
- It’s extremely difficult to write a line that’s absolute crap and leave it on the page without editing it immediately.
- The act of reacting, revising, tweaking, and rewriting the words on the page actually uncovers new inspiration that wasn’t present when the initial idea for the song was had.
Writing is rewriting. Spending the time to work and rework leads to further inspiration.