Track by Track: The Other Side of the Day
One of the things I’ve noticed about my songwriting in this period is that I’ve started writing some genuinely happy songs! I’m still using strong emotions to fuel my songs, but I feel like there’s more of a mixture of emotions now. It’s not all just SAD SAD SAD.
The Other Side of the Day is a friendship song, but it’s more than that. It’s about the nitty gritty of being there for someone, even when you can’t be there with them in person.
More than that, this song is about female friendship.
We live in a world where we can be easily connected with people no matter where we are. The friend who inspired this song has been in my life for a long time. We don’t live in the same city at all. We never have. In fact, we live on the other side of the world from one another!
Female friendship is so particular. There aren’t enough songs (or really ANY, now that I think about it) about that special bond that women can have with each other when they are encouraging rather than competing with each other. In my experience, women are socialized from a young age to be competitive and to tear each other down for one reason or another. You see it in movies. How many movies are about women competing for a man’s attention, for example?
I didn’t set out to write a friendship song, but it turned out that way! The person I wrote this about, she and I have been in each other’s lives for about fourteen years. That’s a LONG time. How many of us are the same person after even just a few years, let alone fourteen? I knew her when she was still in college and hadn’t figured out quite what she wanted to do yet with her life.
In fact, she and I met by chance at a local music concert. I went to see a local band play on night and she asked if she could sit next to me. I didn’t know who she was! In between songs, she and I talked and she told me she was an intern staying in a nearby city and wasn’t from this area at all. We made plans to see each other later that week. And it’s been that way ever since.
If I hadn’t gone to that concert that night, I would’ve never met her.
It takes a special kind of relationship to keep it going like that even when you aren’t living in the same city or even the same time zone.
But we make it work!
I began writing this when I was changing my method of songwriting. Instead of writing the words first, I began writing the melody first. So I wrote this on the piano and had a melody in mind and everything. But the words were the last to come to me. I wasn’t even sure what the song was going to be about.
This song came out of a fast-paced piano improvisation in C major. That's how I often come up with songs. I go to the piano, begin playing something, and if I start doing do's over it in place of a vocal melody, then nine times out of ten, that little improv turns into something.
I wrote most of these words on a plane in the spring of 2019. I was going to see my cousin get married and I had recorded a voice memo of a first verse and a basic melody for the rest of the song. I brought that file with me to listen to on my phone so I could come up with words. By the end of the first verse, the song began revealing itself to me. Maybe it was the fact that I was traveling that made me write a song about faraway friends?
Whatever it was, the song came out pretty quickly and I began playing it during local open mic nights, testing out the song to see what people thought of it. As I type this part, I am listening to an early demo I recorded on my phone of The Other Side of the Day. Even in its super early incarnation, where the music was a little slower and there were extra lyrics that ended up being cut from the song, the song is there.
I wasn’t originally going to put this on the album at all. I wasn’t sure it fit with the other songs! So I was going to set this aside as a b-side or a potential song for the follow-up
Now, I’ve realized this song does fit with the album. For me, the story of Never Enough Flowers the album is realizing who you are. As we go through life, people need to help each other become their best selves. Friendship is so important.
The vocals were some of my favorite things to record on this! I’ve been a part of a local church choir for about two years and I’ve learned a lot about countermelody, and I wanted that for the end of the song! Feeling like you’re right there with those two friends, who are far from one another but they’re still there to encourage each other. Telling each other that they’re ready for a quick chat, even when they’re in different time zones and across the world from each other.