New Song: “Ode to the Ocean” Ignition Lab week #29

The Ignition Lab is a group songwriting challenge to write a song a week  in 2013, using weekly word prompts as a starting point. Follow our work on Facebook:

The word prompt for this week was WATER. I have this funny relationship with water. I love it. I am also terrified of it–specifically the ocean. So big. So unpredictable. So fun. I have had a number of experiences in the ocean that were a little scary: pulled by an undertow; suddenly not having the ability of getting out; feeling the bottom go out from underneath me. My heart is racing  just writing this.

I only just learned how to swim about 3 1/2 years ago, and even with this new skill, the ocean gives me much pause.

The first set of lyrics  I wrote for this song was the chorus, “Beautifully terrifying // Dangerously electrifying” I thought it was only going to be part of the chorus, or maybe even just part of a bridge. But then I did the verses, and it suddenly became clear, I didn’t need to say much here. I had such few words on a page, and yet I felt they were complete.

When you hear the song, there are very deliberate things happening on the piano: the steady thumping of the bass like a heartbeat, and a set of 6ths climbing up and down like the ocean waves rising and falling.

The important part for me was the bridge, or what I kept calling “The Prestige” as sort of a joke. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie, The Prestige, but it’s what they call the pinnacle of a magic trick–when the object that was made to disappear comes back and the audience goes, “Ahhhh…” and claps. I knew I wanted this section to be everything the song was building up to. I wanted it to be dramatic and wanted the listener to feel my unsettling love for the ocean.

How did I do?

Ode to the Ocean

You ebb and flow
You come and go
You rise and fall
And take us all

Beautifully terrifying
Dangerously electrifying

You take your time
You soothe my mind
You rock and sway
Keep peace at bay

Beautifully terrifying
Dangerously electrifying

I love you
I fear you
I long for you
I embrace you