Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kyriosity song reviews

Valerie (Kyriosity) Song Reviews

Confession Song (1985)

Because of Your love, Lord, show mercy to me
Wash from me the things that you don't want to see
And show me the life that You want me to lead
Only through Your forgiveness can I be set free
Verse 1
I know what my faults are, I see I've been wrong
I see I've been sinful all my life long
Awaiting Your judgment I stand in this plight:
For You to condemn me would be just and right, but...(Chorus)
Verse 2
Wisdom and truth are what You require
But I've been a fool and I've been a liar
Yet though I'm crushed I will be glad again
For by Your forgiveness I'm freed from my sin...(Chorus)
Verse 3
Give me a pure heart and spirit today
Don't leave me alone, and don't turn me away
Restore unto me the joy of salvation
And then let me share it with all of earth's nations...(Chorus)

Valerie informed me up front when she asked me to review her songs that her playing was lame and her singing was weak, but would I please pay attention to the songs themselves… I would say she somewhat overstated the case about her playing and singing. It is pleasant listening. And when someone is filling their song with Scripture, and putting themselves inside the song as she did above, it is all good.

About the song;

The structure seems odd to me in this way, that the chorus begins in the key of C, transitions to the key of D in line 3, and ends on a G chord, seemingly in the key of C again, but flowing immediately into the key of G in the verses. The verses are consistent in the key of G, and they work well enough considered by themselves, but to transition back to the key change festival in the chorus throws me off.

Here are some points to consider:

In order to resolve your song well it is important to end in the same key in which you started.
The word “things” in the 2nd line of the chorus has a D chord all to itself, and it seems out of place to me.
The contents of the verses seem to be a good bit darker than the music said they were. You need to try to match your music to the mood of the text. If the psalmist is growling, find a way to make your tune growl. If he is penitent, you need to make your music say what the lyrics are saying.
In the last line of verse three, instead of “all of earth’s nations” (which is hard to say), how about “every nation”? It flows better.

In song writing you want to avoid writing things that are phonetically difficult for a singer to sing. If I write a song and discover that one line has six prominent “s” sounds in it, I’ll probably try to rewrite that line. The smoother your music falls on the listeners ears, the better your reception.

Great Physician (February 12-14, 1997)

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul

Verse 1
O Great Physician, I am wounded, I am broken,
I am needy for a token of Your love for me.
O Great Physician, with a word so sweetly spoken,
You have my soul awoken from its sin-sick sleep.

Chorus 1
When I --- see the sickness of my sin,
I --- turn to You for grace and then
I --- find that I've already been forgiven.
So I --- lift my voice to You and sing
Thanks --- giving for the love You bring
You --- come with mercy in Your wings
To heal my sin-sick soul

Verse 2
O Great Physician, when I fall before You, kneeling
Hoping that my depth of feeling's
Equal to my shame
O Great Physician, there's no need for all my dealing
All I need to get Your healing
Is to speak Your name (Chorus 1)

Verse 3
O Great Physician, when I look at my surroundings
At the sickness that's abounding
In my fallen race
O Great Physician, I can hear Your voice resounding
With a love that is astounding:
"Come receive My grace!"

Chorus 2
When You --- see the sickness of our sin,
You --- come to us with grace and then
We --- find find how freely we have been forgiven.
With our --- voices raised to You we sing
Thanks --- giving for the love You bring
You've --- come with mercy in Your wings
To heal our sin-sick souls

There is a balm --- in Gilead....

This song is pleasant to listen to, good lady folk music. I heard one chord out of place, but I suspect you fix that problem when you play it for people. The only part that bothered me at all was the “Thanks---giving for the love You bring”, where the break comes in the middle of the word. Maybe hold the word “tha---nksgiving” and don’t take a breath there. The lyrics are going by quick enough that you shouldn’t run out of breath.

His Unfailing Love (Psalm 107) June 28-July 5, 1997

Verse 1
Some of us wandered in deserts and wastelands,
Finding no way to a city of rest.
Our lives ebbed away as we hungered and thirsted,
Then we cried out to God in distress.
And from out of our troubles our God has delivered us.
By a straight way to a city He’s led us.
From deep, living springs He has quenched all our thirsting.
With the bread of His flesh He has fed us.

So let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love,
We whom He has redeemed from the hand of the foe.
Let us sing songs of the wonderful deeds of our God.
Let us give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love.

Verse 2
Some of us languished in chains of our forging,
In prisons that we ourselves had devised.
We sat in deep darkness, the blackest of midnights,
’Til we begged just to see the sun rise.
And from out of our troubles our God has delivered us.
And cut through the fetters of iron that bound us.
He’s broken the gates of our sin-sustained prisons.
Now the bright light of His grace surrounds us. (Repeat Chorus)

Verse 3
Some of us sailed out in pride on the ocean,
Thinking that in our own wisdom we’d stand,
But the storm winds arose and the tempest blew ’round us,
And we prayed once again for dry land.
And from out of our troubles our God has delivered us.
Out on the sea of our self-will He’s sought us.
He’s hushed the wild waves and He’s made the winds whisper,
And to a safe haven He’s brought us. (Repeat chorus

Heh, heh, heh… I see you have already taken my advice from the first review about making the music fit…

This is an excellent song. I have not tried yet to write from that passage, I am still intimidated by these long Psalms. If you don’t mind, I’d like to learn it better and then see if I can make any suggestions.


Jamie said...

Valerie, how do I make the links to your songs work?

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

Um...Ida know...same as any other links, I'd suppose.

Thanks VERY much for the comments. I don't have time to study them right this moment (I'm kinda supposed to be working), but I look forward to doing so!

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

OK...a few more thoughts from me.

Re "Confession Song" -- Yeah...this one's weak, and for the reasons you mention. I plead youth -- it was the second song I wrote, and I was only 18. I won't post the first one I wrote, 'cuz it was much worse!

Re "Great Physician" -- The breathing is my pitiful singing (thank you for your gracious words about the performance, by the way), but the break in thanks--giving is very intentional. I wanted whimsy, joy, hilarity in the chorus, so I rather like that little quirky thing in there. And as for playing wrong chords, I assure you I do that live, as well!

Re "His Unfailing Love" -- Glad to know I improved between 18 and 29! By then I'd not have tolerated the problems in the earlier song. I look forward to any other thoughts you might have on this one. And on the other's I've posted, too...especially "To the Praise of the Glory of His Grace," which you might recall asking me to borrow five years ago.

Again, thanks so much for the feedback. If you're willing to critique a few more, I'd love to know your thoughts on whether I might have some worth recording for a larger audience.

Jamie said...

I don't know how to make any other links work either. I guess this is a more general question...

I took the liberty of copying the words to my computer and separating the lines so I could mark in the guitar chords. Then I learned it and played it for my wife. She thought it was excellent, and so did I. It has a very memorable and easy-to-catch melody, and ear-catching chord progressions. This sort of song could be sung by a congregation, in my estimation.

I gave a listen as well to "To the Praise of the Glory of His Grace", and it reminded me greatly of Judy Rogers. It would make a good kids song. There needs to be more kids song writers who are conversant in Christian doctrine and in the Scriptures. There is a field for you to develop!

Jamie said...

Improvement Suggestions for His Unfailing Love;

Only one... in the break between chorus and next verse, do this;


I find that this flows easily, it doesn't meander, and it sets up the next verse quite well.

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

That's an interesting thought about "To the Praise of the Glory." It was the first song I wrote after becoming a Calvinist, and I felt very childlike at the time, so the song acquired a rather lullaby-like flavor. After years of struggling against belief in His sovereignty, I was finally quiet and resting before God . I hear a similar quality in your version of Psalm 130.

I will try that chord progression for "His Unfailing Love."

Again, thanks!