Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cry Tonight

April 25, 2008
2. Cry Tonight
Words and music by Chris Sligh

Produced by Brown Bannister



The Writing:

I have learned over my time of trying to write that re-writing is a songwriter’s friend. And usually re-writing several times is a songwriter’s best friend. This is one of the songs that evolved over several rewrites.
 The original draft of this song was written after my wife and my third date. I went home afterwards and wrote an up-tempo love song for her. We actually performed this song for a couple of years in concerts, though we never recorded it. After I started my band Half Past Forever, the song lay dormant for a couple of years.
 In 2006 when I started to write for my band’s 2nd album Take a Chance on Something Beautiful, I pulled this song out and rewrote much of the lyric, adding a second chorus, making it a little slower and brit-rock and completely rewriting the bridge, both musically and lyrically. And the title of the HPF album, ended up coming from the last line of the 2nd verse.
 When I signed a solo deal and started working on the album, there were three songs that I knew for sure would make the solo album from the HPF album...Cry Tonight was one of the three.



The Meaning:

The meaning is pretty easy...it’s just a love song for my wife. At the time it was originally written, I was writing from a perspective of not knowing if it was going to work out. When I rewrote it, I knew the answer, so from a lyrical perspective there’s some foreshadowing going on.



The Recording:

Brown produced this one, so it was Jerry, Jimmy, Dan & Blair playing at Warm Front for basic tracking. Brown really felt that the original HPF recordings of this song and Know had a similar riff on the intros, so he wanted to figure out how to change the intro riff for Cry. We messed around with it for a while and Jerry came up with the new intro, which is basically just an inversion of the original riff. Dan Needham came up with the idea for the feel change on the bridge. On the HPF recording the changes were on the upstroke of two, and we changed it to just straight and driving.
 All the guitars outside of the intro riff were replaced in overdubs. I played all the rhythm electrics. Brown came up with the idea to do a thick acoustic guitar thing on the verses...he compared it to a Tonic song...so I came up with the riff and George Cocchinni played it, using 3 different vintage acoustics from the 60’s and 70’s. We then panned them hard left, hard right and 1 in the center, which is what gives the verse acoustic guitars that thick sound. After all my guitars were done we went over to the guitar heaven that is Smoak Stack Studios where Paul Moak played some stuff, including the little slide part on the last choruses and bridge and the little riff at the top of the bridge.
 There’s not a lot of keyboard stuff on this one...just a pad in the background. Blair did that at Warm Front. Don Chapman arranged the strings and programmed the midi strings. We then brought David Davidson in to stack real violins on top of Don’s fake strings. Don has incredible samples so his stuff on it’s own sounds great...but adding real violins really put the sound over the top. I think the strings sound incredible.


You could never understand  *  Just how scared I am  * 
I've lived and loved and lost a thousand times  *  Is this a second chance  * 
Just to make it past all this energy  * *

I don't wanna cry tonight
 * Don't wanna hang my heart on my sleeve  * 
But you're everything my soul could ever need
 *  Don't wanna cry tonight
 * 
It's just a little faith  * Gets us further in this race  *  We both know trust don't come too easily  *  Is this just romance  *  Or will we take a chance on something beautiful  * *  chorus 1  * *

I don't wanna cry tonight  * 
Don't wanna know my heart's broke in two
 *  'Cause all I ever need right here is you
 *  I don't wanna cry tonight
 * *  Don't say it's hard enough to be myself   * 
'Cause all I ever need is you  *  All I need is you…

 * *  chorus 1  * chorus 2

5 comments:

risalea said...

I absolutely think one thing about you than endears you to so many of us is your devotion to Sarah. This song is an example of that.

Carrie said...

I agree with Risa! I'm such a sap and I can't even come up with a decent comment because every time I read it over all I can say is "AWWW!"

Cathy Storms said...

As I have told you many times, this is one of my favorite songs. The fact that you wrote it for Sarah even makes it better.

GirlyGirl45 said...

Ah, you know you're a writer when you appreciate the power of rewriting and revising!! Beautiful story behind this and a beautiful outcome. Fake strings?? wha?? you've shattered my world, lol. Seriously, though, do you write all the parts for all the instruments? how does that work?

gdahimself said...

It's lovely that you wrote for Sarah but such song I would think would a be a snap of a moment in time. This sounds like it evolves with time.

I know that Truman Compote's contention was that rewriting is good writing and that John Lennon and Roy Wood were/are known for writing a song to it's finished form in one marathon sitting.
When I have written something people can usually pick out the changes and additions that were done during the revisions.
How do you get the changes to flow smoothly or seamlessly with the original material?